The Commonwealth are a local band from North Collinwood, Ohio, performing live and producing our own albums in the greater Cleveland area since 2011. To coincide with the release of our second full-length album, Urban Soul, and our partnership with local label Cellar Door Records, I felt it was time to create our own official website.
The website's design serves multiple goals and audiences at once by answering our most frequently asked questions: when and where our next shows are, instant streams of all our albums via Bandcamp, and contact information for show and press inquiries.
SparkBase powers gift & loyalty programs through their API driven development platform, LoyaltyOS. To meet the needs of an ever-evolving market and industry, the company wanted to further focus their website's messaging, look and flow.
Significant changes included distilling our front-page content, designing new layout options, refining the language to help potential clients recognize themselves in our offerings more clearly, and conserving our visual language to call stronger attention to important details -- while also illustrating those details more concisely.
St. Vitus Church is a Catholic parish in Cleveland, OH with a rich Slovenian cultural background. Besides for hosting basic contact information, their website had one core goal: to keep its parishoners up to date on events involving its community.
Since the content consists of only a weekly bulletin and an online calendar, I took the opportunity to feature high-resolution photographs of the church's beautiful and vast interiors, all of which were taken by Hilary Bovay. Visitors of St. Vitus' previous website wished to see more of the church, so a different photograph appears with each visit.
Although we had a strong vision for the cover art, its spirit, subject matter and composition, we couldn't have done it without the help of photographer Hilary Bovay. Hilary did a stellar job capturing the images that make up the front, back and inside fold to the physical album, with the cover now serving as the centerpiece of our website's header.
You can view more stills of the final product, as well as learn more about the intent and process behind the artwork, at Hilary Bovay's website.
I got in touch with Josh Augustine (former PC Gamer editor, now a game designer on Everquest) with one of the above posters attached in an email, asking him if PC Gamer would be interested in running a short series of them. Being a big fan of MMO's himself and me feeling nostalgic about the earlier days of World of Warcraft, Josh and I worked together to get them into their August 2011 issue as lossless high resolution images that readers could freely print as their own 11"x17" posters. PC Gamer ran an interview alongside a preview of the posters, which was later republished on their website after the magazine hit shelves and can be read here.
Upon rewatching Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, I was compelled by a number of visual motifs throughout the animated film that I missed at a younger age. So, I designed a poster to reflect a number of them: Haku and his transformation, flight and the element of wind, the existence of two worlds and the disconnect between them, and the disappearance of people over time.
Although the majority of the poster is a printed vector graphic, I composed it to leave room for the title of the movie, which I painted directly onto the poster with red ink in its native Japanese translation.
There's only one of these posters out there, but I do have extra prints in stock, waiting to be painted onto. If you'd like one, please feel free to contact me about it.
The past few months have been invaluable to me as a web designer, mostly because of the volume of useful tools and libraries I've come across. Equally important is the creativity I'm finding in many websites today, which encourages me to reconsider how I make my own and for what purpose they serve.
One small step in that learning process is rebuilding this place with a couple of the resources I'm referencing above: Brackets, a web editing tool, and Skeleton, a responsive site template to build off of. Both are free and really well built, and although they do take some experience with front end web development to feel comfortable with, they're powerful and efficient tools worth checking out.
Andrew Kuhar © 2014