How we redesigned 100 newspapers at once
Amedias excels as a news publisher by sharing information infrastructure among its vast array of newspapers. This levels the playing field enabling smaller papers to keep up in the ever changing digital context. While a shared infrastructure has a large upside, the identity of each individual newspaper has suffered in the standardization process, rendering all newspapers to look the same. This leads us to our challenge:
How can we revitalize the digital identity of 100+ newspapers – without creating utter chaos?
A large-scale redesign inside an already established infrastructure involves many moving parts and demands a range of different skills. We provided design resources at different stages of the project, working in close collaboration with the in-house development team. Our work spanning over a two-year period can be broken down into four main parts.
1. Building a multi-brand design system. We took part in developing a design system, focusing on facilitating a seamless connection between design and development. This resulted in an intricate system anchored on the utilization of design tokens and distinct theme overrides. The system created a scalable way to do theming and individual adjustments across the Amedia newspaper portfolio.
2. Defining design directions. In the early stages of the project, it became clear we needed a design strategy that would acknowledge and accommodate the diversity of the Norwegian media landscape. In order to find the essence of the Norwegian news tradition we had to flip the table and interview journalists and news editors across various regions. The work resulted in three distinct design directions corresponding with different news traditions, as well as future editorial concepts. Additionally, we created a distinct theme for Nettavisen built upon an earlier branding process delivered by us prior to this project.
3. Creating design directions. Once we decided on directions, we started the extensive design work of accommodating all possible scenarios. The main challenge was that all of Amedias' publications utilized the same fixed CMS. Without the possibility of changing the CMS we had to identify areas within the established system that could house the new design concepts.
4. Design implementation. The completion of the design directions was followed by a period of close collaboration with the development team at Amedia, addressing the challenges that emerged during the transition from design to code.
We gained valuable experience in creating a multi-brand design system that can be easily integrated with development. Additionally, we gained more experience in how to design for organizations that have complex existing infrastructure. Our approach was similar to changing the wings of a plane mid-flight. We used an iterative model to test and deploy the design system, starting with one newspaper and refining it before moving on to the next publication.
Finally, we are thankful to Amedia for their trust and their confidence to dive deep into the complex world of a multi-brand redesign.
We continue to have a long-lasting partnership with Iterate, where highly competent colleagues work directly with us in our product and tech teams. They work seamlessly with the Amedia team while also giving us flexibility when our teams need more support for our initiatives.
Håvard Solheim - VP Development Amedia
+47 944 32 250
Ludvig Bruneau Rossow
Einar Weibust Hansen