We recently architected, designed, and helped launch—with our friends at the Seattle Symphony and our technology partner BlueTube—a new web presence for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. The site boasts lots of useful features (including a fully responsive design), but one of my favorites is its unconventional approach to performer imagery.

Most site designs demand that images be cropped to specific pixel dimensions for use in specific contexts. This allows for  orderly grids and reduces unexpected interactions. For organizations like symphonies that regularly host guest artists (artists who need to be promoted, and usually on the home page feature area), the fixed pixel proposition poses some serious challenges. Most guest artists provide artful, even dramatic publicity photos. Almost none, however, provide their images within the correct specifications. Marketing departments usually end up doing some awkward cropping—or some desperate background cloning—to get the images to work in their fixed dimension containers.

For the Seattle Symphony, we devised an approach that makes a virtue of this perennial challenge. Our feature carousel (and the individual event detail listings) embraces the varied dimensions of artists’ photos, leveraging their lack of conformity to add variety and spaciousness to the home page and across the site.

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Embrace variety! Accept the images as the come!

To see the whole site, visit Seattle Symphony.org.