St. Louis’s Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) is well known for its ever-changing programming and deep community outreach. Despite its community involvement, the museum felt it wasn’t doing enough to present its art and artists in a way that would attract a public beyond die-hard art lovers. It expressed that its brand had “gone gray” and the museum was too boring, too quiet and too aloof when what it wanted was to feel engaged, spirited, bright and new.

TOKY rebranded the museum by its acronym CAM, developed a new graphic language and external personality and began the process of uniting print, advertising, Web and social media strategies. A new consumer-friendly appellation and logo were born. The logo is now a more readable, more usable stack of words, setting them left and right off of a common vertical axis. The new CAM brand, collateral system, advertising and social network, debuted, along with this Web site, January 11 2011.

Most noticeable in the redesign of the site is a new navigation that makes the most-visited sections more prominent and easier to access. The home page is flexible and a slideshow (that dynamically pulls in the latest events, exhibitions and programs) and the upcoming events all scale with the browser. A custom calendar not only includes the common monthly and daily views, but users can sort by date range, keyword or category; CAM also has the ability within the CMS to highlight specific events at the top of the calendar. Finally, the Exhibitions Archive enables visitors to view past exhibitions from a dynamically-loading archive page, which pulls in exhibition images from other parts of the site.

• A team of six produced the site on an aggressive schedule (that began in late August 2010) created to meet a launch deadline of 1/11/11.

• The January 11, 2011 go-live date corresponded with the opening of the galleries to an all-new exhibit and interiors rebranded with the new CAM identity. A countdown clock to the 1/11/11 go-live, teased the new site graphics on the old site home page.

• Because of CAM’s ability to upload through the CMS the numbers change but currently the site has 20 videos (hosted through YouTube), 804 images, 163 pages and 101 files (.pdfs).

• The footers pull in content from Flickr, YouTube and a WordPress Blog on another server; content is sourced daily and written to a static HTML file.

• The site is built on TOKY’s proprietary content management system (Eero, built with PHP and runs on a standard LAMP server) that allows almost limitless flexibility in design and functionality.

• As a small way to engage the community, a simple Tumblr blog allows site visitors to describe whey they love the museum in five words. Once approved, the words get posted to the Tumblr blog and are randomly fed onto the home page of the site.

• The old logo—a single line of elegantly letter-spaced Univers set without breaks—is sandblasted into the concrete exterior of the building and windows, so it will be an essential part of the museum for decades to come.

• During the first week post launch the new visitor count went from an average of 2,000 visitors per week to over 4,000.

Communication Arts

// From our friends at Communication Arts

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