Donny Trương

Scalia Law School

As director of design and web services, I am responsible for the Scalia Law School web presence. From branding strategy to responsive design to front-end development to content management system administration, I strive to attract prospective students, enhance user experience, improve speed performance, tighten web security, and serve the law school’s community.

Responsive screenshots

Design

For the latest redesign of the Scalia Law School website, our goal was to focus on prospective students. The rotating banners showcased our exceptional location, extraordinary community, and unprecedented preparation for careers. To help potential students get the information they need upfront, we featured three action buttons (visit, request information, apply) and highlighted our programs (Flex JD, JD, LLM, JM). To show our diversity and community, we spotlighted our faculty, students, administration.

Homepage

Typography

Although Myriad Pro, designed by Carol Twombly and Robert Slimbach, is the university’s primary typeface, I chose Pelago, also designed by Slimbach, to be the primary typeface for Scalia Law School. Similar to Myriad Pro, Pelago is a workhorse sans serif. Pelago, however, has larger counters, which are more readable for text on screen, and has letterforms that are less geometric and more natural for reading than Myriad Pro.

Pelago

For headings and display texts, I selected Minion 3, also designed by Robert Slimbach. With its elegance and versatility, Minion 3 Display offers contrast yet complementary to Pelago. Minion and Pelago brought a unique, harmonic, friendly combination to the Scalia Law branding.

Minion 3

Development

When I took over the Scalia Law’s main website in 2011, it was powered by MODX Evolution and hosted on a dedicated server at GoDaddy. Within the first three months on the job, I redesigned the entire website from scratch. I restructured the HTML, created the entire new CSS architecture from the ground up, and modified MODX templates. I made the layout responsive and brought more editorial designs to the pages. Working with an independent web developer in 2017, we upgraded to MODX Revolution and moved to a more powerful dedicated server. In late 2020, I worked closely with the team behind MODX to migrate the Scalia Law School website to MODX Cloud.

Renaming & Rebranding

When George Mason University School of Law renamed after Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, the Dean of the law school entrusted me with the design of the new visual identity. He wanted the new identity to be distinctive for the law school and to reflect the brand of the university. Because the requirement was to be consistent with the university, I simplified and unified the branding experience based on existing design. The new logo must be scalable, flexible, and usable in various situations and applications.

new logo green new logo white new logo gray
new logo green horizontal new logo white horizontal

Typography

Although Myriad Pro, designed by Carol Twombly and Robert Slimbach, had been chosen as the university’s primary typeface, I selected Pelago, designed by Slimbach, to be the primary typeface for Scalia Law. Similar to Myriad Pro, Pelago is a workhorse sans serif. Pelago, however, has larger counters, which are more readable for text on screen. Pelago’s letterforms are less geometric and more natural for reading than Myriad Pro.

Pelago

While Pelago is ideal for reading text, it lacks the extensive family that Myriad Pro has. With 40 fonts, Myriad Pro can be used in any circumstance; therefore, it is still a highly flexible typeface for big, bold, expressive display communications. Set in headings, Myriad Pro Condensed is a perfect complementary to Pelago’s text.

Myriad Pro

Website

In the latest redesign, I worked closely with the deans to support the school’s new vision: “Learn. Challenge. Lead.”

Responsive screenshots

To strengthen the brand, I incorporated larger type, richer colors, and bolder visual elements. The editorial pages (location, faculty, community, and careers) used heavy weights and colors to integrate typography with photography.

Editorial Design

Tagline

The tagline, “Learn. Challenge. Lead,” was set in Myriad Pro Black Condensed for maximum impact. For color choices, white was selected for “Learn” because white associates with pure. When students come to Scalia Law School their minds are pure and ready to learn. Orange was selected for “Challenge” because the bright color radiates energy and stimulation. Students are here to learn and to challenge. Gold was selected for “Lead” because it is the color of success, achievement, and triumph. Students will be ready to lead once they go into the real world.

Learn. Challenge. Lead

Banners

In addition to digital design, I created print materials including banners, brochures, invitations, and signages. For examples, these typographic retractable banner stands were designed to display throughout the building.

Retractable banner stand Retractable banner stand

Scalia Law Sites

Scalia Law Sites

In addition to the Scalia Law School main website, I launched Scalia Law Sites, which is a network of websites powered by WordPress Multisite, in 2017. The goal was to provide anyone from the law school community to have a web presence. From academic centers and institutes to faculty members to student organizations to exclusive contents (intranets) to special promotions, the Scalia Law Sites networking is hosting over 40 sites. Hosted by WP Engine, the network has been scaling well. I have not encountered any issues across all of our sites.