The new dean has a new vision for the George Mason University School of Law: Learn. Challenge. Lead. In his letter to the staff, he wrote, “We want prospective students to know that they will receive an outstanding legal education (Learn), be taught to critically evaluate prevailing orthodoxy and pursue new ideas (Challenge), and, ultimately, be well prepared to distinguish themselves (Lead) in their chosen fields.”
To support the new mission, the website needed to be repositioned. The first step was to make the design bolder; therefore, the layout needed to expand to display larger graphics. The previous layout was designed on the 960 Grid System. Fortunately all the dimensions were measured in em units; therefore, the layout scaled accordingly when the width increased from 960 to 1140 pixels.
To showcase Mason Law’s exceptional location, faculty, community, and career services, a homepage slider is needed. After thorough research, I chose David DeSandro’s excellent Flickity, which loads fast, provides flexibilities, and works with responsive images (Picturefill). I highly recommend Flickity for responsive slideshow.
In addition to the slider, the new Mason Law homepage features larger type, richer colors, and bolder visual elements. The footer of the site incorporate the striking tagline: Learn. Challenge. Lead.
For typography, Myriad Pro is the only typeface chosen, but its extensive family gave the design tremendous flexibilities. The story pages (location, faculty, community, and career services), for example, use heavy weight to incorporate typography into photography. I enjoyed making editorial designs for these pages.
For the work behind the scene, I cleaned up the templates to simplify the design and make the layout more consistent. CSS is not as organized as I would have wanted, but I am glad that I wrote it from scratch; therefore, I knew exactly where to find things. Sass is a huge timesaver. Making changes to a large site like this could have been a nightmare if I were to rely on a CSS framework.
Giving the short timeline (less than a month) and the number of people involved, I am satisfied with the new changes for the website. The iterations were small, but they made a big impact. Everyone on the committee, including the new dean, is pleased with the repositioning.