13th Annual Shorty Awards Categories

The Shorty Awards honor the talented agencies, brands, and industry leaders behind the best and most innovative work on social media and digital channels, campaigns, websites and applications.

From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

The Magicians: Welcome to Brakebills

Silver Distinction in Art Direction

About this entry

The Magicians, Based upon Lev Grossman's best-selling books centers on Brakebills University, a secret institution specializing in magic. There, a group of twenty-something friends soon discover that a magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real. Besides, being a magical and strong-performing show, The Magicians poised itself as new show that could attract a new, millennial audience to Syfy.

In hopes of intriguing new eyeballs and satiating those that were already hooked on the series, we set out to create an experience that embodied the spirit of The Magicians while highlighting its biggest selling points; the unique take on magic, and the major story points of Season One.

To do this we asked ourselves what would the new and existing fans of the show want in a second screen experience and the answer was simple: to enroll at Brakebills and do magic!

Why does this entry deserve to win?

For this experience, we partnered with interactive design firm Unit 9 to create a digital version of Brakebills University, where users were transformed into students of magic,

By passing an entrance exam (modeled after the entrance exam the characters in the show actually participate in) students were officially enrolled in Brakebills University. Once admitted, users could get information on existing students and faculty, learn more about Brakebills, and most importantly test their mettle as a Magician in a 13-week crash course. After each episode, a new was unlocked, focusing on a different element of magic in the world of The Magicians, usually introduced in the corresponding episode. These lessons varied from gesture-based spellcasting games, psychic memory games, informative videos about the world of The Magicians (exclusive to the experience, and shot on set with the cast and crew), to dynamic parallax infographics. Beware, some of them may take a few tries to completely master!

Brakebills University taps into what people find so titillating about magic in the first place: it makes the impossible possible. By becoming a student magic is at your fingertips.

Brakebills University is accessible on a desktop, tablet or mobile device.


In its first 30 days from launch The Magicians' Enter Brakebills experience on saw a total of 567K page views and an average time spent of 4.6 minutes per visit. Compared to other Syfy first season special features on average daily performance during the first 30 days it ranked #1 in page views/uniques.

Statistics aside, Brakebills University taps into what people find so titillating about magic in the first place: it makes the impossible possible. By becoming a student magic is at your fingertips


Produced by

Syfy Digital


Entry Credits

About the Shorty Awards

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media.

Millions of people participate in The Shortys to recognize individuals and organizations producing great content on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok, Snapchat, and the rest of the social web.

winners will be announced in may. follow us to be notified!