Renaissance Entertainment Corporation
Ski Sterling Forest · The Forest of Fear
January 2002 through February 2004
Renaissance Entertainment Corporation produces three major renaissance-themed outdoor festivals and one Halloween-themed event annually. They also manage the Sterling Forest Ski Center in New York.
For the renaissance-themed events, it was a particular challenge to portray an "olde time" feel in such a modern conveyance as the internet. I chose to spend a great deal of time with the artistic elements of type and color to achieve this.
It was the dream of the company to include music as a part of their website. Rather than embedding a low-quality sound bit which would force itself onto the viewers, I chose to incorporate higher-quality music into a Flash animation. As all "good" animations built in this way should be, the viewer has the opportunity to option out. I feel this is a very important choice since many of the viewers would be visiting from low-speed connections or may be in a situation where they do not want the music to broadcast their browser's whereabouts. The Flash animation exists only when entering from the index page.
Because originally the company's festivals included two operating in California, each with the same name, it was important that the individual festivals be "color-coded". This involved utilizing a color palette which was specific to the festival.
Another challenge to the REC website was the inclusion of e-commerce. When I began the project, their system for collecting ticket orders online was to have their patrons e-mail their orders through a secured-socket layer and PGP encrypting. While this worked, it was very time consuming from the festival end as each order was individually downloaded, decrypted and hand-entered into a POS terminal.
To solve their e-commerce situation, I chose Miva Merchant. While it is designed for a much larger catalog of sales items, it offered seamless integration with the Verisign gateway and a user-friendly interface for the festival personnel who would be handling the ticket fulfillment. This choice has proven itself to be an extremely cost-effective method for the festivals. In 2003, the combined sales of their productions exceeded $600,000.
The object of all commercial websites is obviously to generate commerce. Not all visitors are comfortable with online transactions however. For this reason, I also included a simple and effective way to join a traditional postal mailing list to which the festivals sent annual printed brochures. Also included is an e-mail newletter list which entitled the recipients to periodic newsletters and special offers. To keep ahead of pending legislation regarding "spam", the e-mail list is operated under a "double opt-in" method and is easy to subscribe and un-subscribe.
Note: I have not been involved in the daily maintenance of this site since March, 2004. The design, artwork, etc. continues to accurately reflect my work.