Transforming Citynews — A Decade of Design Evolution
Crafting excellence, navigating challenges, and leaving a lasting legacy
I worked at Citynews for nearly a decade. During this time, I established a design team and ushered in new working methodologies. This led to the successful launch of several projects, such as a corporate brand identity, new products, and a Design System.
In 2021, I bid farewell to Citynews after nearly ten years of committed design work. What started as a freelance opportunity blossomed into a significant chapter in my career.
This case study explores the transformative journey I embarked on at Citynews, focusing on key projects, technical constraints, personal growth, and the challenges I surmounted along the way.
Citynews provided me with an incredible canvas for creativity and innovation. Starting as a freelance designer, I initially joined to redesign their brand websites and community platforms.
My responsibilities expanded in 2015 when I was called back to spearhead a responsive design strategy and revamp the brand identity across all editorial products.
In April 2016, I officially joined the company as the Head of Design.
Over the years, I led the product design team, nurturing and collaborating with talented individuals who embraced my vision.
Together, we established a robust workflow in tandem with various departments, introducing cutting-edge tools and methodologies.
A significant milestone was the creation of the Global Design Language (GDL), a comprehensive Design System aimed at delivering exceptional experiences across all corporate brands. We introduced in late 2020 and it’s currently used.
Additionally, I oversaw the redesign of internal tools such as the Content Management System (CMS) and Customer Relantionship Management (powered by SuiteCRM), collaborating closely with people from various departments.
The evolution continued as we crafted iOS and Android mobile apps, iterating from v1 to v6. I lead the design and development work, managing external resources and suppliers.
I personally developed a responsive design strategy, optimizing the design, front-end, and development workflows.
In 2018, we proudly launched the new corporate website. A pivotal achievement was crafting a coherent, flexible, and scalable visual identity that resonated with all Citynews brands.
Notably, I engineered a front-end framework from scratch, leveraging technologies like Nunjucks, Git, Gulp, Node.js, and Fractal.
- Design System (GDL): The Citynews Global Design Language was meticulously crafted to ensure consistency across all corporate brands. It encompassed UI elements, typography, color schemes, and interaction guidelines, enhancing user experience and brand recognition.
- Responsive Design Strategy: Implementing a responsive design approach required reevaluating our design, front-end, and development workflows. This ensured that Citynews’ digital presence was seamlessly accessible across all devices and screen sizes.
- Front-End Framework: To streamline development, I initiated the development of a custom front-end framework. Leveraging technologies such as Nunjucks, Git, Gulp, Node.js, and Fractal, this framework optimized collaboration and expedited project delivery.
My tenure at Citynews was not just about transforming the company. It was a journey of personal growth.
I learned the value of leadership, teamwork, and adaptability. Collaborating with talented individuals and navigating the dynamic landscape of design and technology significantly enriched my skillset.
I honed my project management abilities and developed a keen eye for detail, crucial in maintaining design consistency and quality.
Every journey is marked by challenges, and Citynews was no exception. Some of the key hurdles included:
- Managing Diverse Teams: Leading a diverse team with varying skill sets and perspectives required effective communication, patience, and adaptability to ensure our collective vision was realized.
- Implementing New Tools and Workflows: Introducing new tools and workflows across departments was met with resistance initially. It took time to demonstrate the benefits and ensure a smooth transition.
- Designing for Multiple Platforms: Adapting design concepts to multiple platforms, from web to mobile, demanded meticulous attention to detail and extensive testing to guarantee a seamless user experience.
- Scaling Design: As Citynews expanded, maintaining a coherent visual identity while accommodating growth presented a unique challenge. The creation of the GDL was instrumental in addressing this.
In conclusion, my journey with Citynews has been a remarkable adventure of personal and professional growth, technical innovation, and creative excellence.
I carry with me a wealth of experiences and lessons that will continue to shape my future endeavors as a designer.