Gawker Media

A family of 13 brands, visual direction, CMS programming and custom code for a publisher

A refinement of Gawker's initial logo, which we inherited from its initial designer in 2003.
Logotype for Gizmodo, usually rendered in glassy silver-blue.
Launched simultaneously under a project informally named "The Boy Blogs," Jalopnik, Deadspin & Kotaku were Gawker's first attempt at subjects outside of media, celebrity, and government gossip. The three properties were designed to share content back and forth, which was hinted at in the similarity we built into the letterforms of their logos, all of which were hand-drawn. All three logos share a slant a futuristic form that isn't seen in most of the other sites. Jalopnik, above, likes cars, and is drawn with inflated curves and deep cuts like a car's chassis.
Deadspin comments on sports media culture. As such, its logo is custom letterforms based upon ESPN, redrawn into something more futuristic.
Kotaku—a gaming site—has custom letterforms based on low-polygon objects in motion.
Created to report on Washington DC media culture, Wonkette's logotype is as buttoned-up as DC is.
Fleshbot, created to report on sex and technology. These letterforms are custom.
Custom letterforms for Lifehacker.
Jezebel's thick, forceful forms were created to evoke a bright red lipstick.
io9 reports on science fiction. Its custom letterforms are completely round and organic, like a machine from the distant future, and were initially created in 3D as a vision of sculpted inflated metals, like Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park.
Defamer reports on Hollywood: its deals, its studio gossip, its PR nightmares.

From 2003 to 2011, we were Gawker Media’s de facto visual & interface design department. We designed and built the first five iterations of the company’s 13 notorious sites, developing branding, editorial styling, visual voice, and CMS functionality for each. Not every site remains online, but those which do still retain the brands we built.

We built each site with a custom template atop the site’s CMS (originally Movable Type, later the company’s proprietary publishing engine), allowing for in-network cross-property ad trafficking, ad buys from outside customers, and ad tracking & measurement of reader metrics which ran on a proprietary internal ad system.

We also developed several in-network microblogs, like “Art of Speed” for Nike & “A Dirty Shame” promoting the John Waters film from Fine Line Features. Other clients, like Comedy Central and Sony, got custom in-network and tone-correct ad campaigns.

For editors, we developed several custom CMS plugins to help speed up day-to-day writing and approval tasks: a dual-tier categorization system, a tag system with private tags to call custom templates for advertiser-purchased posts or seasonal features (like the annual March film awards season or Christmas shopping beginning in September), and a single button which would save and then go to the next or previous post—requested by editors checking and editing junior editors’ work.

Project categories: Messaging, Brand Development, Code

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