by Lauren Festa
ADC Member Carly Ayres and her team–including Andrew Herzog, and Nicky Tesla–at HAWRAF have put a fresh coat of digital paint on their new website for the fresh design studio. Focusing on communication, interaction, and creative accessibility, they sought to create something that showed off their respective skills and how they think about these things, while being their own kind of different. Among the user-experience capabilities, you can play tic tac toe with a bot, hand write us an email and make a meme. It’s sort of like being told not the first day of grade school to grab a box of crayons and a pad of blank paper and just…go! To paraphrase Art Attacks’ Neil Buchanan, we encourage you to “try it yourself.”
How’s it different from the previous site?
Well, the last site was very much a placeholder for the inevitable, but still not ready portfolio. It was plain text on a white page. We think this one has a bit more personality.
Who helped design/Develop it? What was your specific role?
Our whole studio worked on it—myself, Andrew Herzog, and Nicky Tesla. Andrew came in hot with the creative direction, Nicky with the code, and I with words/strategy. We really emphasize open feedback in our process, so everyone was able to participate and offer concepts and critique.
Why do you think having users interact in this way is more impactful?
At HAWRAF, we believe anything can be interactive. Whether it’s a t-shirt, a mirrored poster, or a job application, we think that the communications you put out in the world should say something and invite someone to say something back.
It’s 2017. People are tired of brands talking at them. People are tired of brands saying ‘bae’ and interrupting their Twitter conversations. People crave authentic, meaningful interactions. They want to leave their mark and they want to be a part of that conversation. Which is good, because that’s what we do.
Where there any other designs or ideas that didn’t make the final cut?
Ha! Uh—initially it was just going to be a giant checklist of projects we wanted to do or have already done—that’s where the checklist came from. We were just going to have people go down the list and help us check it off. Then it snowballed from there…
It feels very free like a doodle pad! I think visitors (especially creatives) will appreciate this. Any funny or stand out submissions so far?
A bit! I got a NSFW owl posted on my Facebook wall today and someone emailed us about aardvarks—so jury’s out on that. I’ll keep you posted.