Interactive + web:
The Brooklyn Rail

Websites are always slippery to define, especially when they are represent dynamic and eclectic organizations like The Brooklyn Rail. When I joined the board with Jeremy Zilar, one of our first goals was to modernize the website, which was already almost twenty years old. It’s an ongoing project, and like a house renovation, we have had to prioritize what we had to do and when.

We began with the article page, as it was the way to make the greatest impact without completely changing out its technical foundation. As with the paper, it was important to make it of our time while maintaining the independent and sometimes chaotic nature of the Rail. Another question we asked was how it could feel more like an archive.

The Venice page and the events page are hosted separately, so they reflect more of a “phase 2” design that we envision for the site.

Article page. This is the building block of the site, and so where we started first to think about how we could have a persistent table of contents to the left and then a typographically sound presentation of content that could accommodate artwork and metadata being pulled off an ancient content management system. 

  Mobile always presents the difficulty of hierarchy within a small space. Using thin type for the headline – in combination with the dekk – meant that we could make it large in font size without overwhelming both the logo and the donate button.

The Venice page had to operate in a way that the staff could continuously update it like a Google Doc. Like other exhibition sites and pages, it also has within it the challenge of bringing together many different types of information: events, descriptions, bios, metadata, and links.

When New York City locked down, the Rail began a series of recorded live lunchtime conversations that were a lifesaver for artists who were feeling isolated.

Like the Venice site, this is built separately from the main Rail site, and requires weaving together many different parts of the web: the Rail site, YouTube, Zoom, Airtable, and Mailchimp.