The Stanford d.school – or the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University – is a place where people use design to develop their own creative potential. We had the opportunity to work with their amazingly smart and creative team to design and build the d.school website.
We worked closely with the d.school to completely rethink how they could use a web platform. We interviewed the amazing people that make up the d.school and collaborated in workshops to organize content. We developed models of how the site could celebrate and amplify contributions from all parts of the d.school. Out of this process emerged a structure for the new website.
The design language
Embracing (constant) change
The aesthetic for the new website needed to reflect the d.school itself. In a place of constant experimentation and incredible creativity, we wanted to capture an "in-progress" aesthetic that didn't feel unfinished. We show process, in the form of grid lines, but content - like students - would be free to break the rules where it made sense. Motion and flux are represented by waves undulating and transforming. The design needed to creative and forward-looking, but also authentic.
Bringing it all together
After a series of conceptual directions, an interactive design style began to emerge. We relied on typography, color and grids to establish structure. The design incorporates white space to provide a sense of openness and different content structure to break any feeling of monotony. Color is used boldly. Interactive elements add motion and movement.
A point of view
Creating a system
We approached this site with a series of principles. First, give people tools and minimize restrictions. Second, design should provide structure and consistency, not constraints. Third, embrace the (constant) change. Fourth, keep things modular. Allow for options and opportunities for people adding to the site. We applied the visual aesthetic to these principles and started to build out a cohesive and beautiful website.
Made in close collaboration with the d.school Scott Doorley, Natalie Whearley, Sarah Stein Greenberg / Development Upperquad & Aranja