A glimpse into great minds

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Website design & development, Drupal, Content Management System, Photography, Video, Branding


In the woods of central New Jersey, there’s a place where some of our planet’s most brilliant minds gather to think. This is the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), a longstanding hub for some of the world’s foremost rigorous intellectual inquiry.

Though well-known among academics, IAS was seeking to project its mission and research in a more compelling and clear fashion. So they asked us to help refresh their identity and transform their website into a venue for sharing enlightening ideas, just like the brick-and-mortar institution itself.

IAS has an impeccable academic pedigree. Past Faculty have included Albert Einstein, one of its first Professors who remained at the Institute until his death in 1955, and distinguished scientists and scholars such as Kurt GödelJ. Robert OppenheimerErwin PanofskyHetty GoldmanHomer A. ThompsonJohn von NeumannGeorge KennanHermann Weyl, and Clifford Geertz.

Our challenge in refreshing their identity was to maintain their scholarly reputation while shedding their perceived aloofness. So we set out to capture a sense of invitation in their overall brand. We built it into every aspect of their website: strategy, structure, and design. And to convey the real feeling of life and study at IAS, we also made a video—one showing real scholars and genuine moments.

Before we put the video together, we started with something simpler. We spent a day exploring campus, camera in hand. In the spirit of IAS’s unfettered academic environment, this cinematography study was done without a shot list, allowing us to capture whatever we found most fascinating.

We also took an array of still images on campus, to help bring energy and honesty to the website. This imagery now lives on the new IAS website, along with thoughtful content that tells their story in a professional, yet inviting way.

 

IAS is known for asking big questions, so we gave those ideas a prominent place on the site. With a clean, editorial style, we brought all the latest news, essays, and articles into a single “Ideas” stream.

We also gave IAS’s roster of public events a more prominent treatment on the home page. These events, which range from faculty lectures to classical concerts, offer opportunities for the general public to engage in thoughtful academic conversations.

Tying together the website, video, and photography for IAS is a refreshed look and feel—one that’s simultaneously approachable and undeniably rooted in serious academic thought.

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