Responses by Lucky Beard.
Background: The Gloss has always been a print magazine and a vehicle for displaying high-end fashion and lifestyle content to an affluent, largely female readership. The purpose of the site was to provide a digital platform for that audience that would feel very much like holding the print magazine in their hands, flicking through pages over a coffee. We wanted to provide a beautiful experience, but we also wanted to remove the steps the audience had to take between seeing a gorgeous item in the magazine and having to go to a store or to the brand’s website to buy it. We offer a simple clickthrough to where the reader can find the item they desire.
Design core: From the very start, we wanted to make visiting thegloss.ie feel like you’re flicking through the pages of a magazine, and we wanted to really be true to that experience. We chose big, bold portrait images and gave them the space that they’d have in print. These are beautiful clothes, beautiful pieces of jewelry, beautiful products—we wanted to show their quality and detail the way they would be displayed in a magazine. Very editorial, very clean and elegant. Chicness was always a priority.
The balance of that large imagery with the narrow text fields is obviously an aesthetic replication of the real magazine experience by leading with imagery, but it has functional purpose too—to make the text easier to read and digest. We consciously let the beautiful clothing speak for itself.
Challenges: This type of a publication is, of course, heavily reliant on advertising. One big challenge we had was figuring out how we could integrate ads in a very organic way—not to ‘disguise’ them or mislead the reader, but rather to make it feel like part of the content so that it wasn’t jarring to the experience or incongruous with such a clean, beautiful site. We created in-article and in-content banners that felt really complementary to the content. We also gave bespoke campaign page takeovers to the advertisers so that they’d blend beautifully with the magazine, but also so that the advertisers could have a dedicated space where they felt they could really shine.
Navigation structure: We used a combination of burger navigation and top navigation. The top navigation highlights the sections within the magazine so that the reader can easily jump to the content they want. The burger navigation does that too, but it has a little more content too that would look a little too messy and busy on the page—links to social media, for example.
Technology: We ran the site on Wordpress for a number of reasons, the main one being that we wanted to create something easily usable by the people who needed to use it—the internal team who will actually be using these templates with the visual composer. Wordpress was the perfect choice for this.