Make DirectoryBranding / Website Design / Application
We first met Sheila Lam of Make Directory at a nearby coffee shop, a block from our first studio space. Just as she does now, Sheila travels a lot and just came back from a recent trip with much inspiration and energy. Yet as we talked over coffee, it became clearer and clearer that Sheila’s perspective of travel and location was quite unique. Sheila was interested in a person’s choice spots in the city and how these selections defined the city for the individual. This was how Make Directory began.
At the time that we started working together, Sheila was working for a Hackers Conference. Perhaps it would be a slight influence from the tech world when she presented to us the idea of calling her brand “Make Directory”. In programming, the make directory (mkdir) command was script language to make a new directory. The name also proved to be appropriate for her objective in making directories of places, experiences, and local spots. Our shared vision for the platform to be a more minimalistic, edgy, and stark presentation of travel made it an effortless collaboration.
In our design process of the brand identity, we focused back on the two themes—travel and code. A common method we use occasionally is to identify a list of visual cues from our themes and study them in conjunction with one another. This was the case for MKDIR as we drew inspiration from passport stamps and short forms of code. Though the references are not apparent to outside observers, the mark for Make Directory would be comprised of the option code “-m” and a basic circle ring of a circular stamp. As for the wordmark, the full name “Make Directory” would always be presented in the short form “MKDIR” to make the connection to code more clear. For the wordmark, we developed custom letterforms for the uppercase sans serif in MKDIR. This simply allowed us to have greater control the weight of the letterforms, the right sensibilities of the type and the right width and height of the characters.
Going into designing the website, we wanted to present the same unconventional presentation of travel stories. Together with Sheila, our first step was to cultivate a sitemap that helped organize and clarify the content needed on the website. In the end, we divided the content and site navigation into three main categories: interviews, directories and film. Continuing from the brand direction, the website used a simple and rigid design typeface called Source Sans Pro. A uniform use of white space, a grid system and font size treatment allowed for a more pleasant online reading experience. For viewers who want to explore the city through photos only, the interview page has the option of hiding the article essay. At the end of each interview, a handwritten questionnaire can be found.