How To Get That New PRINT Look

Posted inBranding & Identity Design

Night and day. Apples and oranges. Oil and vinegar.

We mention these pairings to describe something so disparate, so contradictory in nature, that they could never possibly share any traits. And it’s not that any one of these things is inherently bad or lacking in some profound way; they’re just opposites.

You could say the same thing about our new site-wide redesign on PRINT. No knock on what came before, but modernity called, and when you’re running a site FOR designers and creatives, the design and layout has to be as captivating and eye-catching as the published content. Otherwise, what’s the point?

And, yes, we’re extremely biased, but it looks great, and it’s much easier to navigate. We’re still hitting you with the latest in design news and projects from the designers you know and love, and oh, look, there are special sections for the Daily Heller and Debbie Millman’s Design Matters—which, by the way, did you know that PRINT is the only place you can find a transcript of the show?

But we digress. The central problem for anyone undertaking this particular kind of task is that when you shake things up, it not only has to be practical and convenient to use, but it needs to look good. Like, really, really good. In redefining a new era for PRINT, we wanted to tip our cap to the magazine’s legacy, but we also needed to move forward as we embrace the future of the design industry. No, PRINT is no longer a physical thing you can hold in your hands, but having a magazine layout that works in digital was essential.

So, we went to WordPress and Automattic.

“The editors of PRINT came to us in November of 2020 with an initial website that did not measure up to the high aesthetic and quality standards the publication is known for—standards they themselves helped set for the entire industry,” said Christy Nyiri, designer at Automattic. “Additionally, their site was limited in functionality and locked inside an inflexible content platform.”

Accessibility was critical for the redesign, and not just with functionality, but in terms of color and typography, as well as the look and feel of the graphics and images and how they get framed for our audience. Visitors with any level of ability needed to navigate the new PRINT with ease. And yeah, it needed to look pretty. Now, you’ll find:

  • A flexible, modular platform that allows for the curation of new content, including content from the PRINT archives.
  • Images are displayed uncropped at their original ratio, showcasing the full artistry of the work and encouraging visually dynamic layouts.
  • The homepage logo overlaps featured content, subtly nodding to the history of multi-layered print processes.
  • The site allows for better content discovery through improved search functionality and content categorization.

Open source WordPress unlocked the site’s potential and restored the ownership of their content to them, while Automattic worked closely with our editors and ownership to craft an experience that would be worthy of our legacy but flexible enough for their future needs.

And what you see here is a very, very different kind of PRINT—one that’s here for the long run.

“For those of us who grew up reading PRINT, a magazine with such a long and influential history, being directly involved in this new phase of its life was an immense and humbling honor,” Christy said.

“The details have never felt more important to perfect! We spared no expense to equip the site with all the tools it needs to flourish as a digital publication—to be as easy to navigate and use as it is delightful to read, watch, and listen to—and to look beautiful while doing so. Frankly, we were all ecstatic to work on it!”