“Sometimes good design is just too good to ignore, particularly when a publication finds a different way to construct stories.”—juror Tali Krakowsky
“The site’s classic design allows great photography and content to be the star of the experience.” —juror Jon Jackson
Overview: Each issue of the Maine Thing Quarterly is an introspective deep-dive into niche topics iconic to Maine that represent the slightly offbeat characters who define the state. The Quarterly is created with an editorial publishing model and emphasizes meaningful, emotionally engaging storytelling. As a result, the digital magazine functions as a top-notch feature publication and stands apart from typical one-off travel campaigns driven by lists of things to do and see.
• Conceiving, writing, developing and curating the initial project took about three months; each successive issue has taken approximately six weeks to produce.
• Opt-in subscriptions average 2,500 per issue, and each Quarterly draws 32,000 unique visitors.
• As of December 1, 2014 (three issues total), there had been 108,377 site visits by 85,327 visitors, approximately 10,000 of which were repeat visitors.
Comments by Kevin Kriehn and group director Victoria Simmons:
What is the purpose of the project? “Our audience tends to be skeptical of advertising, but highly receptive to authentic experiences. We worked to move beyond the limits of outdated traditional ad campaign models and identify niches within Maine that enable us to demonstrate the authentic and original lure of the destination and its people. Our approach was to create an editorial publication that takes a retrospective look at specific iconic themes, such as lobster, microbrews and the Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail. We anchor the publication with information that enables visitors to experience the highlighted places and activities for themselves.”
What are the project’s core features? “Depending on the quarterly feature and the stories we are telling, the publication includes long-form articles; integrated video to complement the stories, but that can also be viewed independently through other channels; immersive photography; background video and cinemagraphs; and social sharing functions. Each issue has three to five videos and ten or more large images.”
What was the thinking behind the navigation structure? “A traditional navigation menu was compartmentalized and tucked off-screen. This was done to enable the user to explore and scroll, creating a natural page flow. Also, AJAX was used between chapter loads to create a seamless transition between chapters.”