The uchicago redesign was in gestation for many years before the university's Web Services department (my old employers) took it on in earnest in 2007. The design requirements were ambitious and complex: (1) Present a unified central presence for a huge institution that is a case study in decentralization, (2) Put forward an engaging and accessible face to counter outdated perceptions of the University, and (3) Provide a rich and flexible canvas for telling the many amazing stories of the University and its people. With these requirements, Web Services undertook an internal design process whereby each designer created an original set of site designs. After scads of critique sessions and refinements, our designs were presented to key stakeholders. I was thrilled to learn, in the fall of 2007, that my design had been selected to become the new online face of the University.
For this design, I created a flexible and modular grid structure that would allow for varied page layouts while emphasizing an underlying unity and consistency across the site. To keep things from getting too rigidly columnar, bright color bars traverse grid sections and create dynamism. The large features module, used on the homepage and other top-level pages, allows for rich and deep storytelling.
Visit the site: http://uchicago.edu