Cannes Lions Festival Archive

for Ascential PLC

  • The world's largest festival of creativity
  • Showcase for over 400,000 entries
  • Product for the world's leading agencies

Following our ground-up reimagining of the Archive for the 2014 festival, in 2015 we delivered a host of interface and performance enhancements to this data-driven subscriber product for the creative industry.

Reimagining an archive for the world’s biggest festival of creativity

The Cannes Lion Festival is the longest running festival of creativity in the world, spanning 60 years and attracting over 11,000 delegates from 90 countries to the festival each year. Recent years have seen over 35,000 creative entries from agencies hoping to walk away with a prestigious Lion award, and the Cannes Lions Archive is the only way to browse every entry since 2001.

The Archive is a high value subscription product, with customers paying a premium for access to Cannes Lion’s data as a source of inspiration for their own creative teams. The latest evolution of the product needed to exceed the expectations of an industry focused on excellence in brand experience.

Makemedia reimagined the user experience, visual design, and technical architecture from the ground up.

Our relationship with Cannes Lions started in early 2014 when the team approached Makemedia to overhaul the existing archive. We reimagined the user experience, visual design, and technical architecture from the ground up in time for June’s festival. The outcome was a high quality experience to build upon with a roadmap of improvements to follow in 2015.

Cannes Lions Workshop

Our 2015 brief built on the well-received foundations we had put in place 12 months earlier. Product managers at Top Right Group tasked Makemedia with taking performance to the next level, and establishing a look and feel more in line with the recently refreshed brand. More could be done to improve the experience on smaller screens, of particular importance for delegates on the move during festival week.

Brand alignment

The Cannes Lions Festival celebrates the finest creative for the biggest brands in the world. The Archive’s own brand needed to demonstrate the same level of quality and consistency as the work they showcase.


We worked closely with the Cannes Lions design team to expand their refreshed brand guidelines to work across a digital product. Using the prototype of the improved product as reference, we tackled the brand application across every component of the updated UI, creating a cohesive look and feel which expanded on the core brand.

We delivered a pattern library of interface components, which would become the living building blocks for this development and future design work.

A fast, responsive experience

The Cannes Lions Archive is a powerful digital product, providing instant access to over 400,000 creative entries through it’s search. These entries includes video, audio, hi-resolution images and text to support each piece of creative work.

Harnessing Makemedia’s SmartCache technology, we are able to serve content instantly to Cannes Lions subscribers.

Having carefully researched the technical profile of Cannes Lions Archive customers, we were in a position to take advantage of a technology called Angular – a framework from Google used to develop fast digital products in the form of Single Page Applications. Harnessing this technology would enable us to develop a product which felt seamless across devices, using Makemedia’s SmartCache technology to serve content instantly.

The Cannes Lions Archive needs to perform well across all devices, particularly during the festival itself when connection speeds can be unreliable. To ensure a consistent experience across a range of screens, Cannes Lions was designed from the mobile experience up to work responsively; adapting the experience to best suit the capabilities of the subscriber’s device.


At Makemedia all of our work is responsive by default; we have been delivering large-scale responsive products since the launch of Infrastructure Journal in 2011.

Our relationship with Cannes Lions has seen uplift in subscriber retention, and improved perception of the Archive brand both internally and at the festival.

Want to explore how we could bring success to your digital product? Learn how we work, or get in touch with our team of experts.

Banner photo credit – Cannes Lions

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