The digital website for 1794, the Magazine of Cheshire Academy, was a true labor of love. As the first website I designed and built without a team of developers (besides my own), it holds a fond place in my heart.
When the Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications suggested that we publish a digital magazine as a companion for the three print versions produced yearly, my first question was, “What’s the budget?” As we started discussing costs, I floated the (very tentative) idea that I might be able to build it myself using our current CMS tools.
I first mocked up the website in Photoshop using a color palette and typography suite created by the director and our in-house graphic designer. I then built the site using Blackbaud’s K-12 OnMessage product. Pulling from inspiration from the New York Times, I created a template for magazine articles that used a minimal sticky menu with a micro-logo. This menu differed from the homepage, which used a mega menu, giving users a more clean reading experience.
I also wanted to mimic the print version of the magazine, which included advertisements for our annual fund, giving programs, and summer camp. To do so, I created sidebar ads that are random by page load.
Finally, it was important to me that the digital magazine do more than the print version. Thus, I organize “bonus content” for a select number of articles to ensure that the digital magazine adds just a little bit more to every story.
Creating a Digital Magazine Microsite on Inspired SM
Design and Style Engaging Detail Pages, Presented at BlackBaud’s K-12 User Conference in June of 2016
Just for fun, here is the first draft homepage mock up I created in Photoshop, and here is the final iteration of the homepage after several committee meetings and revision sessions. There were several drafts in between, as well.
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