Photo of magazine feature article by Christina Allan.
A project that CAMD student Christina Allan, who is studying Interaction Design, worked on while on co-op at Ronik last year was recently recognized in Communication Arts magazine. The project was for Terminal 4 (T4), the only privately operated terminal in the United States, located at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York City. T4 had recently undergone a rebrand, and needed a new digital presence that was functional and helpful for both travelers and T4’s brand management efforts. This is where Christina and the team at Ronik came in, designing a website from scratch with advanced features like a flight tracker and interactive terminal map. The experience was an opportunity for Christina to work on a real-world project from beginning to end, and create something tangible that would have a truly positive impact on the client. To make the whole experience even more special, she worked alongside three Northeastern alumni, Milan Moffat, AMD ’15 and Jared Pike, AMD ‘16, both designers at Ronik, as well as Mark Catalano, CCIS ’08, the digital studio’s Managing Director and Co-Founder.
“The Terminal 4 project at JFK was definitely the most involved project during my time at Ronik, and I got to see it through from the beginning until we handed off the designs to our developers,” said Christina “On my first day of co-op, I started by writing a creative brief that we presented to the client that outlined our goals for the project as well as our audience and any open questions we might want to refer back to during the design process. I was familiar with writing creative briefs after leading two projects at Scout.”
After the initial stage of briefing the client, Christina worked closely with Milan (CAMD alumnus) to design and conduct a survey about the way that people travel in order to refine their audience, which they broke down into specific types of travelers (those traveling with children, special needs, on an international flight, and more). This way, anyone coming into the T4 site would immediately feel that their needs were being anticipated and met.
Christina and Milan then took all of their research data and began the wireframing phase of the project, which focused on figuring out how to organize the volume of information that would be necessary on the website.
“In our research, we found that travelers have so many questions that they want quick answers to, and we wanted to help them find any answer they might need,” Christina said. “And since most of the existing Terminal 4 site was going to be restructured, it felt as though we were starting with a clean slate in this phase, which was really exciting.”
Once the wireframes were approved, Christina and the Ronik team started coming up with ideas for the rest of the site’s pages, using T4’s new colors, fonts, photos, and other brand items that were provided by Base. Along with Jared (CAMD alumnus), Christina and Milan created a few distinct style directions for the client to choose from, and used the feedback from those to start designing the rest.
“Then, as the end of my co-op neared and we were starting to finish up this project, I took a Friday to travel around Manhattan and photograph the places that we’d included in the NYC Guide page, which was a ‘delight’ feature of the site and one of my personal favorites,” explained Christina. “The brand photographs could be used for some parts, but we’d highlighted some sights that we didn’t have photos for. I started the morning at the Guggenheim Museum and worked my way down to Soho by about 5 p.m. I walked something like 12 miles, and got pictures for Broadway, The High Line, The New York Public Library, the Guggenheim, Carnegie Hall, Soho, as well as a few assorted subway and city photos that we used on other pages throughout the site. Adding these into pages that we’d been using placeholder images on felt like the finishing touches for me.”
While her work on the Terminal 4 project was certainly a highlight, Christina worked on a handful of other projects and a few internal ones, including a fun set of stickers they released for iMessage on Valentine’s Day. With Ronik being a small firm, there was always something new to work on, and Christina had the chance to contribute to branding, illustration, data visualization, and web design projects.
“Everyone at Ronik shared similar mindsets- we all loved to learn and work hard to produce amazing work,” Christina concluded. “My time there was the best first co-op I could have asked for, and the fact that such a large portion of the company was Northeastern grads played a huge role in creating an environment that challenged me but also helped me feel at home.”
Christina is now the Product Design co-op at Drift, and is excited to be back in Boston!