The Value of Consensus at William & Mary
You hear the name “The College of William & Mary” and the first thing that pops into your mind is “public research institution,” right? We didn’t think so. And that was William & Mary’s dilemma. Its name, as well as the brick-paved campus that dates to the 17th century, spoke of something much more quaint, and private, than the reality of geeky-cool undergraduates participating with faculty in cutting-edge research and nationally recognized law, business, education, and marine science schools shaping the way their fields were practiced in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Can you convey all that in a website? We thought so.
Buy-in and consensus were very important to the William & Mary community, so we began with a ton of meetings. By the end, we were jokingly assigning people numbers. We also scheduled campus presentations throughout the process so that at each stage—intake, strategy, creative development, implementation—everyone on campus knew what was going on. Even more important to the process was a blog our William & Mary clients ran to keep their constituents up-to-date on the project.
The design we landed on used large-scale photography coupled with a strong, somewhat whimsical caption that conveyed a sense of William & Mary’s culture. Banks of feature stories focused on William & Mary’s research practice and the college’s impact on the state. It took the University & College Designers Association Silver Award in 2009, as well as eduStyle’s awards for Overall Site Redesign and Best Use of Photography. But what really makes us proud is how the site has grown with William & Mary, especially how it’s provided a platform for social media integration. William & Mary was so happy that they then asked us to do its viewbook.
William & Mary at a Glance
- A public institution founded in 1693.
- The second-oldest institution of higher education in the country.
- Located in Williamsburg, Virginia.
- Winner of the eduStyle 2009 awards for Best Redesign and Best Use of Photography.
- Website redesign
- Web strategy
- Building consensus with campus community
- Client participation