2014 was a big year at AREA 17. We had the opportunity to work with some amazing new clients, develop deeper partnerships with existing ones, have our voices heard from coast to coast (and country to country), soak up some California sun, and come back home again to expanding studios in Paris and New York. We wished a few old friends the best in new adventures and welcomed a cadre of talented new colleagues hailing from as far away as Dubai and Detroit and as close as Long Island and Brooklyn Heights.
We shot some photography and video, built a buy-now button for our hyper-local classifieds, Krrb, worked in conjunction with architect Renzo Piano, hung out with iconic journalist Charlie Rose, witnessed the launch of the iPhone 6 up close and personal, drank some Red Bull with the good people at Red Bull Studios, launched our Instagram feed, and kept on kicking out great new product with our friends at Facebook. All in all, we were ready for this holiday break, but can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store. But first, for posterity sake, let’s take a quick look back at 2014.
The winter found us spending a lot of time in Bristol, Connecticut with ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Sports, where we brought our design and development talents to the table in order to elevate the online reading experience, create seamless integration of scores and data, and organize massive amounts of content into easily digestible packages.
Bristol can be a barren, tough town in the dead of winter but leave it to our technology lead on the project, Englishman Mike Byrne, to discover beauty in all places. Inline skating, lots of visits from the AREA 17 team, and driving big American cars kept him more than happy. The team’s excitement and enthusiasm for this massive undertaking has us on the precipice of a brand new ESPN.com, set to launch in early 2015.
Meanwhile, back in New York, we launched the new Advertising Age in February. The redesigned homepage immediately reveals more of Ad Age’s stellar content without overwhelming while the article reading experience is now a true pleasure. Combined with the redesigned, fully integrated Creativity product, Ad Age is poised to remain an industry leader for years to come.
On the heels of the Ad Age launch we found ourselves in Austin, Texas in March for South by Southwest. Founder and global creative director, George Eid, was there to host the panel “User Generated Content: Who Owns What?” After a protracted back-and-forth with Craigslist concerning content on Krrb, we were anxious to get to the bottom of this perplexing question. While we may not have found the answer the conversation sparked plenty of interesting debate.
As we jumped headlong into spring some of our team made their way to Cupertino, California to get to know the talented folks at Apple a bit better. Back in New York and Paris we worked diligently on the redesigns of Style.com, The Harvard Art Museums, StumbleUpon for Business, and About.com.
In Vancouver, British Columbia editorial director, Andrew Wagner, spoke of remembering where you come from at the Fuel Conference while in Montevideo, Uruguay, technical director, Luis Lavena, was honored for his guidance and support of the worldwide Ruby community.
We sped through summer at lightning speed, enrapt in our work while still trying to find time for much needed breaks. More than a few beaches were visited, new puppies found homes with various A17’ers, weddings were announced, and babies were born and others expected.
In New York we launched into our partnership with the Aparium Hotel Group while in Paris we continued our work with System Magazine, and delved deeply into the redesign of Telerama Sortir. Across studios we continued writing as much as possible for this blog (and other venues), and of course, designed like our lives depended on it—which, of course, they sort of do.
All that work paid off as the seasons changed. In September we launched Style.com just in time for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. The clean, crisp design, refocused shopping experience, and the repositioned fashion editorial hub made almost as big a splash as Marc Jacobs at the Park Avenue Armory.
In October we launched StumbleUpon Ads closely followed by the reimagined About.com. And in November we excitedly launched The Harvard Art Museums new site alongside the opening of the new Renzo Piano Harvard Art Museums building. The understated yet stunning site design connects the new building with the web through powerful publishing tools for creating interactive tours and brings the collections to life with new search tools. The new site sets the tone for reimagined museum-going experiences world-wide.
On the heels of all these launches we continued our collaboration with Canal Plus in Paris as well as the talented French designer Ora-Ito on a shop to extend his existing presence. We also forged new partnerships with Arte, Le New Black, and a certain music company founded by Louis XIV in 1669.
Back in New York, following the successes of Billboard Magazine and GLG we continued our collaboration with Pentagram, working with Michael Bierut on Charlie Rose. We also announced new design partnerships with Red Bull Studios New York, Scientific American, The Charmant Hotel, Library of America and, just to bring things full circle, made plans to head back out to California.
So there’s 2014 in just over 900 words. Looking forward to seeing you all in 2015! Happy New Year!