NYU: Designing the digital face of a global university

One of the world’s premier universities, New York University currently educates nearly 60,000 students across the globe. Founded in 1831, NYU is renowned for its rigorous and acclaimed academic programs, particularly in law, business, and media arts.

As NYU deepened its footprint worldwide, it needed a website that reflected its status as a global research university. NYU engaged BFM with a singular ask: develop an engaging homepage and design system that powerfully represented the NYU brand and quickly drew users into the site.

The Challenge

The NYU website generated significant traffic, but the NYU team felt the front page was cluttered and could be difficult to navigate.

To say NYU has a lot going on is an understatement. Tens of thousands of students are studying across an array of campuses, colleges, and schools while academics carry out cutting-edge research. The homepage needed to communicate a sense of the activity, achievements, and intellectual energy of NYU worldwide, without confusing or overwhelming the user.

NYU Website Design by BFM

The Approach

Our team approached the NYU homepage with a focus on the needs of key audiences, creating a page that balanced intelligent media integration with engaging, human-centric design.

Atomic Design NYC

Atomic Design

With a site as large and dynamic as NYU’s, it was impossible to plan in advance for every possible page. We solved this problem by creating a detailed and robust atomic design system, including everything from banners to buttons, galleries, alerts, maps, and forms – enabling NYU to quickly develop pages that were consistent, on-brand, and looked great.

A Sense of Welcome

The homepage itself needed to welcome users not just to the website, but to the university itself. Our page uses an immersive, above-the-fold image to engage users and celebrate students, the university experience, and, of course, New York City and other campuses worldwide.

NYU Mobile Website
NYU Homepage

Improved Navigation

Our information architects went to work to make sure the pathways from the homepage into the website were clear, sensible, and easy for users to understand.

The new homepage added an “All NYU” tab, which allowed students studying (or planning to study) at NYU campuses around the world to quickly and easily get information relevant to them.

A Fresh Experience

We knew it was critical to communicate the activity, innovation, and research of NYU, and to give space to all the campuses and schools involved. Our solution to this challenge was a scrolling media grid that showcased a variety of content – from social posts, to press releases and important university information – in a single stream that showed the variety of campus life.

NYU Fresh Design


The NYU homepage has become gateway this world-class institution deserves, providing all visitors a more engaging, more experiential entry-point into the rest of the website and strengthening the NYU brand.

New NYU website design