These screenshots of the revised CQ email alerts look pretty basic, and it’s completely on purpose. The old emails each had a completely different look, were very complex table-based designs, and were not at all responsive (mostly because when they were made the flip phone was just becoming popular.)
The goal with the new design was to have a great mobile reading experience as well as a consistent brand look. But it was also important that there be enough visual difference that you could easily tell them apart at first glance. The designs are kept minimal for both super-fast loading times and readable content even if images or styles were blocked by the server or email client. You’ll also notice there’s a lot of content in each email — yet another reason to keep the design lean.
CQ’s brand identity hadn’t been revised or even properly maintained since the early 1990s. As a result, over the years the ‘CQ look’ was abandoned as it became dated and no singular person or department that had the authority to champion any brand consistency. The Roll Call merger didn’t help matters as internal groups argued over abandoning the old brand and replacing it with the new CQ Roll Call gold and black. But with the creation of a unified product department and a desire to update CQ.com and it’s various product lines, we really needed to decide on a new consistent look.
The ‘new’ look was more of a refresh. Instead of a drastic change, I elected to keep the logo very much in the same spirit as the old one. Instead of the vertically squished New Baskerville, the new logo uses a modified Lyon Display.
The typefaces are Commercial Type’s Lyon and Graphik. These are the same typefaces used by Roll Call, but for CQ, Graphik takes center stage, where Roll Call is predominately Lyon.
The primary branding color stayed blue but additional colors were added for different verticals and general utility. And since it’s me, there’s even some basic infographic styling.
As part of the business case for CQ+ we needed to show there was both a general interest in the product and that customers would be willing to pay for the features we were considering. So I coded a faux version of the app and made this video which was sent to CQ subscribers along with a short survey about their impressions and legislative tracking needs.
For CQ Weekly story on the growing prevalence of civilian drones and the challenges of regulating them.