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Responses by ThoughtMatter

Background: Visit Staten Island, the tourism arm of the Borough President’s Office, struggled to carve out a niche in a market dominated by the nearby Manhattan. The site aims to attract city tourism and to highlight the multitude of unknown attractions the island has to offer. From a Tibetan Museum to 12,300 acres of protected parkland—Staten Island deserves its new nickname, “The Unexpected Borough.”

Highlights: A bright and breezy color scheme, bold photography and a confident tone of voice. We flipped the hierarchy of the initiative’s name, ditching the abbreviation “SI” and visually deemphasizing “Visit” to put the focus on Staten Island as a destination. Taking cues from the sun’s horizon on the ocean, the new logo is made of a circle and rectangle. These shapes are used as the building blocks for the entire design system—from the iconography to bordered boxes and color blocks.

Challenges: Reconciling Staten Islanders’ opinions of the borough with the outsider’s perspective of the borough. The residents have a strong love and appreciation for the attractions and culture of the island, but it’s often forgotten or portrayed negatively in pop culture and media.

Favorite details: The phrase “visit” is used as a design element, calling attention to the multitude of activities on the island. The information is laid out in a clean, simple format, balanced with a bold, colorful and unforgettable design. We also partnered with prominent Staten Island photographers Michael McWeeney and Lance J. Reha to capture the island through local lenses. The combination of these aspects creates a system that is fresh, unexpected and so uniquely Staten Island.

Navigational structure: We found new ways to group similar content, renamed buckets of content with more precise titles, uncovered opportunities for new types of content (such as suggested itineraries and videos) and guided a clean up of existing content. The new navigational structure is informed by the reorganization of content, broken up into understandable categories (“Attractions,” “Itineraries” and “Resources”).

Technical features: Users looking to discover the island’s parks and nature can follow the “Visit Nature” pathway on the home page. Each of these blocks encourages continued exploration and reveals hidden island gems. We worked closely with a developer from Staten Island, Tommy Rausch, to do this. The site was built for Wordpress and developed in html/CSS/Javascript.

Anything new: In our process, we’ve learned that a deadline can be your best friend. When forced to make decisions quickly, you learn to trust your gut instincts—which is often the key to success.

visitstatenisland.com

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