Art on the Underground

Over the past 15 years Transport for London’s Art on the Underground has commissioned some of the most important artists working today, so we were delighted to get the opportunity to create a new website for this pioneering programme.

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With ambitious projects ranging from large-scale and permanent installations and network-wide artworks, to to pocket-sized commissions for the cover of the Tube map, Art on the Underground has an incredible track record of commissioning high profile works which can be seen in stations across the Tube network.

Sarah Morris, Big Ben [2012], 2012. Gloucester Road commission by Art on the Underground. Photograph: Thierry Bal

We were introduced to Art on the Underground when Cog took over the business of digital agency Red Leader in 2014. Red Leader had a long-established relationship with the team, having created their previous website in 2009 (with a design based on TfL templates) as well as the microsite and web app for Mark Wallinger’s Labyrinth. As the ambitions of the programme had grown, the site had become outdated, and struggled to communicate the scope and range of their work. In 2014, Red Leader were commissioned to create a new site, and we took on the project last August when the Red Leader team joined Cog.

The brief was to create a new, responsive site, which could showcase their growing archive (over 150 projects and 200 artists), as well as promoting current and future commissions and events. Although their work takes place across the whole of London, at its heart Art on the Underground is a gallery programme, and they wanted to reflect that in the website.

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The design we’ve created is clean and light, letting the artworks take centre stage with large images and slideshows. The use of TfL’s iconic New Johnston font (which we were delighted to get a chance to use) adds to this effect, and is used for all text across the site.

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Of course it’s designed to work equally well on desktop, mobile and tablet and we’re particularly pleased that we’ve been able to carry through the feeling of space to smaller screens.

On the old site individual project or artist pages felt cluttered and complicated, so we’ve stripped back those pages so the focus is solely on the content. Longer sections of text, comments and visiting information are shown in shorter form with ‘read more’ functions and image slideshows remain in a fixed position as you scroll down the page. We’ve even removed the main navigation, using a close button at the top of the page instead.

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On behalf of the whole team here, I wanted to express our thanks and gratitude. We truly appreciate all the hard work and dedication that your team at Cog have put into delivering a site for Art on the Underground that reflects our ambitions for the programme, and will give us a brilliant base from which to promote the programme.

Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on the Underground

We’ve highlighted the wealth of video and audio material Art on the Underground have created, much of which felt hidden on the old site, by creating a dedicated section for that content, as well as embedding media onto project and artists’ pages.

The site encourages visitors to explore; staff can create links to related content across the site, to create connections between projects for audiences to follow.

And although the ‘shop’ links out to the TfL and London Transport Museum shop sites where purchases are completed, we’ve created a shop front where Art on the Underground can profile items related to the programme, in particular the high value limited artists’ editions that have been produced by artists working with the programme, but also merchandise and books.

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We’ve hugely enjoyed working on this site and are very proud to have created something that reflects this high profile and world class visual arts programme.

Launched: April 2015
CMS: WordPress
Visit: www.art.tfl.gov.uk

1 comment

  1. The website looks fantastic! So pleased that the wonderful Art on the Underground campaign continues in earnest. Brightening up millions of Londoners’ commutes.

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