Many publications struggle with how to successfully transform their content onto a medium that is powered by engagement and interactivity without it becoming dull. strategy+business delivers in a dynamic way with a fully redesigned and newly rebranded site.
As stated in their entry essay, “It’s not just a website’s content that matters. How it’s presented is what can mean the difference between success and failure.” As designers, we should look to their site not only in admiration but also as a source of inspiration, guidance and possibilities.
What do I mean by that?
When asked how strategy+business visualized transforming their print content for the website, creative director Peter Wagner shared, “Transforming strategy+business from a print-first to a digital-only knowledge brand began with an acknowledgement of the differences in the audience consumption environment between print and digital content.”
When we imagine the initial site framework, most publication websites tend to pack on the content along with ad modules (making it hard to focus), they give off no visual aesthetic, and really don’t take into consideration how their sites translate onto different devices. strategy+business has an open space, minimal grid approach that allows both imagery and copy to visually breathe. There are horizontal breaks in the vertical line which gives the reader’s eye a nice break, so the page isn’t overtaxing. The open space also allows the soft, bright hues used throughout the site to jump with a sure vibrancy but never overwhelm.
Wagner elaborates, “To optimally engage our audiences on their digital devices — often when they’re on the move or squeezing content into a hectic daily schedule — we needed to prioritize strong eye-catching visuals, useful interactivity, simple navigation cues and distilled storytelling. And to do that effectively, s+b needed an identity makeover — one that preserved the brand‘s heritage while increasing the immediacy of its visual impact.”
There is intentional limitation of typefaces and weights that make the site quite balanced and easy to read on screen. This doesn’t diminish a dramatic power when coupled with the visuals. It conveys the importance and gravitas of subjects strategy+business covers but also has a fun, conversational feel. Print-oriented designers sometimes don’t put in the work to understand how type works on digital platforms, and there are a lot of typefaces that don’t translate well. That’s definitely not the case here: we see a deliberate consideration of how particular Sans and Serif fonts work on the screen without loss of legibility from device to device.
Clicking onto the May 2023 cover story on the Metaverse, I feel the same rush I get when I see great print page design. The words, images, feelings jump off the screen because of how the strategy+business’ creative director brings it all to a working, living reality. There are animated images conveying the idea of the metaverse from glitching headers and avatars, to animated charts smartly utilizing the power of the web. Use of parallax scrolling* gives the amount of information presented a fluidity that is fun, engaging and never comes across as a boring read. The web effect came about in 2010 but this website shows designers what a powerful tool it still is.
Peter Wagner knows they’ve met their goals with the new website: “We’re proud of the result we achieved: a visually engaging, user-friendly web experience that seamlessly bridges the gap between s+b’s rich print heritage and the dynamic realm of the digital age.”
*Parallax scrolling is a web trend where background content moves at a different speed than foreground content while scrolling.