Art Direction, Graphic Design, Illustration, Typography, User Experience, Photography Edit, Front and Back-end Development, User Interface Design, Project Management, Hand drawing.
D’Angelico Guitars is based in New York City. The company’s story goes back to 1932, when master luthier John D’Angelico opened his instrument shop on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Strictly handmade in limited quantities, the guitars were embraced by leading artists. They remained popular until the 1970s, when D’Angelico passed away and his legacy was lost with him…until now.
It’s not every day that a legendary brand is brought back to life, and our team was thrilled to be a part of the adventure. But how does one go about reviving a legend? We were given the mission to create a simple website that showcased vintage guitars being manufactured with new technology.
To revive the memories of D’Angelico’s legacy, we focused our digital design on the exquisite guitars, and their longstanding tradition and history. We drew every detail around the beautifully crafted instruments, devoting the website to digital storytelling.
Scrolling along, we took visitors to old New York to learn about the lives of John D'Angelico and his best apprentice, James D'Aquisto—“the two greatest guitar makers of the 20th century.” Users were able to click around and marvel at the quality and details of each guitar, as well as browse popular artists playing them.
The success of D'Angelico’s website went far beyond our wildest expectations. The site was named Awwwards Site of the Day and FWA Site of the Day. It was a Webby Best Visual Design Honoree and received a Forbes E-Volution Awards for Design Aesthetics. It was also featured in many design books, articles and publications around the world.
Beyond success in the design community, the new site gave our client the boost they needed. The legend was reborn and the brand became the talk of town for renowned music artists around the world.
Eight months after launching D’Angelico’s first website, the brand needed no more introductions. D’Angelico guitars were already in the hands of major artists around the world, and the company soon found itself among the most successful "new" brands in the industry.
What our client needed now was a website that featured its latest guitar series, along with an integrated shop, customer log-ins, media area, dealer locations and social media feed. Outgrowing one’s digital space is a fantastic sign of growth—and we’re proud to have been a part of the success.
Before beginning the manufacturing process, original D’Angelico guitar models were put through MRI and x-ray machines for accurate replication. It took about two years to create one of the master-builder guitars from raw wood, with a carefully-recruited team at the helm.
The entire effort was laser-focused on the revitalization and successful re-launch of the brand, and the website needed to reflect that.
D’Angelico Guitars was officially launched in 2011. That same year original D’Angelico collector’s items were honored at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of an exhibition titled Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy.