Editor’s note: As of 2017, we’ve closed down our online art gallery. Feel free to read through this post anyway to get ideas, inspiration, and more.
As many of you know, since April of this year I’ve been working with about 30 artists to create an online art gallery for curated, original artwork. This has been a slow process—it’s actually taken about a month longer than expected—but finally I have some good news:
The bugs have been ironed out, there’s nothing left to be done but polish up a few rough corners, and we’re officially launching next week! (Cue wild applause!)
I’ll be honest here, I MAY be a bit loopy from staring at shipping-logic code for the past week, so let’s just get into a sneak peek, shall we? :) Click the images to view them larger, and I apologize for the blurred logo. . . gotta save some secrets for the launch!
For those of you interested in what’s under the hood, the gallery will be running on Shopify, an online “storefront” solution that offers a variety of free and paid templates, as well as potential for lots of aftermarket customization (which was definitely needed for our art gallery).
I used a paid template as my starting point, and then modified it extensively, both the design and the code, including, among other things, an easy-to-use filtering system that makes browsing the artwork both simple and intuitive.
All artwork in the gallery is categorized by tags, which allows visitors to drill down by multiple search requirements—for example, if you select “Impressionist,” “Landscapes,” and “Yellow” you’ll see an entirely different set of results than if you clicked on “Abstract,” “People & Figures,” and “Under $250.”
This is all fairly standard stuff for big e-commerce sites (they’ve got plenty of money to throw around, after all) but it would typically be a little bit out of reach for individual artists, so I’m very happy that we were able to make it happen—and on a MUCH smaller budget, I might add.
Other nice features of the gallery include a quick-search bar, integration with MailChimp (email marketing will play an important role in how we market our artists) and quite a bit of built-in SEO optimization that should help buyers find us easily via the search engines.
The paid template I started out with was designed to work with all different sizes of devices, so this gallery will look great on phones, tablets, you name it.
It’s funny the things you learn when working on a project like this. . . for example, one of the biggest problems to overcome when creating an art gallery with built-in payment processing is figuring out how to include semi-accurate shipping prices for each artwork.
Everything is non-standard sizes, weight varies greatly, and not only is the artwork being shipped from various locations all around the world, it may also be shipped to any location around the world.
Luckily, all the artists have been great to work with, and we’ve been able to settle on a system of mostly flat-rate fees, with some flexibility for larger artworks that cost more to ship. And at least for a few days now, the shipping system seems to be free of bugs—knock on wood!
(By the way, if you’re curious. . . so far we have one artist in Finland, another in Germany, a few in Canada, two in the UK, and quite a few spread throughout the fifty states!)
We won’t be adding anymore artists before the launch, but we do plan on adding more after, so please feel free to submit an application around the end of September if you’d like to join us.
I’ll wrap up this sneak peak with a few more pics, but I definitely had a blast designing the “perfect” online gallery. :) More than that, I can’t wait to turn it into a fantastic place for artists to sell art online—and for collectors to find the perfect art for them.
Stay tuned for more announcements and a launch date, coming next week!