Royal College of Art

Wagtail powers the world’s leading art and design university

Paul Vetch

Strategy Director 25 Aug 2016 2 min read


We were pretty chuffed to be appointed by the Royal College of Art (RCA) to oversee their website redevelopment. They wanted to reflect the vibrant life of their pre-eminent school and the site needed to be valuable resource for internal staff and students, as well as a visually striking outward-facing platform to promote their inspiring work.

Royal College of Art
Royal College of Art homepage


After analysis and trials of existing platforms, in partnership with the RCA, we found that nothing out there was quite the right match for what we needed. So we took the rather exciting decision to develop our own open source content management system, Wagtail. Innovative, creative and functional, Wagtail ended up being the perfect fit for the project.

Visual design was provided by Neville Brody’s Research Studios and we carried out UX design and front end development.

"Torchbox have provided an excellent service to the Royal College of Art. Over the three years we've worked with them, they have provided UX services, built and developed a brand new application for our main website and CMS (launched as the open-source Wagtail), maintained our ongoing website development, trained staff, built a standalone site for our most prominent fundraising project, and are currently building a new application for our intranet."

Octavia Reeve, Senior Publishing Manager, Royal College of Art

Content Strategy

Collaboration was key to content strategy. Programme pages such as the School of Architecture showcase news and features alongside staff profiles and resources to encourage cross-programme fertilisation. Students can even use the Wagtail CMS to submit their own blog posts for moderation.

Royal College of Art
Royal College of Art School of Architecture page


The project culminated in a full series of wireframes for desktop, tablet and mobile. We elected to use 'push state' to dynamically load pages within pages. News content opens in a lightbox that does not navigate the user away from the page and retains the context of the visit, using pjax to create page urls.

"Torchbox are helpful, efficient, approachable, have excellent project-management practices, and provide creative solutions to complex communication problems."

Octavia Reeve, Senior Publishing Manager, Royal College of Art

Interested in finding out more?

Take a look at our Wagtail CMS development service page or learn about our work with the world's leading universities and colleges.

Paul Vetch

Strategy Director 25 Aug 2016 2 min read

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