Since it began in 1989, record label Warp has been renowned for releasing forward-thinking, brave, and often rather terrifying electronic music, veering determinedly towards the more cerebral end of the spectrum. Its visual sensibilities, too, have always been smart, with the early releases packaged in uniform purple sleeves designed by The Designers Republic (the folk behind the brilliant Perspex packaging for the most recent Aphex Twin release, Syro).
A label known for its boundary-pushing, futuristic and smart roster needs its online presence to match its values. As such, following the celebration of its 25th anniversary last year, Warp felt it was time for a revamp. It brought in Berlin-based consultancy HelloMe and London’s Stinkdigital to helm the redesign – its biggest in six years – which was unveiled last week.
The new site draws its colour palette, typographic approach and general look and feel from the HelloMe-designed Warp 25th anniversary logo, and Stinkdigital worked to apply this across the site, looking to ensure usability across mobile and tablet platforms, as well as desktops. The agency was brought on board in time-honoured “through a friend of a friend” fashion, according to its Europe managing director James Britton. He says the label had liked Stinkdigital’s work for Google and the Barbican, as well as its work on an online dance music archive for the Red Bull Music Academy.
James says: “Warp.net has always been very experimental and reflective of the brand’s chaotic craziness, but it got to a point around the end of 2013 where it needed to work better with how the internet works now. The main problems were things like working on mobile and smaller screens.
“There needed to be more of a focus on aggregated content – artists now have a lot of content across a number of different platforms, so we needed an elegant way to [show] those things.”
Artist pages on the new site vary according to how established they are, with the Warp branding more prominent on less well known acts’ pages, and far less so on the big names, like Squarepusher or Aphex Twin. “With acts like Flying Lotus the navigation falls away to just a small dash of purple,” James explains. “Some bands rely more heavily on Warp than others. We’re always working with the A&R people on how the artists want to present themselves, too.”
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