“We have a very renowned music program, and we wanted the new site to be attractive and also be intellectual, with a high aesthetic value,” Vanney explains. “We wanted it to look both smart and rich — and of course to carry a lot of information because this is a huge program.”
When the college asked FUEL for help creating the site in 2004, it also placed technical constraints on the project, requesting that the website be fully accessible for viewers using a text reader, avoid the use of flash technology or streaming music, and be easily updatable by campus staff. “We’re kind of persnickety,” laughs Vanney. “We want there to be a wow factor, but we want to keep things straightforward as well.”
FUEL designer Bill Bollman and owner John Moes met several times with Luther admissions, marketing and music personnel to learn about their desires for the site and begin the exchange of ideas that would make it possible to capture the essence — and the depth — of Luther’s celebrated music program. “I really like Bill and John both professionally and personally,” says Vanney of the experience. “When you talk to them you’re dealing with the principals, not some sales guys. They invest a lot of themselves in the project. It’s all face to face and you know them. In the end, they really understood the tone that we were looking for.”
The resulting music website — designed by FUEL and developed by Luther’s web personnel — is beautiful and dramatic, yet full of detailed content about Luther’s music tradition, programs, faculty, facilities and performing opportunities. “We captured a sense of the performance experience by creating pages that have the feel of a softly lit auditorium, using that as a backdrop to extraordinary photography,” Moes emphasizes.
Vanney reports that the website has been received enthusiastically both on and off campus. “The site is truly worthy of the department,” he states. “We’re very happy with it, and it set a high standard for web on this campus.”
Bill Bollman is FUEL’s Creative Director. Before co-founding FUEL in 2001, he worked for Horizon Communications, JW Morton and Basler Design Group. Bill studied Illustration at Hawkeye Tech in Waterloo, Iowa. An expert in the “old ways” of hands-on print production, these skills influence his work in the digital world to this day. His work throughout his career has been featured in international publications including Graphis, How International Design, Communication Arts, and The One Book as well as numerous design annuals and reference books.