The Anatomy of a Design Decision: Examiner's 2012 Campaign Site

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Design is the culmination of thousands of tiny decisions that are weighed against various user, client, and technical requirements. Every visual element of a website is the product of a laborious thought process that a web designer goes through to make sure that all of the above can be met and each of the elements come together to reach a holistic, beautiful composition. Recently Phase2 had the amazing opportunity to work on the Washington Examiner's 2012 Campaign site where numerous decisions were made with the help of a very savvy client. The time leading up to the launch was very exciting, we went through our design process, which I have talked about in detail in this blog post. In this blog post I would like to walk you through how the process was conducted and how the decision surrounding typography was made. After a series of survey questions and conversations the team understood that the brand of the new 2012 Campaign site  should feel patriotic, and modern with a feeling that compliments the content rather than over-powering it. Bright and sleek with a firm focus on quality content that is up-to-date and smart. Knowing all of this, I formed a plan of interpretation for execution that we explained to the client: The design would include a  strong emphasis on clean, clear, powerful typography, which will help the site to be usable and accessible while color and texture will help emphasize the authority, strength, and patriotism of the brand. A well defined typographic hierarchy will also quickly communicate to the reader the comprehensiveness of the content, and frequency of content updates. We then presented the Examiner team with three Style Tiles that we felt could be stylistic interpretations of the above statement.       As you can see by the above style tiles, one of the major decisions that I made was to use a slab serif typeface. Why Slab Serif? Three major factors came into play when deciding what font to choose: context, technical feasibility, and the story of the font's story. Context: When it comes to context I thought about the type of site this was going to be. Not only is it a microsite for a major publishing brand, but it is focused on politics. Given the history of the slab serif type classification in print publishing and the use of a slab in the logo of The Washington Examiner, I saw it as a good direction to start in. High impact and legibility were 2 other contributing factors. Technical Feasibility: Services like Typkeit and FontDeck have made using non-traditional web fonts easier to use than ever and with our previous success using Typekit on the Open Public website we saw it as a good fit. The team at the Examiner agreed and we dove into Tyepkit's vast collection of faces to begin finding the font that supports the 2012 Campaign site's brand. The Story: Originally we narrowed it down to 3 very beautiful options, but after some discussion with the Examiner team and help from my awesome colleague, Laura we decided to choose Adelle. The three original options were: Kulturista Web, Sirba Web, and FF Tisa, but it was Adelle's flexibility and personality, and unique detail that really sealed the deal. According to Type Together's website Adelle is a typeface "conceived specifically for intensive editorial use, mainly in newspapers and magazines…"It has also been awarded Gold in the "Original Typeface" category for the Ed Awards 2010. The Design team at Phase2 thrives on making the web design process collaborative. We believe that great results and happy clients can happen when the design process is open and transparent. The more that non-designers understand the design process, the faster we can work together to create a solution that marries form and function. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work on the Campaign 2012 site with the Examiner.