Redesign Launches Laaker’s New Information Design Efforts

Editor’s Note

Check out a case study of the new site design in the Assorted Works section to see images and learn more.

(New York City) – After years of visual stagnation, Def Jam Recordings had it’s online ride "pimped" by Micah Laaker and the Fearless Concepts’ creative and development teams.

Known as the home of hip-hop’s earliest stars (such as LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Slick Rick, and Public Enemy), Def Jam Recordings has maintained its brand value of being the definitive hip-hop recording label. Now featuring stars such as Method Man, Ghostface, Jay-Z (via Roc-a-fella Records), and Ja Rule (courtesy of The Inc. Records), the label continues to define where the rap industry is heading. Unfortunately, the label’s website was not communicating the prestige of the music powerhouse.

Leading the development of the information architecture and visual design efforts for the site, Laaker focused on moving the music label’s content to the forefront of the site’s pages while providing a visual framework that suggested "street elegance." Instead of the grafitti-laden imagery and "blinged-out" decoration adorning other hip-hop sites, the new site was designed from day one to subtley suggest Def Jam’s DJ culture while being framed in a sophisticated, platinum-level grid structure. The design is also the cornerstone of Laaker’s focus on information design, serving as a strong example of creating a usable and useful resource for the entertainment industry.

Using the site’s users’ feedback to help guide content naming, organization, and design approach, Laaker and his group developed an entirely new website for the label featuring an integrated storefront, a user polling system, an entertainment/lifestyle focus, and integrated community features. Launched on Thursday, September 16th, the site now enters development for considerably more extensive community features.


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