San Francisco Ballet’s digital transformation:
Where design, digital and the arts collide

Winners: Method

Award won: Digital - Website Design 2017

About Method

Founded in 1999 in San Francisco, Method was established with the vision of bringing top class designers together to create digital solutions for product and service based organisations. Integrating three core practices in visual, IxD and strategy, the company now has operations in San Francisco, New York and London.

 

About San Francisco Ballet and the brief

The San Francisco Ballet has a fascinating history; it was the first fully supported ballet company in America and is now the longest standing professional ballet company in the country. The heart of the organisation is the need to remain alive and vibrant but it also has a wider mission to share the joy of dance with everybody. As a classical arts organisation, the future of their art form is dependent on attracting new and younger audiences. This formed a big part of their brief to Method in digitally transforming their brand with a new online experience, increasing engagement for the future of San Francisco Ballet.

 

Why did they win?

Through their working practices, Method really challenged the client’s status quo, encouraging them to explore new territory in a very close and collaborative working environment. They took the brief and really examined the need behind the content and what that meant from a customer perspective but keeping business need at the heart it. Through the immersive process, Method painstakingly deliberated about how the aesthetic of the new online experience would sit with the editorial and the most meaningful way to deliver that. That delicate balance, which in turn created a beautiful piece of design, really impressed judges.

One of the client goals in tasking Method with this commission was to create an online experience that would grow with the San Francisco Ballet. It needed to have both beauty and function that would evolve with the company. The visually stunning focus on storytelling and modularity of the site really delivered against this.

In creating a new online experience, garnering an increase in engagement and interactivity with their audiences, Method also had the client reexamine the very fundamental way in which it communicates about itself as an organisation. With the client determining that articulation really is the key to differentiation through all mediums, and a reminder to always put the brand forward and elevate their institutional values, particularly through design, the piece of work was so much more than simply a website.

 

The award win aftermath

Method prides itself in attracting top class designers who want to come and work with the company. It believes that winning the Design Week Award has created an added depth to that attraction from a recruitment perspective; designers want to work with award winning organisations. From a pitch process with prospective new clients, the agency also believes the award win lends a lot of legitimacy and credibility to their work.

 

Advice to those thinking of applying for the 2018 Design Week Awards from Laura Ascenso, Marketing Lead at Method:

"First off, the single most important thing is you need to have a piece of incredible work; something truly stand-out that deserves the recognition of an award win like this. You need to really break boundaries with what you’re doing. Assuming all of this exists, and you have that, the next thing is to really understand how to tell the story across a diverse medium for your award submission; narrative storytelling through video, photography; the supporting materials you provide will really bring that piece of work to life.”