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Brightening Victoria’s cultural landscape with an extraordinary global event

  • Festival & Events
  • Web Development
  • Visual Design
  • Wordpress

How do you showcase the creative heart of a city on the world stage?

For one night only each year, from dusk till dawn, local, national and international artists, musicians and performers take to Melbourne’s streets, parklands, laneways, public spaces and cultural institutions in an all-night celebration of culture and creativity.

From Saint Petersburg to Tel Aviv, Montreal to Lima, this global event has been adopted and adapted around the globe, with Melbourne, Australia’s cultural capital first hosting the event in 2013.

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Now a key cultural event on the Australian calendar, White Night sees an average of 500,000 people attend each year. Off the back of the successes of White Night Melbourne, White Night Ballarat was also launched in 2017.

With Visit Victoria at the helm of the project, Calico was a natural fit. Our long-term working partnership with some of Victoria’s largest and most acclaimed attractions and events made us the ideal cultural and professional fit for this extraordinary project.

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Making a big event even bigger

We needed to deliver a highly engaging digital experience that was as creative and captivating as the event itself – an online reflection of what audiences could expect on the ground.

It needed to be easily integrated across all platforms, whether through the website, EDM, video or social media channels, and be responsive across all devices, providing White Night with a unique, yet consistent experience that could be readily accessed at every point of the customer journey.

As White Night is now a well established Melbourne event, there was also a strong emphasis on attracting new audiences from interstate as well as internationally, increasing visitors to both the event and to Victoria as a holiday destination. 

As the event takes place across a wide geographic area, an intuitive navigational experience was requested to fuel discovery, keep the audience engaged and help the event to run as smoothly as possible. 

All of this had to work in unison to cement the idea that White Night is an unmissable event in Victoria’s cultural landscape.

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From idle browsing to active planning

To reflect the visceral and engaging experience of the event itself, the site was developed to be a dynamic combination of modern visual design, animation, photography, and video, to demand attention and delight users. 

Rapid wireframing and prototyping were used to test various design approaches, ensuring the final result was the most intuitive and audience-appropriate version of the site.

The backbone of the site was a bolstered program guide, with each exhibit forming its own "hub" that integrated behind-the-scenes information, impressive imagery and video, and engaging written content. Artists were given an online stage to showcase their work and foster further connection with the audience. 

To help more people find the exhibits that mattered to them, filters were added to the guide based on location, category, or need (e.g. family friendly), while “suggested” events and curated itineraries offered complete, off-the-shelf experiences for those that needed more guidance to get them to the event. 

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To capture visitors from beyond the bounds of Melbourne, we built a solid SEO foundation to assist with site discovery and ensure an engaging first experience for newcomers. We then integrated an accommodation and airline booking widget within the site to allow inspiration to instantly become reality. 

On the night itself, we prioritised the information the user needed to know – less “inspirational” content and more wayfinding assistance. We used a Google API to craft an interactive map that helped users find their way between exhibits, as well as ensuring they could quickly find practical locations such as emergency services, amenities and food.

For ease of use in the lead up to the event and beyond, we implemented an intuitive and easy to use CMS (Wordpress), ensuring the client could confidently navigate site-wide edits and updates to content, no matter their HTML knowledge.

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From unaware to event advocates

By constantly keeping the customer lifecycle front of mind during the development process, we were able to harness the emotional engagement a visitor has with White Night and meet them wherever they were on their journey. 

We turned idle browsing into active planning and attendance, providing the ability to research and plan at home, while also being able to access the information they needed while on the ground at the event, without any disruption to the digital experience.

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Interstate and international visitors can now better engage with the event due to the removal of multiple logistics barriers, resulting in far-reaching benefits for Visit Victoria beyond the event of White Night itself. 

The culmination of this project is an outstanding digital experience that marries with the live event itself. Satisfied customers are created from the very first click, and when paired with a positive experience at the event itself, they are turned into lifetime advocates for White Night in the future.

Visit the White Night site now to discover the full experience Calico developed. 

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