New Town Films

March, 2016

New Town Films is a boutique film and television production company, started by actor Bryan Brown in 1983, With the simple philosophy ‘If you own it, They can’t tell you that you can’t be in it.’

Kevin Beck talks to project lead Will McLean about well designed fonts and simplicity in design.

Who are New Town Films? Why did they want a new site?

New Town Films are a boutique production company founded by Australian actor Bryan Brown. They had a site built many years ago with a lot of text and very little imagery. Bryan wanted a new site that would serve as a more engaging archive of the productions. The site is not a selling tool, which is a nice change. This meant we could just focus on creating the most engaging archive of productions possible.

There is no navigation menu? Why?

When working on the designs for the site we did include a navigation menu however it only had a few items in it - home, about, projects, contact. One of our design philosophies is ‘less is more’, so in keeping with that we asked ourselves if it was really necessary. The site was ALL about the projects so the homepage served as the projects archive. At the end of each project was a grid of all the rest of the projects too so it is always easy to browse the projects whatever page you are on. This also encourages users to browse the content. The home page can always be linked to from the logo, as is standard practice on the web these days. The contact page has an email, but that is always in the footer. The only link that might be necessary was the about page but we just put that in the footer as well. That way it is always available. So we got rid of of an unnecessary element - the navigation menu - and the site is a better experience for it.

The interviews with Bryan Brown are interesting. Can you tell us more about them?

When Bryan talks about making films it sounds as if he is doing something as simple and easy as borrowing his mate’s lawn mower. That chat just had to be included. Synopses and cast lists are fine, but to hear the producer discuss the chance encounters and relationships that actually led to the film being made is of far greater interest to us and hopefully to others. This I think is the most interesting part of the site. I hope to build on these in the next stage by asking Bryan to discuss themes within his films. Now the framework is there it will be easy to add to.

The heading font is interesting, what is it?

Yes, that font is cool. It is Visuelt Black by Colophon. I love the ink trap. One of the designers here, Rifke Sadleir, explained to me that they were originally put into those very acute gaps in the letters so that when printing the ink would flood in and leave a perfect join as opposed to blotching. Who’d have thought it? They train the designers very well at Brighton University. It is really easy to design and build with a quality designed font. The designs do themselves. And Colophon always makes great fonts. We use their fonts almost exclusively.

Tell me about simplicity within the design of websites.

Simplicity within design is, in my opinion, where you start to earn your worth as a designer. Simplicity to me equals clarity. Because this site is so clear in its purpose users are instantly engaged with its content. They are not distracted by any design elements that might encroach on the imagery and videos. Some designers love ornament and I do believe that this has its place, however, I think as a studio you need to pick a direction or philosophy and stick to it. That way your clients know what to expect and the members of the studio have a framework within which to carry out their design work. Less is more is our chosen philosophy and I love making work under that guiding principle.

Does that simplicity help with the longevity of site design?

Yes, it does greatly. In our experience here at Multiple States avoiding ornament greatly adds to the longevity of a design. You look at the work of Dieter Rams you can see that in action. Good design is timeless. As Rams says in his Ten Principles for Good Design: “Good design is long-lasting - It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. “