The new Chipping Norton Literary Festival website

Working with the festival team has been a great privilege over the past few months. The festival has quickly grown since 2012 into one of the best and unique events on the literary calendar, using iconic local locations (such as The Theatre) and attracting some of the biggest names in literature.

Here’s the festival site:

The committee approached me to update their existing website both from a brand and technical perspective. Another local agency, mark-making*, were working on a super new identity. As a previous attendee of festival events it felt the natural fit to work and support a positive local event that raises the profile of the town for the right reasons.


After assessing the old site, it was quickly apparent that there was a lot of content, and a lot of content related to other content. Authors are arguably the headline attraction, but in the cold light of structure actually one element in the system.

In this system, Events are what makes everything tick. Each Event can have multiple Authors and Authors can have multiple Events. Events also have a date and time, not to mention sponsors. Sponsors also can sponsor multiple Events and have their own set of biographies, logos and urls. Events have a type. Events have prices. Events have Venues, and in turn, Venues have their own place in the system. Add to all this, all the standard SEO and tagging tools you would expect from a modern CMS.

Building a comprehensive system

After massive success with SOFII and White Post Farm, Craft CMS was the obvious choice to build the ultimate festival events system. We can build complex multiple relationships with simple section from specified lists. Then drag and drop to reorder.

A blog with multiple authors and content editors also has the ability to produce complex long-form content within the CMS. The same is also for a general section, where editors can create pages that don’t fit within the site structure.

Editors have complete control over page ordering and naming in the navigation, and ability to select locations with simply dropping a pin on a map.

The homepage, event and blog homepage are completely customisable with drag and drop, rather than not being tied to date or any other parameter.

Every aspect of the site from default text to asset management, replete with features for captions and photo credits - is under control of the site editors.

Lightweight and responsive

The site has been built to be as fast loading and responsive as can possibly be, no frills, no gimmicks, just a proper modern working site tailored for a great festival and managed by a hard working and dedicated team.

Conclusion, but also, to be continued…

Please enjoy the site, and see what an amazing line-up the committee has put together. See you in April!

Some kind words from Clare Mackintosh and Emma Walker

Working with Simon is a joy. He approaches every request with genuine enthusiasm, finding creative and budget-friendly solutions that work well and look great. I wouldn’t hesitate to use his services again, or to recommend him.
Working with Simon on the ChipLitFest website has been a real pleasure. Simon has effectively managed the full design and build process, developing solutions that are both well-designed and simple to use for the end-user. He has great insight into user experience and has created a site that the Festival is proud to use. This is backed up by the great feedback we have had from many users. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with Simon again and to recommend him to anyone.

Published: Next entry →

© 2005 – 2019 Simon Clayson Design Ltd

Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England. United Kingdom