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Constructed from start to finish by an all-designer team, the Wix Playground goes to show how, when given the right tools, professional creatives can independently master their work online. And this, without giving in to technological constraints and artistic compromises. When letting creativity run this freely, the Web really does become a playground.
It is a rare occasion in a designer’s career to work for fellow designers. When the opportunity does arise, it usually carries with it a unique thrill. This is what happened to the Wix Design team, when they were asked to imagine a new language, content and stand-alone website to speak web design to the community of professional creatives. “We could do whatever we wanted, which was exciting and extremely challenging at the same time”, recalls Hagit Kaufman, VP of Design and Branding at Wix.
While the team was brainstorming at the early stages of the project, the ideas of enjoyment and free experimentation kept coming up. “Most of the designers involved expressed the act of creating with Wix as ‘playing’, having fun with the design features on a blank page”, says Lior Dahan from the Wix Studio. The project was hence titled “Playground”, a name highlighting the company’s belief that the Web should, first and foremost, be fun.
Enjoy unlimited creative freedom
The resulting Playground mini-site is an incredible celebration of online creativity. Every single element was built from scratch, in-house. Even more impressive: no developer was involved in the process. Thanks to the agility of the Wix Editor and its meticulous design features, the Design team could bring their creative vision to life on their own. Among the assets that Wix offers are customizable layouts, allowing complete control over all the elements of the page, down to perfecting the exact column width. Designers can pick from numerous sophisticated effects, such as parallax or hover boxes, to add that interactive spark. Finally, retina-ready image display, as well as an HD video player, make their vision shine through as sharply as they’ve intended.
These design features are accompanied by other helpful tools such as custom domains, unlimited storage and industry-leading SEO, meant to answer all professional creatives’ needs. These versatile options enable all web design decisions to remain solely in the hands of the designer. As Hagit Kaufman puts it, this gives the user the ability to “own their site from design to live, and make use of that freedom to bring their true self as a designer forward – without depending on anyone else.”
Scroll, hover, click… and play!
In the spirit of the playground motif, the design language chosen for the website is extremely engaging and interactive. It showcases Wix’s many features in an online game of scroll, hover and click. Keeping its details playful and its tone fun, the mini-site is scattered with whimsical perks. The Wix Code section, for example, offers a selection of elements that change at the click of a mouse. The last fold at the bottom of the site shows colorful images that swap when clicked on, calling for a mix-and-match game of varying aesthetic combinations. To this, Lior Dahan proclaims: “I invite everyone to click, get inspired and start playing with their website.”
Templates to kick things off with
While the Wix platform enables creating websites from scratch, it was also important for the team to include web templates custom-tailored for designers’ needs – whether to serve as an early starting-point in the design process, or as handy web inspiration. But creating for a crowd of sophisticated professionals raises the bar to pixel-perfect performance expectations. “This meant that our team was extra eager to create flawless templates, break the boundaries and bring something new to the web design scene,” shares Iris Koutchmar, who took part in working on these gems. The result is a library full of stylized templates aimed at varying creative fields, be it branding, illustration, fashion or product design.
Future updates keep things on the move
Don’t get fooled by its crisp beauty: the Playground is still evolving. The elaborate motion graphics showcased in the site cover, for example, is the first in a series of three video loops to be featured in the future. Created by the Wix in-house motion design team, the series is based on the understanding that while all designers start off with a blank canvas, every creative process is a different story. The first video focuses on the emotional artist, who invents with their gut feeling; the second video, soon to be released, is of the designer who finds beauty in patterns; and a third video will be about the experimentalist, who grows with trial and error.
The site also opened its doors for other artists to showcase their own portfolios, created with the Wix platform. More contributions will be added on a continuous basis, emanating a sense of an ever-growing creative feast. “Wix offers a robust, deep and professional web editor,” says Hagit Kaufman. “And when you put that editor in the hands of a designer, the possibilities of what you can create are endless.”