Back in 2010, I had only just immigrated to the United States, when a Miami based marketing agency approached me to design a professional basketball player's wedding website - very exciting - but when they announced it was Chris Bosh, I had never heard of him, sorry Chris! I quickly learned about him and his awesome game (up to this point, I’d never really seen a full game of basketball especially coming from England where it’s not shown on mainstream television). But when researching the project and learning more and more about basketball I got right into it and ended up going to many Miami Heat games over at the Triple A. It was a perfect time to be introduced to the sport as the big 3 (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade & Bosh himself) where in full swing, eventually leading the Heat to four NBA Finals. I was hooked.
When is a wedding website not a wedding website? The brief...
Chris was to marry Adrienne Williams mid-2011 in Miami, on top of the usual functions, the website needed to show a ‘countdown’ timer, hotel recommendations, a wedding gift reservation system, play background music and a ‘live’ gallery that would be updated during the big day. I was to design the front-end (look and feel) and the agency would develop the back-end (code).
The creative brief was to design a wedding website that didn’t look like a wedding website. No clichéd graphical elements (roses, rings, bouquets, cakes, churches etc), no handwritten typography and definitely no cheese.
The design process
Right off the bat, I decided I wasn’t going to research any wedding websites I wanted to be completely original and to hopefully break a few conventions. Having only just moved to South Florida I was still in awe of the stunning Floridian landscapes, hot pink sunsets, and the Art Deco architecture, inspired, it was a great place to gather ideas, textures, color palettes, and typography.
Bokeh photography (blurred effect)
It wasn’t easy if memory serves, I hit on an idea around the 4th or 5th mockup (I usually arrive at a strong concept by the 2nd round) - I explored ‘Bokeh photography’ (out of focus backgrounds), taking this and adding sharp foreground elements gave a natural focal point. But using the natural palms, sunsets and beach landscapes for the blurred assets was way too noisy - the deep greens, rich aqua blues, and hot pinks were dominating. Greyscale was the answer, this also introduced a subtle ‘Jazz club’ feel, exactly what we were after (Chris is a big fan of Jazz music).
Overlaying the backgrounds would run semi-transparent squares containing copy, imagery, logos, data etc. The color photography got a natural ‘pop’ sitting against the grey backgrounds. The typography was probably the easiest part of the process - it was almost a foregone conclusion that we where going to be using a classic art deco based typeface.
The agency and I loved where the design was going but it was still missing that ‘X’ factor. We needed to add one more element that would really set it apart. And after seeing the proofs for the wedding invites I knew exactly what that was going to be. The artwork for the invites used a stylized illustration of a heart which was based on the B in Bosh. I took the Disney magic sprinkling effect and replaced the fairy dust with the hearts then, when animated - It was magical. The design was complete. (not shown in my designs but the logo was also raining stardust).
For the first time - take a look at the visual design below. Considering it’s almost 6 years old, I think its stood the test of time pretty well.
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