Mule

Case Studies

ColorLines

We helped the racial justice leaders at ColorLines unify their brands and make the leap from print to publishing critical news and analysis online.

“Mule’s insightful discovery and design process helped increase our traffic and make the site an overwhelming success.”

Noel Rabinowitz
Director of New Media, Applied Research Center

Merging print and online audiences.

After 12 years as a print magazine, ColorLines was ready to relaunch as an online community. Our challenge was to unite the print version with their established RaceWire blog. We set out to design a cohesive system that embodies the ColorLines mission to spur social change. Post launch, total site visits increased 44%, with a page view increase of 86% over the prior versions of ColorLines.com and RaceWire combined.

Uniting two brands with one mission.

ColorLines had two major publishing knots. The first was combining two sources with different brands and audiences into one online magazine. The second was relaying a complex mission that resets the dialogue on racial justice.

The key was research. We examined the ColorLines and RaceWire readerships and the types of content reporters produced. We helped the ColorLines team to prioritize the tools they needed to make their best work, given realistic publishing timelines and staffing. Together we came up with an editorial strategy ready for the long-haul.

We restructured the navigation to reflect the associative relationships between stories.

What sets ColorLines apart is their institutional focus on complicated social issues. Our attitudes toward workers’ rights or immigration law don’t develop in a vacuum. The interplay between topics and ongoing investigations demanded a top-level navigation based on context, not hierarchy. The new system of navigation is inclusive, yet specific enough to help readers find what they care about.

Capturing the active and engaged work of ColorLines staff, writers, and readers.

The work of ColorLines shifts the conversation on race from the personal to the structural. We wanted the look and feel to be as authoritative as and more insistent than those societal forces. Alongside background diagonals, bright red and blue accents convey movement. The visual system complements both the immediate response to current events and the in-depth investigation and analysis ColorLines offers.

A robust and flexible design puts the work of ColorLines at the forefront.

Once the site launched, the number of visitors increased by 44%. Our collaboration on the ColorLines online strategy supports and extends their mission. The result is a cohesive publication that showcases the vital work the ColorLines team undertakes every day.

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