In 2015 The Huffington Post embarked on a reinvention of online journalism via its long-form journal, Highline. Author and New York Times bestseller Steven Brill imagined “a new kind of experience for readers: one that combines the comprehensiveness of a book with the interactivity and immediacy of the web.” Not shy of a challenge, we jumped at the opportunity to take on the production of this innovative project.
words by Steven Brill
illustrations and visualisations
When you’re telling a story of multinational criminality, there’s a lot of money – and a lot of data – that threatens to cloud the truth. Working closely with Highline editors, we produced a variety of impactful data visualisations, including interactive tools, which helped readers understand the facts and determine the truth of the matter for themselves.
Each chapter of America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker is accompanied by a dynamic timeline representing in condensed form the many twists and turns of the Risperdal saga. The timeline was responsive to the reader’s progress, presenting events as they transpired within the context of the article. Each date was expandable for further examination by readers and the timeline was independently scrollable to give the reader the ability to cut back or forward through time.
With a rotating cast of over thirty to keep track of, we developed a dynamic character key which refreshed readers on the who’s who of the unfolding saga. Like the timeline feature, our character key sat alongside the main article and was responsive to the progress of the reader, bringing characters into focus for their time in the limelight.
Parallax Cover Illustration
Each new chapter was paired with a full page parallax illustration to introduce the thematic elements of the content to come. Our aim was to evoke a mood without casting judgement. Subtle texture and a deliberately simplified colour palette added gravitas these labour intensive and deceptively simple interactive designs.
It is the job of the editorial illustrator to illuminate, clarify and lend weight to the story being told. In-house illustrators Pablo Espinosa and Victor Antonelli produced more than 62 moving (often in both senses of the word) illustrations for America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker that amplified the story and heightened the emotional impact.
We had expected this high profile story to generate buzz, and personal feedback from Arianna Huffington amongst others helped make all the efforts on the project worthwhile.
We continue to work with the Huff Post Highline team on new stories, and the goal of redefining online journalism.