Vancouver Island University announced that the 2020/2021 semester would adopt and online hybrid learning program. This left the future of print publication The Navigator in question as well as the jobs of the magazine's design team.
In a time where the value of design seemed extraneous. Our design team and I redesign the brand and website as a means of telling new stories in a new normal
Branding, UX UI
We started the project off by looking at the brand. The Navigator is a student gateway into life as a University student. The magazines were sent all around campus and you'd find magazines littered everywhere. They were a compass for a new student to find and understand the community around them.
We designed the new visual identity to last. Recognizing that an effective brand needed to visually stay consistent as a means of building trust, we designed a system that would continue to distil trust and security to our users. We want to tell the story that "If you're lost, look for the Navigator".
With the ongoing global health crisis, Vancouver Island University switched to a "Hybrid" learning system where most classes would be conducted online. This rendered printing magazines impractical with a majority of students staying home. And so the design team and I were concerned with our jobs. There wasn't a need for an editorial design team.
What we ended up doing was advising that with the money that would be spent on printing ten editions of a magazine we spend on hiring a developer to work with us to redesign the online product that was The Navigator's website. What was originally a fear for our jobs became an opportunity to evolve and change a company through design.
The Animating "Navigator" wordmark is designed to pay homage to the publications former history as a newspaper. This is done in a way that creates delight and intrigue for a user's first impression of the site.
Articles on the site are designed to reflect the publication's history as a magazine. I wanted to bring over the page-flipping experience of going through a magazine digitally. Unfortunately, after many tests, I was not able to replicate the new book/magazine smell.
On the day of the website and rebrand launch, the new website saw a 241% increase in readership. Since then the publication has continued to publish content weekly. Giving VIU students a beacon of community and information, in a new format.
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