Mirrors and reflections
or Building a brilliant design system for purposeful artists.
Established in 1988, Autograph’s mission is to champion the work of artists who use photography and film to highlight questions of race, representation, human rights and social justice.
We started small. A simple email design. A corporate website, an online store, and a unique stock photography platform followed. Over the course of a few years we created better ways to showcase and explore the work of talented and committed artists shooting in the real world.
Our client projects and proposed challenges grew as we learn more and more about their mission, artists and audiences.
We built a complex multi-site setup, centralizing all their digital entry points into a single management system. Autograph's small team was empowered to create content freely, without need for an agency or any specialized technical resources, and publish it on multiple places. In just a few clicks, major content releases became mini-websites, blog articles became landing pages, and new exhibitions became marketing campaigns.
Our CMS architecture helped them write once and publish anywhere, under a beautiful, accessibility-compliant design.
As of 2022, in the golden age of Headless CMS implementations, it's reasonably easy to build complex structures to power up unorthodox business needs. When we released this project we had to jump through hoops to figure out a way to sell, in a simple and ordered fashion, anything related to Autograph including books, events, exhibitions, donations, bundles, and the actual photographs.
The solution came through a highly flexible implementation of ExpressionEngine plus custom development of eCommerce functionalities and API implementations to their administration application ecosystem.
In addition, we developed a custom Image Bank offering companies easy registration, photo browsing based on a large number of possible filters, listings and favorites, licensing options, fees and discounts, as well as automated renewal options.
We enjoyed the project because it felt important and authentic. We helped our customers create a better kind of content-first website.
The flexibility provided by our chosen development structure allowed the Autograph team to generate relevant content without spending much time or internal resources.
The end result was a cohesive, beautiful presentation that served as the perfect frame for their outstanding artists and their featured work.