Children’s author Will Gatti came to us with an unusual request. He needed a website: that much was straightforward. But within this site it was important somehow to distinguish between his two different pen-names (Will Gatti and Daniel Finn), since each has a slightly different style and target audience. Will wanted, if possible, somehow to capture the distinct identity of each visually. Yet he certainly didn’t want two separate websites, as that might seem disingenuous about the fact that there is only one writer. So, how could we dignify these two distinct identities, while still presenting just the one overall real writer?
What we did
Two identities, two aesthetics
Our solution was to create two distinct graphical styles – one for each author – so that the site can be shown with either style but without any change in the underlying content. So, if you visit willgatti.co.uk, you see the pages in the Will Gatti style – white background with coloured illustrations (drawn specially for the site by Tom Smith). If you visit daniel-finn.co.uk, you see it in the Daniel Finn style: green background with the same illustrations in white outline.
Making it intuitive
Once you are on the site, prominent graphical buttons at the top of the page give the visitor an immediate link to the alter ego, and clicking on one of these buttons switches the style via a smooth, slick animation and without reloading the page.
Making it appropriate… and logical
What’s more, we worked with Will on the content and text itself in order to be very forward and clear about the dual-identity structure, and at the same time exploit this quirk to add an extra dimension of fun to the site. So, on the homepage the two identities are presently very explicitly alongside one another: “my real name is Will Gatti … my other name is Daniel Finn”; on the About Me page we reiterate the split by saying “Both of me are an author”.
The exception that permits the rule
The one page which shows different content depending on whether you are looking at the Will Gatti or the Daniel Finn style is, of course ‘My Books’, which only shows the books by the current author. If you switch identities on this page, instead of seeing the smooth fade, you’ll be taken immediately to the other author’s books via regular page reload.
The site is built as a bespoke WordPress theme, which allows us to fully separate the design and programming from the content. This means that Will can add books, news items and make changes easily, and without having to worry about any of the technicalities associated with the dual identity structure.