We had spent years developing these brands, building the reputation and resources that allowed them to become beloved sources of connection and entertainment. We knew their strengths — and their weaknesses. COMO was our chance to not only bring together our audiences but to speak to an entirely new population that had previously never picked up our magazines. Because of this, our new publication needed to be more than just the best parts of the two existing magazines.
Our goal for COMO was to reflect the Columbia of today, and ultimately how it will grow and evolve. The brand is relevant, inclusive, adaptable and most importantly — personal. We tell a wide range of stories; from a journalistic report on how new regulations are affecting local business, to an intimate portrait of a family dealing with a terminal illness, to a field guide on the best adventurous day trips in our areas. COMO is able to tell the stories of any pocket of our community, while still retaining an identity that gives our editorial team the ability to write stories that are distinctly Columbia and distinctly COMO.
The core color-combos of monochromatic pink, green and blue gave the brand a distinct tone for our launch and the accompanying merchandise and graphics, while our full-spectrum ROYGBIV color palette allows us the flexibility to adapt our designs to the editorial voice.
Typography is a fundamental aspect of any magazine. When it came to selecting fonts, we spent weeks agonizing over every little detail. From legibility to weight distribution, glyph libraries, web availability, and general compatibility — eventually we ended up with a family of typefaces that allows us to adapt our designs to any content thrown our way.
Once we had our new brand personality in place, we still had to design the new publication from scratch! In order to establish the structure the magazine needed, it required a strong brand foundation (check!), and a vast design system of guidelines and best practices allowing our structure to ebb and flow as content changed from issue to issue. To establish these best practices, we allowed the content to inform our design decisions. We built out templates, plugged in archives of past content, addressed frustrations of previous templates, and adjusted until we had the parameters we were confident gave us the flexibility needed. Once we had the skeleton built, we were able to use the brand we had established and sprinkle in some personality to really bring the content to life.