One of the perks of having a creative family is being able to help them with their projects. My mother founded the Sarasota Chalk Festival in 2007. The festival is a non-profit street art festival. It is the first and only internationally acclaimed festival in Sarasota County that is free for all to participate in and attend.
I came on board as a designer in 2010 and by 2012 had volunteered to redesign the website. This was my first major web project and it proved to be a challenge. With 30,000 weekly visitors, online payment portals and a mapping integration, this was the most complex project I had undertaken to date.
Fast forward 3 years, and these type of projects are my bread and butter. However, this has always been one of my favorite projects because of the creative liberties I can take and the exposure it brings me. The site has evolved a lot in the past three years as I strive to make it the best it can be.
You can see below how it has evolved from 2012-2014.
The festival is extremely interactive and I wanted to bring that feeling to this year’s site by engaging users more visually. I sliced up (With help from Emer Kelly) footage from past festivals to create a full-screen background video, offering users a taste of what to expect.
Responsiveness is a must for any site I develop but is especially important for this site. The popularity of mobile browsing devices in combination with the multi-locational aspect of the festival means many users never experience the site on a desktop.
The festival is spread over multiple locations so map integration is a must. The map integration makes it possible for a user to see where events are taking place, as well as choose a specific event and buy tickets or get directions from Google Maps. Parking is an issue for the festival this year and we can use the mapbox integration to notify users of parking restrictions and show them suggested driving routes.
Custom Post Types
Previously, the site had been using categorized posts for displaying events & artists. This had to change for obvious reasons, one of the biggest being the need to enter specific meta data.
I developed the Events custom post type so the content manager could add dates, start & end times, prices, ticket urls & location. This has improved their work flow and organization as the information is displayed clearly and consistently.
The sheer number of artists that participate in the festival each year means there's a real need to keep track of their information such as technique, bio & sponsors. The Artist custom post type allows the content manager to add this important data, and keep track of the hundreds of artists. It also means artists can be filtered by technique, nationality, etc.
Designing for the Chalk Festival has always been a challenge. Each year, the festival has a theme and the branding has to change to match it. This year’s theme is “Extinct and Endangered Creatures.”
This year’s branding is still a work in progess so there will be more to come!