University of Virginia
Online Graphic Standards Guide
When we were commissioned to develop a comprehensive graphic identity for the University of Virginia we proposed that the style manual take the form of a web site. This has some compelling advantages, including dramatic savings over the cost of printing and distributing the usual glossy book. It also allows us to distribute digital artwork for the logo in a much more intelligent manner.
One of the difficulties with the traditional processes for distributing artwork is that the level of knowledge about production details is quite variable. Usually the design firm preparing the original materials understands issues like color palettes, file formats, and compression quite well, and the professional production people on the other end of the process share that knowledge. But the people in the middle have no reason to spend months or years mastering this minutiae. So when a printer asks someone in, say the Dean’s Office to send them a Quark EPS file with a process-color palette and compress it in SIT format for the Macintosh, the person in the Dean’s Office will probably have to call someone else just to begin to understand what that person is talking about. We decided to build this web site so that it leapfrogs over that person’s inexperience, delivering exactly what the end-user needs.
We chose to do this with Flash technology, which allowed us to hide the complexity of searching approximately a thousand different pieces of artwork. Instead the web site’s users answer a short series of questions which lead them directly to the one file in a thousand that they are looking for. Visit the “Art Finder” on this site and try it yourself..