Why, yes, that is a brand new logo. And home page. And font. Tuesday morning we launched a wholesale redesign—our most comprehensive visual revamp in more than a decade. We’ve changed our article pages to make them more legible. We’ve changed our navigation and home page to make our work easier to find. We’ve changed the way we promote our podcasts to make them more discoverable. We’ve changed our code to make the site dazzlingly fast. We’ve changed our approach to editorial art to showcase visual work that’s as distinctive as our writing and yakking. And we’ve changed the logo—including a tweak to our venerable maroon—to give Slate a bold new mark: a third logo for our third decade.
We had a few motives for this transformation. The first is that we wanted to do a better job orienting our visitors. Our old site hid our navigation tools in a discreet menu that revealed itself only when you clicked on it. Our new design features clear navigation on every page, helping new users figure out what Slate is all about and loyal readers find the stuff they’re looking for. We’ve also organized all of our coverage into five verticals: News & Politics, Culture, Technology, Business, and a new one called Human Interest. Our goal is to make clear on every page the full range of our editorial pursuits.
We also wanted to find a visual voice that better matches our mission. At Slate, we strive to bring you surprising and fresh ways to think about the world, in every area we cover. Our audience is relentlessly curious and well-informed, so we love to surface the unexpected angle, or deliver a jolt of clarifying insight. And we cultivate voices you trust to interpret the world with rigor and spirit and style. Our design director, Jason Santa Maria, and his team conjured a visual language that conveys our approach. They brought in the design firm Gretel to help develop our new logo and define aesthetic principles, and then spent months building on those ideas. We’re so thrilled to have a new look that really feels like us.
Our new site also does a better job touting our podcasts alongside our articles. Other outlets may have “pivoted to video,” but at Slate, we’re investing more in both written and audio work. (I guess you could say we’re “pivoting to words.”) The Slate podcast network is thriving, and audio is becoming increasingly central to our coverage. Our shows together received more than 100 million downloads in 2017, and we launched six new programs, including Slow Burn, our chart-topping miniseries about what it felt like to live through Watergate. We’ve got more in store this year, including a narrative podcast from author Michael Lewis, another season of Slow Burn, and a show from our television critic, Willa Paskin. We now have a home page that can support this growth, featuring a prominent promotion tool that allows us to herald new shows and highlight particularly illuminating moments in existing ones. Soon you’ll be able to play key clips right on the page.
Finally, we wanted to better serve our most loyal users. Our last redesign launched in 2013, at the height of the Facebook boom. At the time, many sites—including Slate—were focused on attracting new users through social networks and boosting overall audience size. Our old design reflected that focus, emphasizing social tools that could spur virality rather than fan favorites like the home page, which was widely believed to be dead at the time. Since then, our focus has changed. In 2014, we launched Slate Plus, a growing membership program that gives us an increased financial incentive to keep our most ardent supporters happy. We’ve begun tracking how many minutes you all spend with our work, rather than how many of you there are—a virtuous metric that helps us produce more engaging and valuable stories. And we’ve noticed that our home page isn’t dead at all—in fact, its traffic is up 15 percent from 2015. And so the new Slate is full of features designed to delight our most engaged users, including a home page with clearer hierarchy that we hope will make Slate.com an even more compelling and useful oasis on your internet rounds. (And don’t worry, addicts: The reverse-chronological list of everything we publish—a feature of our home page from the dawn of Slate—remains. It’s just a little farther down.)
You’ll also notice something missing from the site: DoubleX, our women’s section. For more than a decade, we’ve covered women’s issues avidly, and we will continue to do so. But we’ve decided that our coverage of reproductive rights and sexual harassment isn’t women’s news—it’s news. So we’ll be putting it in our News & Politics section. And our coverage of family life, parenting, and relationships isn’t women’s content—these are matters of interest to all humans. So we’re launching a new section, Human Interest, aimed at all readers, that will cover family, relationships, work, and more. (Read a note from its editor here.)
There is much more to tout, and much for you all to discover in the days ahead. Look for wonky and fascinating explanations on the Works from the heroic developers, designers, and product managers who moved mountains to get all this done. Jason Santa Maria kicks things off today with a great post on our iterative development process (it’s why you may have noticed new page designs starting in the summer).
We hope you like our new design as much as we do. And we’re not done yet. We’ll be continuing to tinker and roll out improvements in the coming weeks and months. You may also see a few vestiges of the old site for a time as we get our 21 years’ worth of archives fully transferred. Please take a look around and let us know what you think. We’ll be checking out your feedback in the comments. And consider becoming a Slate Plus member if you like what you see. It’s your support that makes everything we do possible.