is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
The talented, Portland-based design agency Instrument launched a new web site for itself this week. It’s nice enough, but what I was particularly taken by was the team page, which captures each of the company’s many employees in elegantly styled photos.
There’s no one right way to design a team page, but I think it says so much about the company’s respect for an employee when it’s willing to pay for the cost of high quality photos of its team. A professional portrait, executed in a distinctive style that’s consistent across the whole team, says that the company values the people who work for it and how the world at large sees them. It also arms each team member with a valuable asset with which to represent themselves when appearing at conferences or even to use as social media avatars. It sounds trivial, but small stuff like this counts.
Here’s another nicely realized team page (thanks to Felipe Tofani on Twitter) from New York and Warsaw advertising agency Ars Thanea. They use a gorgeous, highly stylized look to showcase their staff in an inventive layout; the design even offers surprisingly playful alternative shots for some key members when you mouse over them (example in the bottom left).
To me, it’s fully evident that the team enjoyed the heck out of themselves sitting for the shots, but if you}re skeptical, take a look at the making of the photo shoot as captured in this Behance project. What a wonderfully over-the-top production.
It’s worth noting of course that the challenge with these pages is maintaining them as the team grows and changes. Adding new photos in a timely manner, and making sure that the established style remains consistent both require a vigilant regard for a company’s public identity. It’s also probably no accident that these examples are from agencies; those businesses are often more familiar with what it takes to pull off projects like these, and their culture tends to be more accommodating of this high touch level of image management than most. Still, these projects don’t have to be exorbitantly expensive to pull off, and if a company has raised lots of venture capital, the cost of a photo strategy like this is marginal. People are worth it.+