Dan Freeman first hired me in 2006 to design and develop a website for his drum & bass band Comandante Zero. In the fall of 2014 he approached me to design a visual identity and develop a website with e-commerce and multi-lingual capabilities for a new venture he was pursuing: the Brooklyn Digital Conservatory (aka BKDigiCon).

The Brooklyn Digital Conservatory would seek to bring some of the best teachers/presenters in the world of digital music to schools, festivals and events worldwide. BKDigiCon would work to facilitate the exchange of presenters, artists and faculty between institutions across international borders, as well as offer pop-up courses and seminars, curriculum consulting and performances globally.

Logo & Identity Design

The first step was creating the logo. I started with a look book with twelve font candidates displaying “Brooklyn Digital Conservatory” on three lines, the winner was Exo. Next I started to play with iconography. Dan wanted to emphasize the “Digital” aspect of his school. He also suggested trying to incorporate some of the elements of the Ableton interface, specifically the Play/Pause/Stop buttons, but these proved not to work very well. Eventually we agreed upon working up a generic skyline made of squares that would simulataneously evoke the look of a soundwave on a digital interface and the city of Brooklyn as well.


The Final BKDigiCon Logo

Since this project had to move quickly, I moved right along to development planning. This to be was my first foray into both e-commerce and multi-lingual WordPress development, so I had a lot of research to do before any work could begin. After surveying the field of options, I recommended we go with WooCommerce and WPML, which both had a strong support record and versatile usage. Once these choices were made, the final choice to make was which theme to go with. At the time, my PHP and WordPress skills were a bit dusty, so I wanted to choose a theme that had enough built-in versatility to keep me out of the code for the most part. I ended up choosing Avada, because it had demonstrated solid integration with both WooCommerce and WPML.

Product & Content Management

Workshops needed to be setup as “Virtual Products” that are sold individually. In addition, Dan wanted to easily add the date and location of workshops and allow customers to pay a deposit to secure their slot in the class. To satisfy these requirements, I purchased the WooCommerce Deposits plugin and leveraged Advance Custom Fields for date and location data. Isolating this data into separate fields allowed it to be displayed easily on the homepage slider.

Mapping custom fields to slider elements

Managing the roster of faculty was also made easier via the use of both ACF and the Essential Grid plugin. Any post set to use the “Faculty Profile” template would display a set of fields to enter their title and links to their website and other media outlets.

The Essential Grid pulls in all pages that are set as children of the Faculty page.

Each link that is added to the backend will add a corresponding linked icon to their individual profile page.