Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Reemergence of the Tokyopop Website with Stu Levy Part 2

Please read Part 1 of the interview before reading Part 2

The Re-Launch

On April 26, 2011, there was supposed to be “a spiffy new stripped-down version of” Recipients of the Roboblast newsletter from that day would have seen it. However, that design was not used for the re-launch; it looks nothing like it. Because that design is two years old and web designs have changed since then, it was decided to create a design that is more modern and befitting to today’s taste.

After looking at the site, I had to compliment Levy on the design; it was much easier for me to locate items with the naked eye without doing a Ctrl+F. Plus, I like the overall visual appeal, especially the placement and orientation of the Tokyopop logo. It’s not the usual splat (!) in the corner or bottom you go! Also, I admire the navigation bar with the askew sliding menu, which is not typical either. Basically, it moves away from the standard placement and orientation that I have seen. The site is simple yet attractive in black and grey. What does the re-launch symbolize? What makes it special? Levy said that they want the public to understand what the company stands for, the products that they offer and simply who they are. “Hopefully that is easier to know now, but I’m sure we’ll be constantly tweaking – sometimes we’ll get it right, sometimes wrong. The important point is to keep trying.”

Although their resources are limited, the creative designing process came rather quickly. The website uses a customized design based off of one of the advance templates available on WordPress. Levy has a web designer that assisted in the web coding to create what we currently see at Skamfu, the web designer, does both the coding and design, and the Wordpress customization including the integration with some of Tokyopop’s partners, using their API’s, aka application programming interface, when it’s available. The communication process between him and the designer went back and forth about 10 times, which included focusing on the overall look, specifications of the home page and variety of sections. “I’ve been doing creative direction for almost 20 years now and working with a talented artist makes my job easy.” In the words of Levy, about his web designer, “he’s definitely awesome!”

Recollecting my own experience during any creative process, sometimes one’s initial idea is not the finalized one. Sometimes even the finalized one is not really the finalized one. Sometimes there are new developments, unknown initially, that have to be incorporated this time around. If Levy had more than one in mind or simply changes to the design over time, how did he figure out that this is the right design to represent Tokyopop’s re-launch? “It comes down to instinct, I believe.” He feels that “aesthetic values and visual design approach” is a product created by combing taste and experience. I do agree with him that no matter who you are we are all influenced by those around us. Currently, the web follows the “clear and functional” approach of “minimalist design.” Toykopop “tried to stick to that philosophy but keep a bit of flair.”
© 2013 Linda Thai

Stay tune for Part 3 of the Stu Levy interview.

No comments: