Language Dept. goes Jamstack

Language Dept. is an innovative and pioneering design agency from New York City. We were honored when they asked Boyle Software to build their new website to better showcase their award-winning digital and print designs.

Homepage screenshots via http://ami.responsivedesign.is/

We are thrilled to announce that our collaboration with the wonderful people from the Language Dept. successfully launched in July 2020. Rather than presenting their work to the public as a simple portfolio site the Language Dept. decided to make use of complex animation scenes and take the visitor on a virtual tour of their work.

On the one hand there was the requirement of hi-res imagery in order to show the Language Dept.’s work in all its visual fabulousness. Pair that with animated page elements as the user scrolls through the content and it becomes clear very quickly that we needed to find an extremely well-performing tech stack which would be able to handle both requirements and provide a good user experience.

We decided to build the new site on the Jamstack, with Gridsome as the static site generator.

Information animation

Gridsome is based on VueJS and while it may be less feature-rich than its big cousin, the React-based Gatsby, Gridsome is a light-weight static site generator with little dependencies on JavaScript once the site is processed and built. That seemed to be a feature to have considering that we would have to add quite a bit of JavaScript to animate the user experience.

For the content management system we chose to go with Contentful, a frontend-agnostic, cloud-based CMS. We built the content model for the new site in a way that allows our client to easily create new pages without having to touch any code in Gridsome. As a result, the individual page sections on pages like the case studies are fully controlled by editors in Contentful. New content can be added using Contentful’s intuitive web interface and can then be rearranged with simply dragging-and-dropping page sections in the desired order – the Gridsome templates take care of the rest. With a click on a button new content can be pushed to production through Netlify.

Image slider on a case study page

Netlify, the third piece in this Jamstack, is a fast and reliable CDN for static site generators and it is also incredibly easy to set up. In addition, Netlify offers post processing optimisation features which help us to further enhance site performance.

We encourage you to go to https://www.languagedept.com to take the tour!

Case study screenshots via http://ami.responsivedesign.is/

About Uwe Kristen

After graduating in Scottish Literature at University of Glasgow in 1996 Uwe put down his empty glass and left the pub. He took the next airplane to New York City and started coding websites. He still codes. He still reads.