Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)Department of English

The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Department of English partnered with Red Orange Studio to revamp Blackbird, an online journal spotlighting literature and the arts. The site, which is home to an award-winning national literary magazine, needed a complete redesign to a WordPress CMS and would need to align with VCU brand standards and ensure ADA compliance while enhancing user experience and establishing a unique visual appeal.

Creative Services

Website Design & Development

Red Orange Partners with VCU on WordPress Website for Literary Journal

The existing site for Blackbird was visually dated and had limited technical functionality. The VCU team had specific goals for the new Blackbird experience — they envisioned a captivating site with streamlined navigation, tailored customer journeys, and a sleek design showcasing literature and art. They aimed to integrate robust search features, offer training to student and faculty site managers, and maintain the journal’s acclaim for publishing top-tier poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and art.

UX Design Led the Transformation for VCU Blackbird

With an English professor at the helm, the VCU Blackbird team had a very clear direction – create a site that is easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing. Our web team not only spoke the same language, but they were also passionate about the vision. Together they built a site that met the technical goals, enhanced the visual design and created a more intuitive user experience. With a clean design and simple navigation, the site allows the focus to remain on the art.

“Red Orange provided detailed and site-specific video tutorials on how to use and troubleshoot our new WordPress website. Additionally, we had a training session with the team that was indispensable in helping us learn how to use WordPress and troubleshoot issues. We felt confident moving forward and refer back to the videos when we’re having trouble. We really appreciate Red Orange and their ongoing support.”

– Jessica Nelson

Training Videos Equipped the VCU Team to Maintain Blackbird

Knowing that the VCU team would be hosting and maintaining the Blackbird site, we built the site with that in mind.

Our web team provided video trainings and documentation to ensure the VCU staff and faculty were equipped to keep the site running smoothly – and to make it easy to add and train a wide range of users including students and authors.

VCU Blackbird Screenshots