3rd October, 2007


For seven or eight months, we have been slogging our guts out on two or three vast projects, perhaps the biggest being a major rebuild and redesign for frieze Magazine - Europe’s #1 art magazine.

Frieze sites

For me this was a dream job, as I used to buy frieze every month back in my art days. The Frieze team are also responsible for the Frieze Art Fair (Europe’s #1 art event), and year-round commissioning through the Frieze Foundation. We have also produced brand new sites for these.

Specifically, this was a real challenge for our beloved ExpressionEngine, but as usual it passed with flying colours. In particular, using EE’s new Multiple Site Manager, we’re running all three sites from one control panel. This is combined with a bridging application to allow for paid membership subscriptions, interaction with Filemaker, a robust advert server, and a little load-balancing trickery.

Magazine indexFigure 1: Referencing the site content in the magazine.

I’m particularly excited to see how the link between paper and pixels will be strengthened. The latest issue of the magazine now includes details of extra web content on the mag’s contents page (above), and I really like this. For example, videos obviously cannot be viewed in the physical mag, but it is made clear that related content can be found on the website. The Frieze team understand how to use the web as extension (and not mirror) of the physical magazine, and I know this is something they are keen to exploit further as the site develops.

All in all, this job has been epic. Sixteen years of magazine archives, five years of art fair archives, and a client team of around forty people in three countries. A real treat was the opportunity to work with Paul Barnes, co-designer of the Guardian Egyptian typeface. All in all, there were too many workshops and design iterations to count, a hundred database problems, and oh so many late nights with little or no sleep. Still, we’re really proud of this one, and I have to say that personally, the challenge of translating physical magazine or newspaper content for online digestion is becoming a real dream gig. Murdoch, give us a call.

Frieze Magazine home page

Note to scrutinizers: Yep, we still have a lot to do, both in terms of content and style. Therefore, I’d appreciate a bit of leeway regarding validation, stray tags and some decidedly non-semantic classes etc. Trust me, when a job like this gets rolling, these lesser details fall by the wayside as one’s health and family take precedence. We’ll get there…


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