Giving an art school a new identity

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OC School of the Arts

Project Type



Art Direction

UI Design

UX Design

New CMS brings new solutions

The Orange County School of the Arts needed to more from their website that their CMS could handle. The website redesign wasn’t simply to make the website look better, it was to enable the school to perform better.

The website needed functionality like registration pages, ticket sales/ecommerce, intranet capabilities, class registration and much more. In order to accommodate and design for a website this multifaceted, Evoq from DNN is used.


Content audit and organization

The first step of the new build was getting a full grasp of pre-existing content and then plan the design to fit a brand new content strategy.

The next step was designing reusable and stylized components like banner images, text fields, and testimonials that could be used throughout the website. These components would allow school personnel of any technical level to drag and drop and create any page they needed.

To ensure a visual consistency between all pages on the website, user level types were created to reign in any faculty member from straying too far from the original design.

Wireframing for decision making

The most difficult aspect of a website of this size and complexity is getting the many stakeholders to agree on any given functionality or design. To avoid countless revisions and opinions on design, wireframes were used to align business goals and faculty members on design components.


OCSA focused on the arts

The old website didn’t reflect who OCSA had become nor did it show the amazing community and students who attended the school.To entice future students and parents a focus was put on student performances, student artwork, laid upon minimal backgrounds and vibrant colors. The result is an image that is fitting of history, tradition and excellence of a school attended very recognizable alumni performing in the arts.

Module building blocks

As with any CMS website, it can be difficult designing modules that are flexible enough to handle the many variables that come with user generated content. A focus on card-like design allowed development and design to quickly iterate on changes and provide a familiar foundation for users to build pages with.

The design was made with the intention that it would evolve as the brand of the school evolved. Card-like elements allow easy CSS changes such as color, fonts and formatting without affecting the structure of the pages.

Project discoveries made

Learning how each unique CMS works from the very start avoids hasty decisions later.

No two CMS platforms are created equal, and having tons of experience designing for Wordpress, I assumed DNN’s Evoq would behave in a similar way.

However what I found was that Evoq was far more technical and less end-user friendly. This caused me to scale back “optional” features and focus solely on core features for each module.

Module design can be very tricky when dealing with the many variables users are presented with when building their own pages. Once I understood the way Evoq handled page building, from a code perspective, designing for the platform became easier.