How we designed a style guide for the Life Magazine Instagram Account

Sunday Independent’s Life magazine front pages

The Sunday Independent’s Life magazine is Ireland’s best-read magazine. It captures, probes and celebrates what life is really like in modern Ireland.

The magazine was revamped both in design and content in October 2020. Content-wise, that meant introducing new voices, starting new conversations and bringing new energy to some long-standing magazine favourites. In terms of design, the print team worked with design consultancy Palmer Watson to bring a contemporary, gender-neutral feel to the magazine that put an emphasis on our powerful writing and impactful photography. Crucially, we also streamlined the size of the print magazine to a more handbag-friendly format.

INM’s product design team entered the picture in relation to bringing the bold new look to life on Instagram. We knew that the visual brand on social media had to coincide with the new visual look and feel that was born in the print magazine and that every editorial element would be the base to start with.

Life Sunday Independent logo

Visualising the identity

We started by creating a mood board so we can discern what other magazines social media content looks like — their profile picture, branding post and building Instagram stories. Great visuals on social media are stronger than ever and they promote social engagement.

Mood board

The style guide

In order to create a consistent and strong brand identity we had to define the three ingredients:

1. Colour palette

The colour palette is an extension of the brand and in pursuance of uniting the brand and the profile, we maintained the same colours used in the logo to the images. The idea is to help readers become familiar with the brand.

The colour palette

2. Font pairing

The magazine typography is very rich and efficient but as much as we would have liked to use the same fonts, we discovered it was not possible due to licensing permissions so we go down to the task of selecting open-source fonts that have similar characteristics and that they were available in the video editor app that was planned to be used.

Fonts selected for the Life magazine Instagram posts and stories
Life Sunday Indo profile feed

3. Templates

We came up with a style that allows all images to be branded and work in harmony in the profile feed. We provided the logo in two versions: monotone and reversed to be able to deal with different colour backgrounds or photography, a similar idea to the magazine front cover.

The logo can be positioned in any corner or top/bottom of the image, always procuring the best contrast with the image.

Additionally, we provided different colour backgrounds to add quotes or text content but using the colour palette for consistency.

Stories

Like the profile feed, Life Sunday Independent Instagram’s stories are customised to keep the same look and feel; same typography and reutilizing the imagery from the magazine.

Life Sunday Independent Instagram stories

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Mediahuis Ireland Product Team

We are Independent News & Media design and technology team writing about how we design, build and optimise our digital products.