On Jan. 1, 2015, WestJet Magazine (formerly up!) and westjetmagazine.com were unveiled, revealed a striking new look. The redesign was many months in the making, and involved countless hours of thinking, experimenting and discussing, as the team translated big ideas into specific decisions about how the publication would look and feel — both on the printed page and online.
Here’s a look at three of those decisions.
“When we were planning the editorial redesign, we thought carefully about how WestJet guests experience travel. We thought about the seamless, positive travel experience WestJet provides, and we thought about how we could bring that seamlessness into the magazine.” says WestJet Magazine Editor Jill Foran. “We wanted to create a reading experience that reflects the WestJet experience.”
To that end, the team reconsidered the flow of the magazine’s editorial content, creating three new departments: Seek, Roam and Feast. Seek covers the planning stage of travel, offering inspiration, ideas and tips on everything from planning to packing, and Roam focuses on destinations and their experiences, sights and attractions. As for Feast, Foran says, “No matter where you are, everyone has to eat. You can never say enough about food and dining experiences, and people never tire of trying new dishes.”
The result is a magazine that serves up equal parts inspiration and practical advice at every stage of the journey.
One of the primary goals for the WestJet Magazine art team was to give the publication a clean, contemporary look, while evoking the timeless romance of travel. Design Director Steve Collins and Art Director Teresa Johnson made one specific choice that infuses the magazine with a hint of vintage-travel flair. To introduce locations, WestJet Magazine uses specific typefaces — Brandon, Core, Lulo and Nexa — that resemble stamps.
“It feels like a passport stamp; it tells you that you’ve gone somewhere,” Johnson says. “We were partly inspired by vintage travel posters and postcards. We wanted the magazine to embody that sense of wanderlust — that very particular excitement you feel when you find yourself somewhere new.”
When developing new functionality and a new look for westjetmagazine.com, the web team worked closely with the print design team. It was essential that the brand translate seamlessly between the two platforms. Assistant Editor Sara Samson, who oversees the website, says she was also influenced by trends in social media and web content in general.
“Instagram is the fastest-growing social media platform and it’s entirely visual,” Samson says. “Websites — and not just magazine websites — are increasingly inspired by magazine print design, which is highly readable but also visually striking.” Samson also notes that people almost always tell travel stories by sharing photos.
While the website had always made use of photography to illustrate stories, the team decided to give more space and breathing room to individual images, both to complement editorial content and tell their own stories (a goal the print design team was also working toward).
The result? “For each destination guide, the page opens with a big, gorgeous photo of that place,” Samson says. “It’s such an evocative, inspiring way to introduce a destination.”
Read the January issue of WestJet Magazine, which includes New York City dining tips from Anthony Bourdain