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Designed To Be Discovered

Crafting a New Image for an Orange County Landmark

After interviewing over 20 web design studios from Los Angeles to San Diego, we were selected by the Laguna Art Museum to redesign their website for their Centennial year.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Museum and its legacy, it is truly one of the landmark institutions in Orange County. The town of Laguna Beach is known for being an artist colony, founded by artists, and it is those very same artists who began to formalize themselves 100 years ago into what eventually became the Laguna Art Museum. Being elected to take this project on is not only a coup for our agency, it is an honor, which came bundled with responsibility. We wanted to make sure that we were representing the Museum well, and at the same time doing our hometown of Laguna Beach proud!


Driven by results


Branding the Museum in Its 100th Year

All of our web design projects begin with a moodboard which showcases design language, color, typography and other styling details that relate to how we intend to integrate the brand into the website. This one was no different, but something happened when we were working on the moodboards.

We started gravitating towards a bright and bold shade of blue, and at the same time, we stumbled upon a little design detail – a modern symbol that meant… more, and used it throughout the site elements. View More. Learn More. Discover More. The “+” symbol felt ubiquitous to the Museum’s experience, and so we surrounded it with a simplified acronym for Laguna Art Museum – the L A M characters.

Upon presenting the Moodboard, the Head of Marketing and the Design Director immediately jumped at the logo. Quite suddenly, and without really trying, we had branded the museum’s 100th year. Credit goes to the Museum for taking the mark and running with it – they added a “100” in the bottom right-hand corner of the symbol, and so, the LAM100 logo was born.

Modern, Contemporary and Full of Color

The Museum itself has a personality that is both old and young. The mix of art is certainly eclectic, although the Museum is most known for its collection of California Art. With all the sky, sea, and landscape paintings on showcase, we wanted to pick a color that would compliment the art, but still be completely separate, so that it did not ever feel that the design of the website was overbearing and crowding the artwork. We went with a Bright blue - just a few shades off royal - as the core website tone, which gave just the right feel to this beachside Museum.

Creating Visual Interest with Asymmetrical Grids and Type Overlays

The most interesting feature of the website design by far was achieved by combining asymmetrical grids with type overlays. This creates a layered effect that feels very contemporary and magazine-like in its layout & style.

It can be difficult to work with this type of layout in development, but when done well it is very rewarding and lends itself to an interesting overall user experience.

Leaving the Legacy Intact

We incorporated subtle animations, video rows and layered parallax elements to add detail and visual interest. Micro-interactions were employed selectively on icons & other elements throughout to add an additional layer of engagement for the user.

We love Studio Misfits! We’ve been working together for about a year on a major website project, and the team were quick to catch on to our vision and goals very early on. They have a smart workflow and great communication, making every step manageable for our small team.

They have an incredible design aesthetic, which has led to a great new look that we’re thrilled about. From tech and usability, to design and branding, Studio Misfits are a top-notch team.

Cody Lee

Director of Communications - Laguna Art Museum