What characterizes and differentiates artistic organizations is their "artistic narrative". Communicating it correctly on the website will therefore be a priority.
The artistic narrative defines in a concrete and differentiated way the values, talents and capacities of organizations, projects or artists. An honest, clear and precise artistic narrative is guaranteed to impact the audiences and potential collaborators and partners in future projects. Once the artistic narrative is clear to everyone, the next step should be to communicate it on the website.
THE WEBSITE OF THE ARTISTIC NARRATIVE
Currently the most common way of communicating one's own story are on-line tools and, specifically, the organization's website. Explaining who you are, what you do, how you do it, what are you offering, where you come from and where you want to go, in HTML code, is the great challenge that artistic organizations have to face if they want to earn recognition and trust.
Designing the website of an arts organization is not just about showing current projects. It consists of presenting a journey from the place of origin -organization or project- and the path to be followed. To show it, all the tools available for webpage development must be used: text, video, image, animations, etc.
A website of the cultural sector that does not communicate a coherent and clear artistic narrative, has all the possibilities of remaining on the surface of its project. If it does not assume the complexity and uniqueness of the artistic proposal, it runs the risk of presenting a stereotyped and repeated image, with few elements that differentiate it from similar proposals.
To reproduce the artistic narrative on the website, it must first be built outside of it. Its construction is a process that should take all the time necessary. Defining the narrative means going to the root of the organization's own being. It is a journey that should be done accompanied by professionals outside the project who guide the successive steps to be carried out. In short, at the end of the process you must have the ability to define the project or organization in a single sentence or slogan, in a short text or short narrative (2-3 paragraphs) and in a long text (1 page). If the three texts collect by themselves the essence of the same project, the result will have been positive.
FROM THE ARTISTIC NARRATIVE TO THE WEBSITE
The next stage will consist of transferring it into the website language. The phrase or short phrases should usually be reflected in one or more slogans, clearly visible at the beginning of the website next to the name of the organization and its logo - two elements that also communicate the narrative. The text or short narrative, next on the "Home" page and the long text on its own "About" page.
From this basic design, imagination must be used to connect the messages through Sliders, vertical navigation, main menu, sub-menus and pages; the structural elements of the web. Also, images, videos, animations, etc. will give it a greater dynamism, clarity and beauty. Arts organizations, used to tell stories to other people through scenes, chapters or frames, should have no difficulty in clearly explaining their own story using all available textual and audio-visual resources.
Reading a web in two directions will be the best way to explain the artistic narrative. The first, on the "Home" page, navigating vertically. Second, the classic navigation through the different pages showed in the main menu. In addition, a third navigation can also be added in horizontal scrolling through Sliders of images, videos and text. In this way, the effect of flexibility and richness of the narrative is achieved so that it is complete and synthetic at the same time. In these three dimensions, the order and priority of the messages to be communicated must be dosed and go from the general to the specific.
"MANIFESTO POETICO" AND "TETROLAB MADRID" WEBSITES TWO GOOD EXAMPLES HOW TO READ THE ARTISTIC NARRATIVE IN A WEBSITE CONTEXT
Two good examples to understand the presentation of the artistic narrative by digital means are the web pages of "Manifesto Poetico" and "TeatroLab Madrid". These are two projects with which we have collaborated in the definition of the development and mobility plan, and the re-design of their web pages.
The "Manifesto Poetico" website shows the capacity to navigate in two dimensions and how the artistic narrative is structured. It goes from the general to the concrete and, based from the video and the image, presents the complete narrative of the company. First of all, on the "Home" page, the name and slogan are clearly visible. Next, a video with over-impressed text where, in an audio-visual way, the core business of the company is presented. Following the vertical navigation, the short text is shown, the projects, the news and then some personalities from the performing arts scene. The latter help to better identify the type of work, the style and the career path of the company. On the other hand, from the main menu, navigation is done directly and according to the user experience.
The website of the theatre company "TeatroLab Madrid" is another good example. In the same way as the previous one, in the "Home" page the name of the company and the slogan are clearly displayed. Next, in a Slider of still images and over-impressed texts, the different projects are presented, giving equal value to those that have to do with productions, laboratory work and workshops. Not in vain the company's narrative does not only involve the sale of shows, but also integrates the processes of creation and educational and community works. After a short textual description or short narrative, descending the "Home" page a video appears. It will be necessary to stop at the video and take a good look at it, as it is an excellent example of how the artistic narrative can be made and integrated into the "Home" in an audiovisual way.
WEBSITE DESIGN TECHNOLOGIES
In addition to having a clear and elaborate narrative, we must have the right tools. Nowadays, most of the main CMS (Content Management System) in open source allow to design dynamic pages following these criteria. Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla would be the most effective. The first for simple and easy-to-edit designs, the second, to go further, adding some external code, and the third, a middle ground between the two. However, all-in-one platforms in the cloud such as Squarespace or Wix, offer more than acceptable results, present a lower cost and are very easy to use, even for those who have little knowledge of web development.
In short, every cultural and artistic organization must be very clear about its artistic narrative. Then, to be able to express it in texts and images. Finally, make it known to a global audience using the language of online communication.
More information to build the artistic narrative for mobility (here).