automatic design awards logo and kit logo on a grey background

Interview with Automattic Design Award winner for ‘Best Site’: Kit

For the ultimate post in our three-part blog series on the Automattic Design Awards, we’re speaking to the winner of ‘Best Site’, Peter van Grieken, the designer behind Kit.


headshot of Peter van Grieken

Peter van Grieken is the founder of Frozen Rockets and is an inclusive UX designer. He specialises in making sites that will be accessible for people with physical and cognitive impairments.

KIT Royal Tropical Institute, is an independent centre of expertise and education for sustainable development. Their work focuses on health care, gender economic development and intercultural cooperation.

Here is what Peter had to say when we asked him about Kit’s design process, the challenges it brought and his ‘Best Site’ win.



screenshot of Kit's yellow homepage
Would you say that there was a particular part of the design process that you enjoyed the most and had a bit more fun creating?

Well for me, I really enjoyed creating what it ended up being. I loved collaborating with the team and with the client [Kit]. I was open to their input and wanted to make sure that everyone was on the same page.

Coming from an accessibility background and in the past I’ve worked with some clients who maybe haven’t taken that so seriously. But Kit did. They wanted to make sure that their site did everything that would make it the most accessible, especially when you consider the work they do as an organisation. So that was fun. It was fun trying different things out and seeing what we could make of it.

On the Automattic Design Awards blog, it says that Kit incorporates 7 sites into 1 – that’s incredible. Would you say that doing that was one of the most challenging things you had to do?

I mean, it was a pretty ambitious project from the start. Kit used to be a multisite so we had to migrate everything into one. There was also a lot of existing content which needed to be migrated over. So that was one of the biggest challenges, migrating things to the new site whilst it was still being built.

How long would you say it took to complete the whole process and make Kit into what it is now?

Well in April, Kit came to me and said that they were rebranding and needed a new website that would fit with their new branding guidelines. The new site also had to be fully accessible to make it usable for everyone. We did lots of research and ran lots of analysis, just comparing the stats with their old site. I’d say that in June was when we started playing around with Gutenberg. And in October we got the wireframe together to make sure that it made sense and fitted with their guidelines. And before we knew it, it was time to submit the final project to the Automattic Design Awards.

So Gutenberg wasn’t loved by everyone – how did you find it?

Well as a designer, I didn’t really interact with Gutenberg from a design perspective. It was mainly Luc, the developer who I was working with for this project, who came into contact with it more than I did. He also had a bit of experience with it already which was good. I think using Gutenberg did come with some challenges but we decided to stick with it despite all of it’s updates.

Automattic said the jury was unanimous, Kit was a clear winner! What did it mean to you to be called the winner for ‘Best Site’?

It was crazy! We knew what we did was pretty good. I mean, it fitted the Automattic Design Award criterias, in terms of that it was accessible and Gutenberg ready. But I mean it’s the world of WordPress we’re talking about here. It’s not like it’s a niche product that nobody knows about so, I was baffled that I won! Especially when you consider who the judges were!


We’d like to thank Peter for chatting with us. And, again thanks to the other 2 winners who took the time to speak with us, Taeke Reijenga for his ‘Best Style’ win for Level Level and Rich Tabour for his ‘Best Solution’ win for Block Gallery.

So that’s a wrap on our three part blog post about the Automattic Design Awards. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as we’ve enjoyed creating them. We look forward to the next Automattic Design Awards and seeing who the next round of winners will be.


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