The Verge relaunch is a project like no other for Vox Media. This was the first time we’ve taken a brand that our company originally built and given it a full redesign.
We’re not just talking about the website, either. This redesign covers everything from the logo to event spaces to distributed platforms to YouTube thumbnails. It was born out of the definition of a new mission statement, one that stressed the importance of thinking about The Verge as more than just a homepage (though, to be sure, the homepage was important to everyone involved). Simultaneously, we also migrated The Verge to a new version of our publishing platform, and introduced a new homepage product — all to coincide with the Verge’s fifth birthday on November 1st. This was no easy feat.
In this series of blog posts, we’re going to dive into the behind-the-scenes process for the entire lifecycle of this project, continuing the series with insights on The Verge logo.
We didn’t just refresh The Verge — we relaunched it. So much has changed since 2011 when The Verge launched; technology has become an integral part of our lives, shaping our relationships and connection to the world. Five years ago, we primarily thought about the website as a way for our audience to engage with our content; now, we have moved into a distributed content model. From Facebook Instant Articles and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages to newsletters and Flipboard, we know that the site is not the audience’s final destination and only place the logo lives. This meant we had to design a system and logo that has the flexibility to grow and expand at the same pace and way our audience interacts with us.
Today, the new design system incorporates the most scalable structure our team has built to date and a logo that performs in every scenario.
Knowing when to keep what works
Going into this project, we knew that there were aspects from the original branding that were important to hang onto. One of the priorities was to preserve five years of brand equity, but also to hold on to what was working for the current Verge identity. We knew that meant keeping the logomark intact.
The Verge logomark has been around for 5 years and has established itself as the iconic representation of the brand. Its bold, strong, and dimensional qualities have represented the brand mission and vision from the beginning. It’s simple shape doesn’t alienate audiences and its bold strength continues to embody The Verge’s rebelliousness. With this in mind, our new primary expression of the mark now takes on the new Verge identity colors, moving it forward with the relaunch.
The Verge’s logomark is just as strong today if not more so as we’ve grown. It continues the exciting narrative our loyal audience recognizes and new audience will delight in.
Knowing when to revise the original
The Verge’s original editorial vision has changed. With it, we have worked to create a refreshed wordmark that brings The Verge’s new mission to life, pays respect to where we have been, and capitalizes on the mark’s current brand equity. Partnered with an updated look & feel, the wordmark represents The Verge as a brand that is defining what’s next.
The Verge’s current wordmark wasn’t made to travel to all the places it needs to today; since the logo’s original inception, the Verge has shifted from a text-based website to a multi-platform media brand. Our new wordmark can travel everywhere from a social icon, to an article page, to a video streamed on social or OTT. We want to keep the essence of The Verge, a wordmark that has a passionate and ardent fanbase, but refine it so that it could travel to all the touchpoints the brand has with its audience. We need a wordmark that translates everywhere, whether it’s broadcasted or on your phone.
The practical reasons
There are simple technical reasons for evolving the wordmark:
- Better legibility at smaller sizes
- More flexibility for varied video usage alongside animation
- Providing a stronger base to build sub-brand logos from
The design reasons
- Removed delicate serifs from the wordmark. This cleaned up, sans-serif evolution speaks to the future.
- Evolved the nuances in the letterspacing by kerning the letters out a hair.
- Maintained the bespoke, identifiable form relationships (for example, the custom TH and VE ligatures).
The philosophical reasons
As editorial honed its mission statement, Brand Development refined the brand identity so that it supports and embodies editorial’s intentions.
The Verge is inclusive.
- The new logo eliminates the direct nod to “sci fi nerdiness” that resonates with a predominately male audience and is not inclusive or understood by the new readers The Verge is trying to reach. We reduce this emphasis while still paying respect to the wordmark’s sci fi origins.
The Verge is thoughtful.
- The Verge understands that in order to be ambitiously great, we must abandon pieces of our origins and grow into something bigger. A variant on the original wordmark is a subtle nod that we’ve moved on and continued to evolve.
The Verge is fast.
- Our newsgathering operation is unmatched in the industry, and the depth and breadth of our expertise allows us to publish analysis and criticism days and weeks ahead of our competitors. The angle of “r” is a literal representation of that forward movement.
The Verge is beautiful.
- This logo evolution shows our audience that we care about keeping design fresh and new while understanding what they love about what we currently have.
- The rendering will scale seamlessly across platforms and contexts.
- It allows for design to shine and photography to shine around it. The Verge is in a completely different place than it was five years ago; the visual language is so much stronger through the work of the video and photography teams. Changing the wordmark in a way that lends itself to greater creative expression is symbolic of the pride that The Verge has of its creative teams and their ability to make The Verge unique.
The Brand Development team worked with Cory Schmitz to make small, but impactful, adjustments to The Verge wordmark that reflects these brand philosophies. Each of these tweaks were made to maintain the logo’s history and simultaneously bring it into the future.
The Verge! We’ve chosen a new wordmark to live in the future, because there’s nowhere else to go.
Keep an eye on the Product Blog, where we’ll be writing about the design system and more over the next few weeks. You can also check out the first part of the series here on “How we conducted research.”