NYU Research Center
The emerging field of social neuroscience is seen as being the new frontier of social psychological research within the academic community. The research integrates ideas and methods from psychology, neuroscience, and related fields to address a wide range of questions about cognition, emotion and behavior as they relate to a broad range of social processes.
The Center for Social Neuroscience was established this year to pull together disparate research groups across the field and to serve as a hub for learning and education about the research. It aims to become the leading light of the field, a touchstone for professors and students both inside and outside it, and currently brings together internationally recognized scholars and scientists, postdoctoral fellow and students.
To establish the Center as being at the forefront of this exciting new field of research, it was decided that the website had to fulfill three functions. Firstly, it had to be an research resource for academics and other interested people. Secondly, it had to build interest in the field itself, and in the related events and opportunities to participate organized by the Center and New York University. Lastly, it had to feel different to the standard academic website, showing it as the youthful, energetic and dynamic area of research that it is.
To achieve this, I created a unique layout and structure for the site that allowed the viewers attention to always remain focussed on the content itself through use of a 'hidden' navigation system which appears only when called. I also decided to not have any unnecessary imagery as it would only prove distracting to the content, allowing the typography to do all the work of carrying the visual interest.
The type is a mix of Gotham and Mercury, two very contemporary typefaces which pair beautifully to show both the vitality of the Center alongside its more serious research side. I also introduced an eye-catching color palette of orange, green, purple and grey, speaking to the youth and experience of the Center simultaneously.
As there are a great number of topics in each section, and each with extensive sub-information, I created the design around the use of java-script drop-downs to allow the viewer to easily grasp the content of each page and get to whatever aspect interested him most. It also engages the viewer to interact with the content itself, as they have to actively click on each topic to learn more, rather than passively scrolling down what would have been an extremely long page.
Lastly, I drew a custom background pattern for the site, based on the synapses of the brain, a signature symbol of the field of social neuroscience. This unique pattern further differentiates the site while setting a nice tone for the content with its highly organic and flowing lines.