We walk through our CSS Design Award-winning website
The purpose, process, and philosophy
We’re very excited to share the news that in April this year, our new website (designed in collaboration with Y+L art director and web designer Hiroki Shindo) won the CSS Design Awards ‘Website of the Day.’ We also scored top marks in all the categories, including UX, UI, and Innovation.
The final overall score was
UI DESIGN 8.17
UX DESIGN 8.01
For us, making this website was incredibly important for two main reasons.
The first reason is that we’re a still young independent agency looking to make our mark within the industry. Since founding Y+L Projects, a large part of our existence has been during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lot of our work has been online. This meant for us, building a strong online presence that represents who we are and what we want to showcase has been far more important than having a shiny new office we can bring clients to, but of course, that’s not to say the slick office isn’t on the horizon, post-pandemic.
The second reason is that we had a deeper concept we wanted to explore with the creation of this site. As a multi-platform (but highly digital) creative and communication agency, we wanted this site to explain and highlight what we do, and to work as a folio that would showcase our strengths as a company and the talents of our team. All of the design, planning, direction, visual concept, copywriting (English and Japanese), illustration, photography, videography, and actual web building was done in collaboration with our talented Y+L team members. So were you not even to look at our ‘projects’ page, you can see what we do and what we’re capable of.
As our first nomination in the CSS Design Awards, we couldn’t be happier with the outcome. This concept of the site is simple, clean, and communicates what we want to say in a clear, effective manner. Each page and movement has a reason, inspiration, and purpose.
When you first open the site, there will be a short second or two for loading; here, we wanted to inspire and educate; we did so by adding interesting facts about media (across all platforms from TV to newer formats like online blogging platforms). There’s also a cheeky plug for our Instagram in there, too, because we’re admittedly Instagram addicts. The home page is heavily visual, giving you an overview of who we are and the projects we’ve worked on. There are no stock images at all on our site. They’re all proudly original.
We decided to blend our love of magazine-style editorial spreads into the design of our ‘projects’ page, spacious and minimalistic. It allows visitors to scroll through and explore whatever captures their interest easily. The individual project pages are admittedly a little heavier on text, so we wanted the prelude to act as a refresher or palate-cleanser before diving deep into our work. Each of the individual project pages are image-heavy to allow you to get a clear visual image of the project (as an image speaks a thousand words).
On the about page, we enlisted the help of our talented collaborator Dean Aizawa who, after discussing with us, created a collection of illustrations designed to visually explain how we work and what we do while still maintaining an abstract ideology. We didn’t want it to be too obvious, but we didn’t want the images to feel random. Scrolling down that page, you’ll see the list of our teammates. We wanted to give all of our team members an opportunity to show the work their most proud of, whether it be work with us or elsewhere. We’re all about collaboration over competition, so for us, this point was incredibly important.
Our journal page (which you probably clicked through to read this) links to Medium.com in English and Note.com in Japanese. We decided to use these because both of these platforms are so elegant in their simplicity, and we hope to give Y+L an opportunity to reach a wider blog-reading audience. So, on that note, thank you so much for reading this, and please visit us online, or drop us a line anytime if you want to chat about all things digital, design, and communication.
Producing: Yoichiro Tamada, Lucy Dayman
Strategy: Yoichiro Tamada, Lucy Dayman
Art direction + design: Hiroki Shindo
Front end developer: Masatsugu Konodo
Portrait photography: Kim Marcelo
Magazine photography: Alex Abian
Illustration: Dean Aizawa
English copywriting: Lucy Dayman
Japanese copywriting: Maiko Tanaka