Background: Masthead Magazine is a large-format online publication featuring op-eds from leaders in the fields of art, entertainment and tech. Rather than being fleeting like much of the content we find on other platforms today, Masthead strives to present timeless and inspiring ideas on key topics that we believe are important.
For Masthead On: Design, we invited our friends and colleagues to talk about how design can change the world. Launching during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting New York City, we had some tough decisions to make about whether it was appropriate to release the new issue—which we had been working on for a few months already—when everybody’s focus was elsewhere. We decided to take the chance and were welcomed with warm feedback about our message of hope, as well as the messages of hope from our contributors. When we all put our heads together towards the future, the world didn’t seem so dark after all.
Design core: To me, it’s important that we use the digital medium in a way that makes an impact. We don’t rely on fancy bells and whistles, instead opting for a clean, beautiful layout that is easy to read with powerful and moving images at its core.
Favorite details: We especially love that our pages are seamless with video and moving images, creating a robust user experience that is both pleasant and exciting to engage with. We are also very proud of our mobile interface.
Challenges: As with every issue of Masthead, we spent a lot of time developing the site’s content and making sure we put forth the strongest story we could from both a design and a visual perspective. We created most of the videos and images, as well as the design, while the words—and some of the images of key projects featured—come from our contributors.
The biggest challenge of this site was finishing the issue for the first time with our team working remotely. But our success gave us the confidence to continue working strongly all from our respective homes. I believe this is a sign of a good, solid team, and I am very proud of everyone who worked together with me on this during such a challenging time.
Navigation structure: We stuck to a simple “listings page” with an overview of the contents of the issue. Then, after users delve into the content, there are other ways to explore and navigate the issue that enable users to discover other issues and more. On mobile, the most unique feature is our vertical menu. We love it.
Technology: We worked with the Readymag platform to develop Masthead. As an early adopter, we are now among the largest projects using its platform. We’ve pushed Readymag to limits I don’t think it was ever expected to go, but we love the team and are thrilled with the software they’ve built.