In May 2016, Charleston celebrated a major moment with the opening of the completely renovated Gibbes Museum of Art. It’s a milestone that many, many people worked tirelessly to achieve, and in a number of ways represented a look back to leap forward. The new Gibbes museum and programming will pay homage to the original mission and purpose of the museum (which opened on April 11, 1905), while providing a dynamic new setting where all residents and visitors can celebrate artistic expression and its central role in our region and community.View the Site
We were honored to work with The Gibbes team on this brand evolution. Together we successfully launched a few smaller projects (The People’s Choice exhibit and The 1858 Prize). We’re crazy about the arts, and we’re drawn to assignments that help shape the place we call home. The chance to “reimagine the Gibbes” offered a perfect blend of purpose, people and puzzle…the kind of project that gets you up and going each morning.
Our goal was clear…to develop a world-class brand identity platform that reflected our world-class museum. First we landed on a theme and story that expresses the central role that art plays in Charleston and our lives and an identity that captures the energy and diversity of the programming at the Gibbes. Then our friends and collaborators at Gil Shuler Graphic Design worked through their concepts for the new brand identity and palette.
Then we turned to the new website, which needs to be as easy-to-use for a gradeschooler looking up summer camps as it was for a 30+ year member to see what events she could take her out-of-town guests to next month. After rounds of information architecture we had a workable model that we felt focused on our users' needs and wants, our specific goals for each section of the site, and a streamlined approach to content.
One thing was certain, we wanted the museum website to be mobile-first. We had to create an interface that was beautiful and just as clean on a handheld device as it would be displayed on a projection screen in a classroom.
Multiple backend tools were custom built and modified to fit the needs of the robust team at the Gibbes including an admin that pushed events, exhibitions, and visiting artist content. With this tool the team could create events and exhibitions, spotlight certain ones, link all three page types to each other, categorize and specify audiences and pull in custom blog feeds, as needed.
Perhaps the most impressive tool was one that can’t be seen by the user. We developed a backend database application that would pull from the PastPerfect system the Gibbes Museum had been contributing to for years and push in to the front end of the Miniatures Collection microsite. The Miniatures microsite was launched just 2 weeks after the full site and is primarily used on-site by museum visitors on an iPad inside the exhibition.
Between tight deadlines, large group input, a hard launch date (due to the museum reopening!), the Gibbes Museum project was challenging from start to finish. We couldn’t be more proud of our team and the dedication of the Gibbes team. It is a compliment to the collaborative work and perseverance to see the integrity of the brand not only shared, but boosted on an ongoing basis as the Gibbes Museum adds new exhibitions and visiting artists, new stories and events week after week.
Thanks for thinking of us for your project! We’d love to hear more about your needs and awesome ideas to see if we can help. Let us know what you’re thinking and a BI team member will contact you.