mStoner, Inc. receives Best In Show, the top honor at The W3 Awards, for the redesign of The University of North Carolina School of the Arts website.

Receiving nearly 5,000 entries, The W3 Awards honors outstanding websites, web marketing, web video, mobile sites/apps, and social content created by some of the best interactive agencies, designers, and creators worldwide. Highlighting the diversity of entries and winners in this year’s competition, the 2016 Best In Show winners represent an impressive group of agencies and companies of all sizes.

Visual storytelling at its finest

After more than 140 on-campus interviews, mStoner realized that what The University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ (UNCSA) five schools of dance, design & production, drama, filmmaking, and music all had in common was a powerful capacity for visual storytelling. We presented a strategy that was equally arts-focused, allowing the energy of the student work created on campus to tell UNCSA’s brand story. “I wanted them to have a platform for the incredible visuals they had,” said Susan T. Evans, lead strategist and vice president of client solutions for mStoner. “When you walk around campus, you feel like you’re in Hollywood — there are sound studios, costume shops, black box theaters, everything. They had amazing content and no way to showcase it.”

Building on UNCSA’s new black-and-white logo, we designed minimalist, high-contrast pages and then let the color arise from photography and video of student performances, rehearsals, and studio time. The result keeps the visitor immersed in the student experience, while the dramatic grayscale palette conveys the serious, professional character of the school.

“People call our site ‘stunning’ and ‘beautiful’ — visual impact was one of our goals for the site and it was clearly accomplished,” said Claire Machamer, UNCSA’s chief technology officer. “Social media referrals have skyrocketed, because people are sharing the site; they’re proud of it.”

Hear more about the project from UNCSA’s leadership team

From digital storytelling and visual design to web governance and managing internal communications, we sat down to interview key folks on UNCSA’s leadership team about the collaboration with mStoner. Check out the playlist of seven short videos below.

Mallory Wood

AUTHOR - Mallory Wood

I ride the line between ESTJ and ISTJ. What does that mean for mStoner, besides entertaining colleagues with my wit and charm? I'm a problem-solver and enjoy working through our potential client's challenges to identify solutions and how a partnership with mStoner will bring value. Find me on

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