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The Swaddle: Throwing open the gates to socio-cultural knowledge

The Swaddle is an independent media publication for young Indians, providing a nuanced, balanced perspectives on news, culture and current events, helping their readers form an educated opinion.

Overview

A new brand identity which plays on the theme of self-expression, and represents a more mature company, to match The Swaddle’s evolution. An easier to navigate content repository that can surface archival content as well as showcase the latest articles and content pieces - drawing readers through The Swaddle’s content offering.

SCOPE

Brand RefreshArt DirectionUser ResearchUser ExperienceUser TestingUI DesignTechnology ConsultingFullstack Engineering

Challenge

“We are so much bigger that our site feels.” This was the problem projected to us by The Swaddle’s founder in our first workshop. The challenge was twofold - they had both outgrown their previous brand identity, and their website no longer served the needs of the evolving business.

Expanding from a focus on solely written editorial content to a content production studio making podcasts and films, we needed to devise a brand which could live comfortably across all pillars. And although the site was filled with dynamic and interesting content, the structure and design of the previous site did not enable easy surfacing of multiple content types.

The challenge for the publishing platform was to make it feel like more than just a magazine - we wanted to envelope readers in podcasts, videos and editorial pieces - creating a journey through social issues, providing them with context and continuity at every point, encouraging them to delve deeper.

Swaddle new logo on business cards
Swaddle new logo repeating over and over
Swaddle new brand video, showcasing a compilation of article imagery

Solution

A truly independent voice

In a media landscape of corporate and state sponsored interests, The Swaddle fosters a space for intellectual engagement which is truly independent. We wanted to elevate The Swaddle brand to be the most sought-after, trusted, and referenced independent media publication amongst Indian youth, 18-35.

These are young, progressive, intelligent people who are looking for an opinion, and for guidance navigating today’s current events, social justice issues, and shifting cultural norms and traditions. They’re looking for transparency - they see through the fake news and gravitate towards outlets that tell it like it is.

We needed to strike a balance between the revolutionary spirit of a younger audience, and the maturity and sophistication to appeal to their secondary audience of academics, journalists, and film producers, with whom The Swaddle is seen as a highly credible source of information.

Swaddle new branding in white text on a black background on a poster
Swaddle video showcasing new branding moments
Swaddle new brand video, showcasing a compilation of article imagery

From a creative territory of “Fearless expression”, we explored the power of self-expression through an identity that is as bold, authentic, and thought-provoking as our content. We explored The Swaddle’s role in providing deeper context to our world, adding visual “layers” of understanding and information when it matters most.

FT Aktual is an unapologetic and versatile grotesque, capable of performing in big titles as well as in small texts, on paper and on screen, as contemporary as its name. Featuring honest, unrefined, and idiosyncratic shapes, ABC Monument Grotesk Mono is a distinctively confident font with a raw and pleasingly unpolished feel, perfect for meta data and detail typography.

Intentionally digital first, our colour palette balances neutral foundation with energy and vibrancy with a secondary category palette.

Through a range of graphic techniques, including deconstructed type, colour, layout and pattern, our identity shows that The Swaddle is a publication that is not afraid to take risks and push boundaries, in order to give a voice to the underrepresented and the taboo.

New swaddle desktop landing page

A layered UX approach

Our UX idea for the new publishing platform mirrored our creative approach of ‘layers’. In order to engage and draw readers through different threads of content, we devised inter-connected modules that layered related content pieces on top of one other. This allows people to pursue a line of enquiry through a topic that interests them, further arming themselves with socio-cultural knowledge.

To realise this on the front end, in the back end we created a homepage schema that empowered The Swaddle’s content editors to keep surfacing different, but related content types and topics, from the vast library of content they have. As most of the content deals with ongoing issues and themes, It enables them to keep the platform fresh, without having to produce dozens of pieces a day, like more traditional publishers.

New Swaddle article page designs laid side by side
Swaddle mobile designs aligned next to one another
Showcasing swaddle article tags
Swaddle large purple website brand moment showcasing an article
Swaddle desktop menu showcasing a compilation of article images
Swaddle large stats on the website white text on black background
Swaddle menu selection showcasing images stacked atop one another

We performed a significant content migration of all posts, videos and podcasts from 2018 onwards, moving them from WordPress over to Sanity, our headless CMS solution. There was zero loss of content, and zero downtime on the platform.

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