ArtCal.co is a simple and beautiful website for art lovers to find new art exhibitions to visit. We created ArtCal.co to encourage Australians to return to galleries after having endured isolation and lockdowns for much of this year. We want to encourage and support gallery owners and local artists who have been doing it tough during COVID-19. We couldn’t find a site that did this one thing really well, so we decided to make our own.
We followed a user-centred design process; researching the market, consulting with our audience and conducting user testing throughout. We made the calendar a big feature, a differentiating factor of the interface, while exhibition information and additional navigation was positioned on the right hand side of the interface to keep the calendar front and centre. We created a simple but typographic design language that made the artwork content the hero of the experience. We chose the heptagon as a reference to the seven days of the week, and turned our brand mark into navigation and the navigation into our brand mark.
This has been a tough year for many Australians, and there’s little doubt that those within the Arts industry have suffered significantly as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions. While many businesses have been able to successfully pivot during Covid-19, this has proven to be more difficult for smaller galleries and those who represent upcoming or lesser known artists.
We designed ArtCal.co to support the arts industry in its post-lockdown recovery. We believe that it will encourage more people to go to local galleries and in turn, support local artists and the industry.
We innovated through constraint; by doing something very simple, with laser focus, we created something of value. Constraining the scope allowed us to produce something on a budget, that we could test effectively, quickly and cheaply.
Our small-team approach allowed us to experiment with the process and with a return to the \’designer as maker\’ culture of the early internet boom. Launching our own product has allowed us to experience what it’s like to be a client. It’s helped us refine our own internal processes and our ability to provide better recommendations to our start-up clients.
We believe innovation can be achieved by simplifying existing ideas. In a cluttered online space where more information is often mistaken for better, ArtCal.co is unique in its focus and simplicity. We\’ve designed something innovative by keeping functionality simple and instinctive, and focusing on a single minded intention; to allow users to pick a date and find out what\’s on.
The entire user interface is built around an interactive calendar; instantly recognisable but entirely unique to online. The calendar layout makes it easy to identity the day/date, while exhibition content is viewed without obscuring the calendar or losing context.
ArtCal.co allows users to easily find art exhibitions in a chosen area. The site works on desktop and mobile, and provides simple functionality — you can browse art exhibitions by date, save exhibitions to your \’favourites\’ to view later, suggest exhibitions (which can be submitted by either galleries, artists or patrons), and switch between cities. We are launching in Melbourne and Sydney initially, and plan to launch in the rest of Australia in the new year.