Where We Started
The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is a mainstay of Vancouver’s cultural scene, celebrating its 10th year in 2014. With a reputation for finding and featuring innovative artists, the festival brings an annual tour de force of nearly 200 performances in a three week period, making it a highlight of the dark winter months.
Though savvy and active with social media, PuSh approached us knowing their website no longer lived up to their calibre of entertainment, and had fallen behind the times in mobile-friendliness and ease of use.
Moreover, the site needed to reflect the festival’s growing presence in the local arts community, and its future direction as a new, larger strategy had taken shape.
What We Did
Working closely with Karla Wakefield, who had managed the heavily modified WordPress site for several years, we agreed that the best use of resources was an overhaul of the site’s organization and visual language with all device types in mind.
We conducted workshops with every department head, learning about their responsibility and passion for the organization. We also sat down with different members of their audience, from those attending for the first time to casual patrons, and dedicated year-over-year attendees.
In the design phase, we drew heavily from the beautiful print programs created by PuSh’s creative partners at me&lewis. Taking cues from the imagery and expanded colour palette our design not only remade the website’s experience, but built more coherence between the online and printed resources.
Over the summer we refined the design, then got to work on the coding. While it was a big hill to climb, it was made easier with support from the PuSh staff. On top of being fantastic collaborators, they worked overtime to go through older content to clean out markup inserted by custom plugins and workarounds that we were able to properly abstract, leaving a website that’s clean, mean, and ready for 2015.
The new design soft-launched in November with the reveal of the 2015 lineup, and while the reception was positive there were some parts we weren’t totally happy with. We sat down with the Push team to talk through early feedback and experiences, and spent a few more days rounding out the rough edges.
That extra work finished just in time for traffic to pick up significantly, where hundreds of visitors turned into tens of thousands. The festival lineup can for the first time be seen all in one place, on any device, showcasing the stunning visuals and diversity of artists that speaks to Push’s reputation and experience.
Working with Denim & Steel was a exceptional experience, not only for the final product that they delivered, but for the rigour and thought they applied to the process. Their strategic thinking and foresight meant that they addressed our larger organizational needs (some we didn’t even know we had), rather than just solving technical problems. Denim & Steel not only gave us a remarkable website, but a new way of thinking and working. Their expertise brought us through the door; their enthusiasm, community-mindedness, and collaborative spirit will have us coming back. - Bonnie Sun
See for yourself; check out pushfestival.ca.
We can do this for you
Remaking PuSh’s online experience took not only understanding how the festival works and what it offers, but why it reaches so many people so deeply, and speaking to that love without losing sight of the strategy.
Taking on that level of complexity doesn’t have to be daunting, talk to us to find out how it can happen.