Ravinia Festival is an seasonal outdoor music venue located on the Northshore of Chicago. I worked with the Ravinia Festival for three seasons, and loved it. Populating, creating and managing content for the site, loading content all through the custom management system, finding and helping develop solutions to make a more efficiant CMS, coordinating with a number of departments to make sure that the content on the site was up to date and correct before and after each season. My title was “Manger of Interactive Media”, a fancy name given to me that really means webmaster and online media manger.
I started off on a contract basis with Ravinia festival in August of 2010. They took me on for the full-time position in October of 2010. When I started managing the website, it looked like this…
Digital Promotion Graphics for the site:
The design of the site was set up as ASPX files and had over 50 unique informational pages. It was all configured through a custom content management system built by the Director of Technology and integrated with the Enta ticketing system. Having the pages set up the way they were and my prior knowledge on how to edit PHP pages, made it easy for me to make style, copy and image changes throughout the meaty informational pages of the site using the CSS styling and ASPX set up.
So moving forward with the site and as the branding changed, they asked me to redesign the site. They wanted to keep the main features of the homepage (ad slider, smaller marketing boxes, calender, list view), and tie in the social sharing aspect, so I came up with a couple of new visual concepts for the site. I went ahead and focused on the main structured pages of the site… homepage, calender, show pages, primary navigation pages, secondary content pages, seating charts and ticketing and login. From there I developed a consistent but clean look to bring Ravinia’s website into the new age.
Main Navigation Click-Through Page Before:
Main Navigation Click-Through Page After:
And finally how it looked when the site was live.
With new graphics for upcoming shows in a different format:
Managing a website for a festival that undertakes a gigantic amount of web traffic for a major outdoor music venue is no easy task. Especially the Ravinia Festival. The festival may only be open from June until September, but the amount of time and coordination it takes to maintain the site lasts all year. The amount of preparation and the planning involved with an establishment that hosts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a wide variety of world-wide pop-stars is unreal and I got to experience that first hand.
There are so many events taking place in the off season, by the different departments and the information on each departments pages needs to be updated constantly, sometimes even in the next ten minutes, and it is extremely peculiar because it is a not-for-profit company, relying solely on the donors that contribute to keep the park lasting as long as it has. During the on-season, I may have to edit 10 pages of information, coordinate to send out 3 different mass emails to three select list of donors outlining their benefits of being a specific level of donor for the particular show that is happening that evening, while making sure that the digital screens are coordinated and showing the show advertisements that we want displayed throughout 12 different locations around the park, while having to work as the second camera man, breaking down, and setting up lights for a video shoot we are doing in ten minutes, and making sure that the media outlets are displaying our graphics on their site to promote upcoming events. Calender reminders and coordination were an absolute must. SO MUCH CONTENT!
Graphics for digital media promotions on our Chicago media partners:
Here are some examples of the digital graphics that I would whip up throughout the season to promote around the park, depending on who was playing that particular night, and what shows needed help in ticket sales.