Our Design Philosophy

We believe that websites are like spaces that users enter and explore. Like architects, we plan spaces that feel comfortable while meeting specific technical requirements. Like interior designers, we build an aesthetic that touches people’s emotions.

Most of our sites provide the user with some kind of action to take. Sometimes it’s to buy something, but at other times it’s to sign up for a newsletter or simply to tell a friend. We encourage whatever steps would progress the relationship between the user and our client.

Cantilever design is also uniquely tied to our development approach. We design systems, not sites. Our work is built to change and evolve over time. This is not the place for “concept“ design. We create hardworking, effective, yet gorgeous websites. Thank you for being a part of our proud history.

Samples

[TK: Add some examples of past Cantilever work and why it is Cantilever-y here]

Design Values

Results are the key

Nothing about our design matters more than the outcomes. If it’s beautiful and functional and fails to do its job, we have failed to do our jobs. Sometimes its job is abstract, perhaps too abstract to measure. We accept and embrace this ambiguity, but attempt to honor this principle regardless.

Function and form

We never betray the functional spec in order to improve the aesthetics of a site, but we also never give up on aesthetics because the spec is satisfied. We value beauty, in the abstract, because beautiful things just tend to work better. Many studios can create gorgeous, cinematic sites that are a pain to use, and the message is lost. We will never fall into that mistake.

Brand character

There is no such thing as “good design.“ Even something ugly can be right in some circumstances. We believe the level of quality of a given site design comes from the nature of the brand we are presenting. A beautiful site that does not match its brand is doomed to fail.

Simplicity

We don’t use two lines when one would work just as well. We don’t use three fonts when we could get away with two. Simplicity makes websites more approachable, faster to build, and easier to maintain. It makes a huge difference for our clients.

Accessibility

Digital Hospitality means creating opportunities for anyone to use and enjoy our work. We focus on creating gorgeous design that is also accessible to people with visual or physical impairments. This also leads us to try and keep things simple.

Modularity

We don’t build a “site“ per se, we build a system. We then use the system to construct a site. But consequently, our sites are easy to change and grow over time. Our development approach emphasizes modularity of code, and our design work should anticipate this and tailor our sites to this style of implementation.

Openness

We don’t believe in design dogma (wait, is that a dogma?). Early in our career we used to fight with clients over the “right“ way to do things. Over time we have learned that not only is that incredibly hard to pin down, but ultimately, it’s their website. We take unique amounts of responsibility and ownership, but it’s their job on the line if it doesn’t work out, not ours. We let them make mistakes if they want. We tell them it‘s a mistake and move on.

Fit and finish

We believe in the little things. Our obsessive eyes for detail are famous among our clients. One pixel matters. One shade of a color matters. We try our hardest to get it all right.

Work-life harmony

You can’t do great design work if your life is not in balance. Design work is uniquely susceptible to emotional ups and downs. Managers must be cognizant of the emotional tone of design work and should seek to create the optimal environment for designers to do their best. Designers must be conscious of their mental and emotional states and take due care to keep their work sharp.

Notable Projects

NameYearWhy NotableScreenshot
NYU-Poly Year in NYC
2010
Full-screen map concept that won a lot of our future work
Designer Pages 2.0
2011
Our first large webapp design
H&FJ CRM
2012
Our first (and only) CRM design
AMEX InsideHR
2013
Our first design for a large corporate
Rustic Pathways
2014
First of three site designs for Rustic
NuLawLab
2015
Webby-nominated webapp design
Esquire Classic
2016
Got to work with very famous brand
Spark+Echo
2017
Most beautiful online bible around
Bipartisan Policy Center
2018
Most ambitious size of site ever