Responses by Anh Tuan Pham, founder and creative director, For Office Use Only.
Background: The new Noguchi.org site was intended to be the definitive online resource for all things related to Isamu Noguchi, the artist and the man. His museum; his foundation; his artworks, design and architecture; his scholarly research and books; where to find his exhibitions worldwide; where to find his public works worldwide; and where to buy his signature Akari Lights—more or less, everything anyone would want to know or learn about him, this was meant to be the place. The target audiences are art and design lovers, art researchers and curators, and Noguchi fans, of course.
Design core: The site’s design took cues from some of Noguchi’s early publications and posters, which often featured sparse arrangements of silhouetted and black-and-white images with display typography interacting with the shapes. Color was used sparingly, and white space was very generous. Helvetica was also used in the original engraved sign at the Noguchi Museum, so the clean simplicity of a classic sans/grotesk typeface seemed right for the redesign.
The atmosphere of the Noguchi Museum itself inspired the design as well—the quiet, zen-like ambience where you move organically from outside to inside and across different floors. That sensibility and mood, the embrace of the simple and elemental, was what we were hoping to re-create in the visual design of the site.
Favorite details: The Digital Features section—which is still in the process of being further added to—is a new content area we proposed to the Museum. It was designed to present individual chapters of the life and work of Noguchi, who was incredibly prolific and was involved in so many different creative genres, collaborating with so many great artists. He also had an incredibly full personal life. We feel the Digital Features section will provide the curators with a platform to share these stories, using the incredible store of visual materials from Noguchi’s archives, and grow the section into a rich resource for audiences well into the future.
Challenges: From our team to the museum staff, everyone involved in the project was passionate about how to design and structure the best possible site to fit the legacy of Isamu Noguchi, so it became a challenge to align all these different ideas and opinions into a single cohesive vision. The project encompassed so much material, and we were all quite ambitious about where we could go and how we could get there. Aligning everyone throughout a long design and development process was certainly a test, but after much back and forth, sweat and tears, it all came together into something I feel everyone is very proud of and excited for the public to experience.
Technology: The site’s CMS was built on WordPress and integrates with a Collections Database to pull in artwork images. Shopify was used for the Noguchi Shop, and Calendar Event ticketing, Membership and Support donations are tied to the museum’s CRM software.