UCLA Art History

A digital hub for UCLA’s expansive study of visual culture

What is Art? How do you study it? Think about it? Talk about it? And what rabbit holes of philosophy, history, and culture will you dive down to find your answers? The UCLA Department of Art History asked us for a website that offered an engaging peek at this puzzle.

A multicultural approach

We designed different areas in the homepage to communicate the interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to the study of visual culture for which the department is known. Each visit loads a different mosaic of artworks drawn from diverse art fields and moments in art history. An interactive module, “Art at the crossroads,” invites the user to discover interesting definitions of art, derived from a broad sample of literary, philosophical, political, and critical thinkers.

Across devices and generations
The website speaks as much to a millennial on their phone as to a famous professor still scrawling on yellow legal pads.

All sorts of folks

University websites are a lot like college campuses: they’re enormous. There are vastly different kinds of people going to all sorts of places.

Our job was to identify the distinct users and get them where they needed to go, creating a website that is the Grand Central Station of the UCLA Art History audience. Convincing a college freshman to sign up for their first dive into Art History; helping a 25 year-old in Iowa apply to the masters program; showing doctoral students their thesis requirements; enabling eminent scholars to catch up on the work of their colleagues; wooing potential donors; reminding art lovers what’s going on around town. A carefully constructed navigation and a long scrolling homepage, bring all the users under the same tent, and swiftly sends them where they’re needed most.

Art scholar technologists

Our final challenge was creating a backend and frontend so easy to use that art scholars could regularly update their own website. We built a highly customized WordPress backend that’s a piece of cake.

“As always, thank you SO much to you, Tamara, and your entire team for your beautiful design and incredibly thoughtful consideration of our department and our needs throughout this entire process.  We are grateful for your both your rigorous guidance and gracious patience, and are so excited to finally have a website that better reflects the life of our department.”

Samantha Turpel, Program and Media Director
UCLA Department of Art History