embark-art & science

Embarking on an Award-Winning Digital Project

Digital agency Art & Science fuses technology and creativity to build a brand identity and new
website for financial services company Embark.




Financial Services


“The support we received from WP Engine truly stood out in this project. It was instrumental in helping us keep to our timeline and not have to spend weeks figuring something out. We had direct contact with our dedicated support team and we succeeded thanks to that high level of support.” 

Peter Toi, Technical Director, Art & Science


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The Client

Embark aims to be Canada’s leading partner in student success, helping more families plan for, manage, and thrive in post-secondary education. As Canada’s resource for education savings and planning, Embark works tirelessly on behalf of students and their families. Owned by a not-for-profit, the company believes in measuring its success by the success of students before, during, and after post-secondary education.

As an owner-operated, digital marketing agency, Art & Science connects ideas, experiences, and technology to design the future of brands. Driven by strategy, led by creative, and backed by data, Art & Science does ground-breaking work for a growing roster of clients that includes Embark, OREA, Brighton, Burgundy Asset Management, Canadian Cancer Society, Nestr, Toronto Fertility Partners, Canada Ireland Foundation, Kingsway College School, VetStrategy, and many more.

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The Challenge

Craft a comprehensive brand presence for a financial services company focused on education savings. Encompassing a marketing website, client portal, and app integration, the project demanded high performance, robust security, and seamless integration across various platforms—all within a four-month timeline.

The Solution

Art & Science decided to use a headless WordPress architecture for its flexibility, security, and scalability, choosing WP Engine Headless WordPress for its robust support and compatibility with various technologies. This approach allowed the Art & Science team to build a blazing-fast site that could handle a high volume of content and transactions securely.


The Results

Embark built on its reputation and image as a trusted education and savings partner with the help of Art & Science's use of modern development frameworks and inventive design.

Using WP Engine’s all-in-one headless platform, Headless WordPress, Art & Science Technical Director Peter Toi and his team delivered a high-performing website featuring API response times in double-digit milliseconds. 

"Headless WordPress was particularly attractive because it came from WP Engine, which was already an established and trusted partner,” Toi said. 

“But beyond that, WP Engine’s support for other tools that are important for headless WordPress, including acquiring ACF and investing in Faust.js to ensure that post previews and other WordPress features are preserved in a headless environment, was crucial.“

The site’s impressive performance was further enhanced by WP Engine's proprietary EverCache front-end caching system and the advanced capabilities of WPGraphQL Smart Cache, achieving up to 6,000 times better performance during the development phase.

Art & Science's commitment to innovation and excellence was evident not just in technical execution but also in creative design.

The team's portrayal of Embark's brand narrative through animated journey lines—representing the educational path of students—added a distinct storytelling dimension to the website.

It was this comprehensive approach that led to Art & Science winning “Headless Project of the Year” for its work with Embark as part of WP Engine’s inaugural Agency Partner Awards. 

Adding to these results, the Embark project also showcased Art & Science's ability to address complex multilingual needs.

The implementation of WPML enabled Embark's website to efficiently cater to Canada's bilingual audience, seamlessly toggling between English and French content. 

Additionally, the use of Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) allowed for the creation of a highly customizable and user-friendly content management experience. This approach ensured the website's backend matched the brand's unique requirements while maintaining ease of use for content editors.

Lastly, the success of the Embark project was also due to its adherence to stringent security protocols, which are particularly rigorous in the financial services sector. 

The site’s headless architecture, which allowed Art & Science to obfuscate the backend and deliver all content through an API, significantly enhanced the website's security, building a reputation for trust and reliability in the eyes of Embark's customers.

Overall, Toi said, the project’s success resulted from excellent collaboration with Embark as a client and WP Engine as a dedicated partner.   

“Out of all our partnerships, I truly feel that WP Engine cares about us as a business, and I think it's clear to WP Engine that the success of the agencies they work with is what translates into their success,” Toi said. 

“They're clearly investing to ensure that each agency is succeeding, and this project serves as an excellent testament to that.”

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