Video Maze Reveals How The New York Times Is Conquering The Digital Space
How a focus on digital and video content is helping to advance a legendary brand.
Design agency HUSH worked with The New York Times for its first Newfronts presentation to help the legendary brand debut its online video channels. HUSH hosted an event to introduce the project, which took place in the Dia Art Space in West Chelsea on April 28. The digital team aimed to evoke a digital experience within a physical space, so the attendees could gain a holistic understanding of its mission.
David Schwarz, creative partner at HUSH, says the agency wanted to host this event in order to help promote what is already a storied and unprecedented brand. Schwarz and his team wanted to highlight the gains that the publication has made on a digital scale, while helping them to reach a presence in this area.
“It was a moment where an esteemed brand, with huge legacy in print, vaults forward to own digital eyeballs and content in a unique way,” Schwarz tells PSFK. “We wanted to be part of that brand expression and transition.”
Attendees of the event walked through aisles of 14 triangular digital plinths, which represented each of the Times‘ new video channels. The channels include a wide range of subjects, covering verticals like U.S. Politics, Documentaries, Business, Style and Health. The stage featured the new video logo, with the classic gothic “T” and the addition of a new “play” button in the center. Each element of the event was designed to inspire attendees to get excited about the digital platform.
Each of these channels adds an interactive layer to news and features such stories as an infamous G.M. car crash and Chanel fashion trends. The video function allows readers to get an in-depth look into the stories they would see when they open the newspaper or read a story online. As attendees walked through each of these plinths on the day of the HUSH event, they became immersed in the Times’ experience, as they walked through a path of the digital stories on display.
“We simply looked at fun ways to translate it from a visual mark to lots of other creative mediums,” Schwarz says. “Physical structure. Digital content. Sound. It all came from a simple visual mark. The simplicity of the rebrand lent itself to tons of variety of interpretations of that video ‘play arrow’ element.”
Schwarz says the main challenge of the event was to create a balance between the amount of information to feature in 45 minutes and what to capitalize on digitally. He saw it as a system of working through peaks and valleys.
“The peaks require great UX design and control of the storytelling,” Schwarz says. “The valleys allow for more room, more self-directed storytelling from the audience. You need to plan for all of these things in a compressed event timeline, and with two hours to tell The New York Times’ story, we had to firmly direct the run of show, generate memorable visual stories that are highly choreographed and build a space that simply exudes the brand without being heavy-handed.”
Although telling the story of the publication’s modern progression and fluency in digital platforms is not an easy task, Schwarz and his team at HUSH found the event required precision to effectively do so.
“It’s a delicate balance and with limited time, you have to impress many stories and values upon your audience quickly,” Schwarz says.