At over 10,000 subscribers, Charged delivers noise-free tech news via a weekly newsletter and podcast. Charged is largely geared towards the tech community. They round up the best technology stories, long reads and top startups for people with little time or just need the hottest scoop.
In mid 2016 Charged was experiencing rapid community growth. They just started a podcast and had begun blogging on Medium. At that time the newsletter, blog and podcast were all on different domains and there was no additional information about the community. It was also at this stage that Charged began to seriously explore sponsorship opportunities.
Charged needed everything in one, centralised place. Having everything together would not only make the newsletter, blog and podcast easier to find/browse, but also give them a platform that could be grown over time.
Charged opted for something light, clean, modern and sleek. The majority of their community are early adopters of technology and very active online. This means their expectations of the web are high and they have a keen eye for design.
It was also important for things such as old newsletters and podcast episodes to be easy to find. While search is helpful in this case, so is something like a 'quick find' that quickly takes to to a point in time. I knew that I wanted to have something like this to make it quick and easy for people to find older content.
The main call to action of the Charged site is to convince the viewer to subscribe. To encourage this I decided on having a top, clutter free header that makes it dead easy to register.
Charged wanted to get into blogging on their own site instead of a Medium publication. The original site was basic. There were two archives (which created some confusion) and not much space for more info to be added. Not only this but the podcast didn't exist on the site and was on it's own domain. This fragmented the experience of Charged as viewers had to know where to go.
The new site consolidates everything together, introduces a blogging platform, consolidated archives, about, sponsor and more. Company logos were added for social proof.
While they didn't want to stray too far from their original branding, Charged knew that their logo needed a bit of a facelift to something a bit more versatile and sophisticated. The old logo was falling a bit flat and starting to lose some appeal as visual design trends have changed.
The original logo was loud, in your face, rigid and bold. The new logo is a bit softer and plays with a more sophisticated typeface. The brand colour of red remained however was tweaked to something a little friendlier and less-harsh.
Up until this point the Charged podcast had been running for about 6 months but lacked any distinguishable branding. To give it a life of it's own I introduced a secondary colour to represent the podcast. Having the written content (newsletter + blog) red and the spoken content (blue) helps to divide the two and lets people follow one or the other based on their taste or interests. To support this we also added a seperate sign up form.
I created an episode and featured image template for each podcast episode so that they could easily update them themselves each week by following the guidelines.
Along with the web design and branding updates, Charged also needed a new newsletter template that was consistent with the new visual style. Over time Charged began writing more long form in the newsletter, which the old template wasn't initially designed for. The text was too small and sections were oddly separated with rainbow colours and jolting rules. The sign off at the bottom was often missed by readers even though it sometimes contained important information.
The new template not only introduces the new branding but is also softer and cleaner to red. New sections were introduced such as the sponsor section to support Charged's long terms goals of monetisation. The newsletter now reads more as like a digest, with a summary at the top of what's included as well as a section for Owen to leave any notes or important information that can't be missed.