Website for Composer Theo Verbey

Theo Verbey Foundation · 2020/2021
web design · graphic design

Theo Verbey was a well-known Dutch contemporary classical music composer. After his passing in 2019, a foundation was started in his name to preserve his legacy and to keep his work accessible to new music students and concert programmers alike. A first step towards this was redesigning the website

In his music, Theo was inspired by fractals and mathematics, using arrays of numbers to inform his arrangements. An example of fractals is visible in The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai, an artwork that was beloved by Theo as well. This artwork formed the basis for the website’s color scheme.

In appearance, the website was meant to reflect Theo as a person: clear, deliberate, refined and a bit playful. Because many pages mostly consisted of textual content, variation in alignment and overlapping elements are used to introduce an element of playfulness to the design.

Theo’s handwriting was beautiful and unique. The Foundation had a strong wish to keep the website personal, so we decided to use his signature as the website’s logo, and use a handwritten score of his for background elements.

A particularly important page of the website was the Compositions page: a starting point for anyone looking to get an overview of Theo’s work, and learn more about specific compositions. Search and filter functionality enable the website’s visitor to quickly find the composition they are looking for, while the page also allows for browsing.

The page of a single composition was designed to be a space where many kinds of information could be united: information on the composition, recordings and videos of the piece being played, reviews and press quotes about the work, and personal notes from Theo. Theo has written a lot about his thoughts and the process that went into making these compositions. Making these notes stand out on the composition page provides the visitor with a sense of the composition’s context.

Nathalie Nieuwhof