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Site of the week: Craftsmen

An Anglo-French collaboration delivers sumptuous results for a digital agency site that places strong emphasis on visual identity

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Craftsmen is a digital development team based in Saint-Etienne, France, co-founded by Mehdi Lahmam and Kevin Chavanne. Specialising in building ‘visual interfaces for web applications’, this agency site also conveys a fun and playful identity driven by one of the UK’s top talents.

Conference favourite Mike Kus worked alongside Aaron Thomas of Harrogate studio Mixd to forge a look and feel that is bubbling with colourful quirkiness. Distinctive typefaces fit tastefully alongside a series of retro pixelated iconography, telling the Craftsmen story in a simple and refreshing way. The site also keeps navigation decidedly non-fussy by using bursts of content that have been arranged neatly into smart, accessible sections.

“I was asked by the French digital agency, Craftsmen, to rebrand and design their new website,” explains Mike. “Craftsmanship and the theme of ‘a digital world’ were central to creating an identity across the entire site. With the design theme in place, I created a collection of strap lines as the core of the design: Digital Explorers, Digital Scientists and Digital Visionaries. Inspired by the gaming graphics of my youth and the likes of Susan Kare, creator of the classic Mac icons, I created a visual theme using a simple colour palette combined with black and white pixel-based illustrations as animated GIFs. I then worked with developer Aaron Thomas to create a fully responsive website.”

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Animated GIF graphics in an oversized pixel art style add very subtle hints of motion

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The various sections are kept short and sweet, dropping breadcrumbs of information for visitors

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