Vibrancy, Creativity, Accessibility, and Flexibility
The Royal Academy of Arts
Shining a 21st century light on an 18th century institution.
London’s Royal Academy of Arts has a rich history dating back to 1768, when King George III permitted Sir William Chambers and 35 other artists to establish an institution to "promote the Arts of Design." In the 250 years since, the Royal Academy has continued to evolve under the leadership of the Royal Academicians — some of the UK's best-­known artists and architects — who run one of the world's most prestigious art schools and host some of London's most popular exhibitions. In 2014, they turned to the team of IDEO and 8th Light to help them reimagine and reinvigorate their online presence.
A screenshot of Axus's homepage.
We empowered Royal Academy’s staff to take control of how their content and website might adapt and grow into the future.

From art gallery to educational experience.
IDEO’s research clearly showed that the Royal Academy’s existing website fell short of its ambition, and somewhat underrepresented the activities of its dynamic educational arm. Their recommended design direction centered on allowing a broader variety of content types representing multiple aspects of the organization to “bubble up.” From there, we worked to design and craft a visually dynamic solution that delivers on all counts — both aesthetic and functional. The underpinning of the solution: a custom content management system uniquely tailored to meet the Academy’s immediate needs, and flexible enough to empower them as they move forward with new online content initiatives in the future.

One of the key things we’ve been trying to do is open the door to all the exciting activity that goes on in the Royal Academy.

Stronger engagement, stronger presence.
The result? The Royal Academy of Art’s revitalized website has generated significant upticks in usage, particularly in the area of editorial content delivered via its blog, and has empowered its students to create fresh new content that complements its historical works, promoting a more holistic expression of the institution’s various initiatives. According to Nick Sharp, head of digital at the Royal Academy, "People mostly knew us for putting on big art exhibitions, but there is so much more going on, from our diverse Royal Academicians to the work of our students. One of the key things we've been trying to do is open the door to all the exciting activity that goes on in the Royal Academy. The updated site is a great step forward in terms of how we’re able to present ourselves and tell stories about what the organization does.”

People mostly knew us for putting on big art exhibitions, but there is so much more going on, from our diverse Royal Academicians to the work of our students. One of the key things we’ve been trying to do is open the door to all the exciting activity that goes on in the Royal Academy. The updated site is a great step forward in terms of how we’re able to present ourselves and tell stories about what the organization does.
Nick Sharp
Head of Digital,
The Royal Academy
Services
Design
  • Human-centered Design
  • Information Architecture
  • UI Design
  • UI Engineering
  • UX Design
  • UX Research
  • Web Accessibility
Development
  • API Development
  • Application Architecture
  • Content Management System Integration
  • Mobile App Development
  • Software Development
  • Third-party Integrations
Data
  • Data Architecture
DevOps
  • Cloud Infrastructure and Migration
  • Infrastructure Engineering
  • Solution Architecture
  • System Architecture
  • Test Automation
Technologies
  • CircleCI
  • Javascript
  • MySQL
  • Ruby on Rails
Let’s collaborate.