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Last night at the Clio Image Awards at New York’s Plaza Hotel, Duncan/Channon won top honors for a mass-market website for its design of the Formula X site for Sephora. It’s not the first award for the Formula X project, but it is the first in which D/C work shared the stage with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.

Formula X is Sephora’s innovative new nail lacquer, and the colorful, dynamic site represents “the first social network for nail fans.” The Clio Image Awards, co-sponsored by WWD, are given for “the best of creativity behind the business of style.”

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We never doubted it, but now the OMMA award from MediaPost has confirmed it, bestowing top prize on the wildly social Sephora/Formula X website in the Fashion/Beauty/Cosmetics category, an effort in which, and we immodestly quote, “outstanding content, visual design and user interface create recurring value for users.”

With over 200 colors and never-before-seen effects, Formula X for Sephora is a breakthrough nail brand designed to speak to the playful, nail-art-loving, color fanatic in every girl. So when Sephora approached Duncan/Channon to launch the brand, the team proposed equally breakthrough marketing: the first social network devoted to nail fans.

With millions of mani photos and polish pins across Instagram and Pinterest, and no other brand harnessing this active audience of online nail mavens, D/C saw the opportunity to create a branded, social environment where nail fanatics could express themselves, get inspired and shop relevant products.

At FormulaX.com, nail fans can upload their most color-drenched visual inspiration – from pics of electric sunsets to funky nail art – and, based on those images, the site’s color matching provides customized shade and polish matches. Users can create profiles to store their favorite art, inspiration and uploads, and follow their favorite Formula X fans as they explore looks. Social scraping and an in-site uploader keep user content fresh in realtime. FormulaX.com also allows fans to filter content by type or popularity, surfacing popular content through a hearting system. The site is searchable by products, colors, tags and users, weaving color, social engagement, inspiration and product stories together in one visually rich experience.

And not to neglect the physical world, as part of the Formula X launch, select nail artists get a cool train case, designed and produced by D/C, and filled with the cool new product.

View the full case study.

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Finally, it can be told: after an extensive review of agencies, Sephora, the world’s best-known specialty beauty retailer, selected Duncan/Channon to design the website for its new Marc Jacobs Beauty collection. The site goes live on August 9, 2013, while a teaser site, also designed by D/C, launched in May.

“The Duncan/Channon team came to us with the most inspiring site concepts and demonstrated a deep understanding of what we want to accomplish, “said Connie Young, senior marketing director for Sephora. “I truly feel that they are an extension of our team.”

Said Mike Lemme, D/C partner and chief creative officer, who, along with creative director Andrea Bozeman, is leading the Sephora team: “To be working on a major design project with two major brands world-famous for design, Sephora and its partner Marc Jacobs International, is a designer’s dream. Add in that this assignment is another validation of D/C’s digital chops and integrated strategy, and you’ll begin to understand how proud and excited we are.”

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