Newsweek was killing their magazine and challenged us to revive the iconic brand.
With readership declining and the magazine in debt, the brand had nothing to loose and needed a fresh take. The brief was simple- create a truly digital first publishing platform.
With only 4 weeks to design the entire experience we worked hand in hand with the editorial team at Newsweek, creating new prototypes daily and never making a real wireframe or a single presentation. The result was a vision for Newsweek which revitalized the brand and challenged the industry’s perception of what a digital publication should be.
‘Digital only’ done well.
Digital has always been an afterthought for magazines, typically consisting of pdf versions of the print edition or a direct translation of their content. So when attempting to go digital only, this same thinking is retained and experiences of real value are never created. We saw the end of the magazine as an opportunity. A blank slate to create a design which takes the best of the physical reading experience and presents it in a way that is even more engaging and inherently social.
User focused publishing.
Paywalls, click through galleries and articles with 18 pages of pagination are great for the business but terrible for the user. We were determined to create an experience that benefited both. Focusing on impact over impressions, the new design featured native, responsive ads, long, scrolling galleries and engaging article pages which were extremely easy for the editorial team to create.
With the original intention for just 2-3 articles per issue to take advantage of our rich article template, after a few weeks of being live the team found it so easy to publish that they began using it for almost every article on the site.
We needed to create a unique space for the brand. It couldn’t just be another news site.
Newsweek was never going to compete with The New York Times and the world certainly didn’t need another site like that. We wanted to create a vision that celebrated the long form, provocative content that Newsweek had always been known for. Continuing the weekly publishing model allowed us to frame the world’s most relevant stories, creating a snapshot of the week. This allowed them to continue the storytelling they’ve done so well over the last 80 years while providing a real value to the user.
The next chapter.
Unfortunately just 5 months after the launch of the site IAC sold Newsweek and it was taken in an entirely different direction. In the short time it was live traffic increased 40% and time spent was up 15 minutes per reader. Hopefully our design has challenged the way the publishing industry views the role of digital and how engaging reading experiences can do wonders for brands like Newsweek.
Role: Associate Creative Director
Partner, Product Design: Felipe Memoria
Art Director: Ryan Frank
Designers: Colleen Redmond, Stefanie Pitaro, Aaron Shapiro