Our work: Frieze

Developing a digital home for art lovers with Drupal

Campaign: Content and experience management | Experience: Design and prototyping, Research and strategy

Frieze is both publisher of the long-running magazine on contemporary arts and culture and organiser of the world’s leading annual contemporary arts fairs Frieze New York, Frieze London and Frieze Masters.

The Frieze web presence had grown organically with the organisation, and was spread over multiple domains – one for each of the publications, fairs and projects. Frieze wanted to consolidate all their content in a single site, under a single brand identity. The aim was to create a unified and seamless digital experience for the customer as they moved between the best new coverage of contemporary art, events, exhibitions and fairs, and across devices.

What we did

Joining the project after an initial UX and wireframing phase, and using Agile project management methods (a customised version of Scrum) we collaborated closely with product owners at Frieze to define detailed requirements, prioritise features, develop the site and provide user experience support.

We built the new site using the Drupal 7 content management system. The collaborative approach meant we were able to ensure that the experience for content managers, including managing ad campaigns, events and a VIP area was as convenient as possible. This was essential given the large volume of content posted by editors each month. We also made a plan for migrating content from the old domains which would preserve search engine visibility.

Committed to working in an Agile way, we took advantage of the Acquia platform and its exceptional Cloud infrastructure to keep our workflow simple and straightforward. This helped us concentrate on developing the features that were most valuable to Frieze.

Beyond operational requirements, creating a visually compelling showcase of the best in contemporary art meant creating a clean, minimalist visual framework which would push this content to the forefront. Drupal’s huge range of community-contributed modules provided a wealth of options for displaying and managing media-rich content for an international audience.

How it went

A phased launch saw the Frieze Academy section of the site roll out in time to publicise events in Winter 2015. The full frieze.com site launched successfully in March 2016.

By rationalising content spread across 15 websites we were able to reduce 40 different content types down to just 10, dramatically simplifying the process of publishing new events, articles, blog posts and reviews. A bespoke ad delivery system allows site managers to easily set up new campaigns and track impressions/click-throughs via custom reports.

Frieze saw the new site as phase 0.1 of a longer term project – a solid base from which they can deliver their digital strategies.

How this helps us on your project

We’ve built up considerable expertise in managing and migrating large portfolios of existing content. We can design new user journeys, content types and architectures which not only make your editorial content more readable and discoverable, but which optimise it to supporting key business goals.


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