Current GSD faculty, staff, and student groups who are interested in developing a GSD-branded website, or GSD subsite, must request permission first, regardless of whether they are using the GSD Site Builder platform or an external vendor. Student groups must request permission only if they are interested in creating a website using the GSD's Site Builder.

Who Qualifies for a Subsite?

A subsite is a website that is hosted under the GSD’s domain name, that bears the school’s name or logo, or that otherwise purports to represent the opinions or work of the GSD, but is not directly part of www.gsd.harvard.edu. Subsites must meet the following criteria:

  • Be sponsored (“owned” and “maintained”) by a current member of the GSD faculty, administration, or student group and be related to a GSD-affiliated research center, design lab, program, or initiative.
  • Support the GSD’s mission.
  • Provide lasting value to the school.
  • Satisfy an unmet need.
  • Have an ongoing staffing and maintenance plan.
  • Demonstrate adequate funding to meet start-up and ongoing maintenance costs (if school funding is not available).
  • Register relevant ownership and technical details with GSD Web Staff, enabling GSD Web Staff to make changes in hosting plans or content, as required or needed.

All new GSD subsites must be approved by the Digital Governance Committee before they are created. Student group websites are an exception. Student groups must seek permission only if they wish to make use of the GSD Site Builder, described below.

How to Request a Subsite

Before requesting a new site, contact the GSD's Digital Project Manager to schedule a meeting to discuss your plans for a new site. If it is determined that a subsite could be a good option for your needs, you'll be asked to fill out a New Site Information Form. The web team will then review your request. If  your request is approved, you have three options for creating your site:

  • GSD Site Builder: This platform was specifically built for the GSD so qualifying community members could create a GSD subsite with minimal assistance from developers. This platform is built using WordPress and provides a drag-and-drop editor so site owners can control their page layouts. It is the only site builder that is maintained by the GSD and is the most cost-effective option. Visit the GSD Site Builder website for more information on the capabilities of this platform. Student groups must request permission for a subsite only if they wish to pursue this option.
  • GSD Site Builder & External Vendor*: If you'd like to use the GSD Site Builder platform but want to customize it for your needs, you may hire a third-party vendor to make the adjustments you require.
  • External Vendor*: If the Site Builder platform doesn't meet your needs, you can contract an external vendor to create your site from scratch.

Once you have chosen one of the options above, the web team will advise you on the process and next steps. The GSD web team is available to provide insight on integrating your site with the GSD's API and making sure your site adheres to Harvard policies and best practices, including the GSD's Digital Governance Policy, and Harvard's Digital Accessibility Policy. All GSD subsites must be hosted through the GSD.

*If you choose to hire an external vendor for your subsite, you must provide the GSD web team with documentation of your project plans, a timeline for the project, and technical details when the project is complete. External vendors will be responsible for maintaining your site after launch.

Unauthorized Subsites

An Unauthorized Subsite is a website that purports to represent the opinions or work of the GSD or uses the GSD name or branding elements and has not been approved and does not meet the requirements for a GSD Subsite set forth above. In the event that GSD Web Staff become aware of an unauthorized subsite, GSD Web Staff will attempt to contact the site creator(s). If the responsible parties can’t be contacted, GSD Web Staff may take all possible measures to assume control of the site or to have it taken down. If the unauthorized site creators are responsive, they will be advised of the non-conforming elements of the site, and asked to provide a remediation plan and schedule to resolve the issues, and may be asked to immediately modify or take the site down in the interim. In this remediation, GSD Web Staff can provide strategic guidance and technical oversight, but all costs associated with bringing the site into conformity will be borne by the site owner.