By Ned Hayes and Billy Thomas

OLY ARTS celebrates its fourth anniversary of publication and first full year of glossy magazine format with a new online site relaunch. The redesigned site went live July 9 and has already garnered a significant increase in online and mobile readership throughout three Northwest counties, with over 25,000 monthly readers now accessing OLY ARTS content online and in print.

Over the last year, the media organization moved from founder Ned Hayes to new publisher and editor in chief Billy Thomas, formerly of The Olympian and The Washington Center for the Performing Arts. During Thomas’ tenure, the magazine has rapidly shifted from a newsprint quarterly into a professional magazine format published on a regular cadence six times a year. Thomas’ leadership has doubled readership in print and online and also doubled advertising sales numbers.

The site redesign is the natural evolution, says Thomas, in the publication’s next stage of growth as an artistic platform for the arts. “As the region’s leading mutliplatform arts publication, we needed to become more artistic ourselves,” he explained. “This was our chance to put a greater focus on design and content. I hope that this new site is a stronger showcase for the world-class arts and culture that we feature.”

The relaunched website has been praised by local arts leaders, including arts advocate and Olympia mayor Cheryl Selby. “OLY ARTS has greatly enhanced the profile of our local arts and cultural assets, not only in Olympia but in the surrounding region as well,” said Selby. “I’m happy to see the publication continue to grow.”

The new OLY ARTS website includes significant user-experience enhancements, including a modern look, greater ease of navigation and better accessibility for all types of readers. As online publications have matured and readers’ expectations have changed, professional publications have gradually moved to a magazine-style online presence. This style emphasizes negative space, more visual photography and more creative font choices, along with re-flowing content that rapidly adapts to mobile reading. OLY ARTS accelerated ahead in embracing these significant online design trends with this relaunch.

OLY ARTS‘ founder, Ned Hayes, applauded the recent changes. “I am so excited to see all the wonderful ways in which OLY ARTS continues to grow its audience and its artistic vision under the leadership of Billy Thomas,” said Hayes. “I’m glad to know that this critical voice of the arts community continues to thrive in volume and readership and continues to grow in new directions in the arts community.”

While the design of the website has been updated and modernized, the exclusive and in-depth content that readers have come to expect from the publication will remain the same. Editor emeritus Christian Carvajal said, “I take enormous pride in writing and copyediting for OLY ARTS. For three years I’ve had the wonderful job of getting to know and appreciate the wealth of creative talent we enjoy right here in our own backyard. The sky’s the limit for arts and entertainment in Thurston County.”

LEFT: The original homepage design for OLY ARTS.
RIGHT: The newly redesigned homepage.