This project was done in collaboration with Diane Kukish of Cafe Noir Arts. I highly recommend her design skills.
Chuck Riley is an artist from Portland, Oregon, offering unique paintings and photographic prints. He wanted to begin selling his work online, and needed an easy to manage e-commerce site. Aside from simply selling his work, his personal goal is to get his images hung in prestigious galleries. Therefore, the site needed to appeal to gallery owners as well. He told us “They care about 1) the work and 2) The bio”
So we put the emphasis squarely on the artwork, letting it speak for itself. As such, it comes first on the home page, even above the business name, and Chuck’s bio is prominently featured.
Nearly all photography sites are very dark to serve as backdrops for the photos, with a single solid color for text like white or grey. But Chuck felt that as an artist, he wanted to push the edges of what’s been done before, so we set out to create a site that made good use of web standards, that was easy and intuitive to navigate, but used colors and textures in ways that are unexpected for a photography website.
The site’s colors are all sampled from Chuck’s photos, and combine darker nuetrals with bright pops of unusual and upbeat colors. We tried not to go overboard here. The idea was to stay professional while being upbeat. The brightest colors are used with restraint, in elements like titles, and other things that we want to draw the eye to like purchase buttons.
Choosing a background for the site was very challenging, with the number of artistic styles showcased on its page. Eventually, we settled on a faint wood pattern as an excellent all-purpose texture. It adds a touch of old world, traditional feel, but oddly enough has become very hip at the moment in the work of some big name designers, which gives this texture the unique quality of pairing well with Chuck’s bold and contemporary photos AND his more traditional landscapes and animal portraits. The muted color of the wood allows it to fade into the background and guide the eye to the main content of the site regardless of how wide a monitor the store is being viewed with.
The round edges of the fonts were intended to temper the geometric feel inherent in page layouts, softening the look and making the page more inviting.
A custom shopping cart is integrated directly into the site, so that Chuck can be selling prints even as he sleeps.