Bustle Digital Group

Modern Storytelling for Bustle Digital Group



Bustle Digital Group has been focused on the business of acquiring publications, and Code and Theory has been an integral partner in helping them grow their portfolio and rethink modern digital storytelling over a multi-year engagement.

Our long history of collaboration with Joshua Topolsky began before he became editor-in-chief at BDG. It all began in 2009 when we partnered to relaunch Engadget, and the relationship has extended through launching the Verge with Vox Media in 2011, reimagining Bloomberg News and launching Bloomberg Politics in 2015, and then creating and launching The Outline and its novel card system in 2016, which BDG purchased a few years later.

After these successful partnerships, Joshua tasked us with launching or redesigning seven (and counting) category-breaking digital properties.


The Outline

The First Modern Mutation In Digital Publishing

With the looming threat of the publishing industry dying out, Joshua Topolsky, founding editor and publisher of The Outline, saw an opportunity in this chaotic and unpredictable media landscape.

The Outline is the deliberate alternative to the conventions of digital publishing. Whereas most publications get lost in a sea of homogenized content, the Outline offers a striking contrast, knowing how its unique users work — and what they want to see. It answers the question of what Tinder would look like if it replaced profile pictures with premium headline cards.

The core idea driving the vision is simple: Quality matters more than quantity. Quality storytelling, quality design and interface, quality ads, and quality audience.

Every post on the site is given a fully art-directed digital card that offers a variety of formats. Headlines might be bullet-pointed arguments, evocative phrases, interactive visuals, data visualizations, or pull quotes. Some headlines are designed to tell a complete story; some are used to frame a long-form essay.

The Outline understands that the digital era should make it possible to tell more stories in many more ways. It also knows that the details matter. The only way to properly execute this vision is to redesign the entire platform and to start experimenting.

The Outline


Input & Inverse

Faster, More Efficient Ways to Consume Content

These two sister sites answer some of the most important questions facing the media landscape: How can new storytelling methods cut through the clutter? How can content be more efficient and smarter for readers? What are fresh, new, visual ways to convey the same ideas to readers when everybody's brain moves at Twitter speed?

There is no traditional homepage on Input and Inverse. To make content reach users faster and more efficiently, the site's navigation structure is centered around the feed, or the stream—an infinite scroll of cards that represents a story.

Each story offers a snippet—the headline, maybe a quote, a key stat, or a GIF, along with some information. The reader can then expand that story in the feed to read more, or continue scrolling. When one story finishes, users scroll right back into the infinite stream of stories.

Input and Inverse are built on the same back-end system but with different front-end visual expressions.

Input was inspired by old-school risograph designs with vibrant and colorful paint-like vibes. We then introduced modern CSS image effects and chose big, bold typography for impactfulness. Inverse was meant to be Input’s dark, mysterious, cinematic twin. The color schemes are sharper with higher contrasts, more gradients, and shadows to give a scientific, futuristic counterpoint to Input.

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Nylon & Bustle

Re-introducing Two Iconic Publishing Brands

As the card system continued to evolve, we began to scale it to other properties in the portfolio. Nylon and Bustle attract a predominantly female audience, focusing more on music, entertainment, beauty, and lifestyle.

New audiences and topics meant new card types and new design motifs: horoscope cards, Q&A cards, e-commerce cards. Digital Issue Hubs and long-form article pages support Nylon and Bustle’s content calendars: monthly issues, cover shoots, and sit-down interviews.

The new, unique visual identities of Nylon and Bustle reflect its audience and editorial intent.

The primary audience for Bustle is the smart, witty, intelligent woman. The design features bold and clean typography with clear hierarchy and big moments to show off original photography. The color palette is warm, clean, and mature, and circular, graphic elements and postage stamp motifs bring out the visual personality of the site.

Nylon is all about discovering the next big thing in entertainment and music. Our design system brings to life grungy textures, graphical references like a music festival posters, hand-written graphics, and bold, energetic typography. The grid and scale of elements reflects the slower publishing pace with large imagery and expressive type.

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Content Consumption Fit for Mom

Leveraging the extensive card system we've created for the previous brands in the Bustle Digital Group portfolio, we’ve redesigned one of the most exciting yet - Romper. The go to destination for Mom.

The primary audience for Romper is the informed, stylish, on-the-go Mom, with content topics ranging from Pregnancy to Toddler. The design provides a clear path of consumption to eloquently balance the need for dense content and spatial imagery. Romper features a warm palette, making any user feel an instance sense of comfortability and reliability.

We created multi-faceted reading experiences that allowed Mom’s. with all types of schedules, to engage with content in the formats that fit their consumption habits all throughout the day…providing them quick hits of information throughout the day while giving them a relaxing space to unwind and deep dive in the evening.

Romper is about getting to the right content to her at the right time.

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The Zoe Report

The Go-To Site for the Go-To Trends

With over a decade of publishing experience since it first launched, The Zoe Report is the approachable middle ground between lifestyle and high-fashion within the Bustle Digital Group Universe, allowing for editors and stylists to cater to their audiences every consumption need.

The site provides editors with the ability to leverage a more subtle color palette, or when appropriate, easily change it up to interject color to support the larger site narrative. Think, Spring in Bloom. From featured editorial pieces to bespoke product lists, our tried and true storytelling card system flexes to manage any and all of The Zoe Reports needs.

Leaning on our existing Product System and ensuring that it feels unique and bespoke to The Zoe Report editorial teams needs while continuing to adhere to our original strategic direction and goals established with The Bustle Digital Group more than five years ago.



W Magazine

A New Design with a Timeless Feel

Fresh and original, our new design revamp for W marks a new chapter for this iconic publication. Launched in 1972, W is the premier fashion and culture destination, known for celebrating diversity and discovery through stunning visuals and eloquent storytelling.

The refined design features stay true to the spirit of W while providing a clean setting that allows every element of a photograph to shine through. The design also includes a fine balance in content and spacing so the reading experience is streamlined and enjoyable, never overwhelming.

Our bold design system allows readers to peruse inventive photography, thought-provoking features, and immersive editorials at their leisure, offering a chic, unique, and intelligent alternative to mainstream fashion titles. The card story format allows W o showcase its extensive collection of stunning photography and its breadth of fashion portfolios in an immersive experience that is reminiscent of the original printed magazine. It also adds interesting movement and visuals that enhance the storytelling of its editorial pieces.

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Elite Daily

Bold, bright, and bursting with personality

Elite Daily is dedicated to keeping readers in the loop, so our all-new design system guarantees they won’t miss a beat. Joyful and bold, this new look connotes the publication’s emphasis on wanderlust and optimism.

As a hub for all things lifestyle, relationships, and entertainment, Elite Daily covers relevant topics and promotes inclusion. They connect with their young audience through a bold personality and bright look.

With dayglow-inspired styles and bold typography, the design system captures that luster. The lively texture against the poppy, neon color palette creates a modern feel—it illuminates Elite Daily’s exuberance.

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Don’t Call It a Comeback

Instead, think: revamp. Dedicated to providing readers with brow-raising gossip and animated opinion pieces, Gawker is ready to be bold and turn heads. The publication’s tongue-in-cheek humor and unapologetic tone is solace for an audience looking to indulge in thoughts they may be too scared to say out loud.

The new era of this publication is lively and breaths fresh air into the name. This concept is mimicked in the design system with uniquely laid out compositions, bold colors, and lively typography. It facilitates an entertaining and engaging experience, all the while still bringing a touch of class and sophistication.

Gawker’s new design system was made with the audiences’ attention in mind. Lively typography paired with the new bold primary color scheme lets readers know this is information they don’t want to skip. Card stories are a quick and efficient way for readers to access a curation of Gawker published content such as celebrity news and amusing opinion pieces instantly.

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All Mobile
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Sutter Health

Meet Scout: A Powerful Tool Building Resilience in Today's Youth

Scout is a mental health and resilience app making care and intervention more accessible for teens and young adults..

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  • +40% Increase in reported user resiliency
  • Developed as a progressive web app for maximum accessibility across the socio-economic spectrum
  • 2024 Webby Winner in Apps & Software - Health, Wellness & Fitness
  • Code and Theory built, designed and launched Scout.

Driving B2B Growth

Partnering with some of the world's largest companies to fuel their business-to-business expansion.

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Marriott Bonvoy

Reimagining Marriott Bonvoy as a Hub for Travel and Commerce

Evolving Bonvoy’s design system to be more modern and immersive while staying true to the core strong brand identity.

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  • Mobile-First
  • Contextualized Conversion
  • Flexible Design and Content Systems

Evolving E-commerce to Fit Modern Audiences

We are shaping the digital transformation of the industry by creating strong connections between audiences and brands.

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Electric Driving For a Progressive Future

Designing and engineering a state-of-the-art web experience as impressive and exhilarating as the Polestar car itself.

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  • Led design and product strategy for Polestar's web and mobile experiences
  • Developed an information architecture with no dead ends
  • Designed a flexible UI kit to unify every digital touchpoint
  • Fast Company Honoree for Retail and User Experience in Innovation by Design Awards

Leading With Empathy and Inclusivity

Having deeper conversations, widening the funnel, and driving innovation with an inclusive-first lens.

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  • Code and Theory

    Ad Age A-List

    2024 Business Transformation Agency of the Year
  • YETI x Code and Theory

    Innovation by Design

    2023 Best in Marketing
  • Code and Theory

    Innovation by Design

    2023 Design Company of the Year
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Simplifying Grocery Shopping for Millions

Building and unifying the digital ecosystem for one of the largest food and drug retailers in the US.

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  • Modernized the ecommerce experience
  • Created a scalable design system
  • Integrated 10+ disparate apps into one, reducing overhead
  • Launched in six months
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Speed to Market for a Portfolio Optimization Tool

Crafting a UI for a complex product through user input and clear data visualization.

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  • Improving workflow processes through enhanced user interface design
  • Clear and simple data visualizations for complex data sets
  • Designing a roadmap to continue to iterate and optimize the product on a rolling basis post-launch

All Work

Tipico | Succeeding on a Mission to Win Ohio

Simpli.fi | Building a Brand for the Future of AdTech

Amazon | Amazon Ads: Ads that work as hard as you do

Equifax | Modernizing Equifax Canada’s Customer Tools

Comcast | Commercializing the Comcast Cybersecurity Experience

The Ritz-Carlton | Redefining the Legacy of Luxury for a Powerhouse in Hospitality

YETI | Map The Gaps - Taking Google Street View Way Off The Street

YETI | Year in Preview

Champion | Evolving an Iconic Brand for a New Generation

Albertsons | Simplifying Grocery Shopping For Millions

Electric Driving Built for a Progressive Future | Electric Driving Built for a Progressive Future

Harris Williams | Modernizing Harris Williams with a Future-Leaning Tech Stack

Allstate Protection Plans | Bringing SquareTrade Into The Allstate Family

TikTok | Building Confidence in TT4B Solutions

Marriott Bonvoy Leisure | Reimagining Marriott Bonvoy As A Hub For Travel Content And Commerce

Meta for Business | Creating Connective Tissue to Drive Engagement

Pfizer World | Shaping a Platform into a Beacon for New Priorities and Ways of Work

Allspring Remi Advisor Tools | Crafting a UI Through User Input and Clear Data Visualization

Citizens Bank | Driving Growth For a Storied Financial Institution

Galleri | Introducing a Revolutionary Medical Feat to the Market

Adidas | Engaging a Demographic With Digital Storytelling

The New School | Building Flexible, Data-Driven Pathways for an Academic Innovator

Citadel | Citadel & Citadel Securities Websites

KPMG | Reimagining KPMG US

Johnson & Johnson | Transforming a CPG Powerhouse Into an Inclusive Digital-First Marketer

Daymaker | A Platform Redesign That Supports Local Nonprofits in the U.S.

Bare Necessities | Redefining Fit

Kaplan | Transforming the Digital Ecosystem of a Major Education Provider

Pagaya | Empowering Financial Opportunity

1-800-FLOWERS | Celebrating Gifting With a One-Stop Shop

ConEd | Building A Future Vision For Clean Energy In New York

Party City | Turning a Brick-and-Mortar Mainstay Into an Online Phenom

KYLA Kombucha | Elevating A Beverage Brand's Positioning And Creative Strategy

Washington Football Team | Charting A New Path For An Iconic Institution

Legence | Designing the Digital Presence for a Formidable New Brand

Bustle Digital Group | Scary Mommy: Not Your Mom's Mag

Bustle Digital Group | Gawker | Don't Call It A Comeback

Amazon Ads | Making Amazon Essential for Every Ad Buy

H&M | Modernizing The Intersection Of Inspiration And E-commerce

College Board | Positioning College Board as an Integrated Partner for Students

The Commonwealth Fund | Rebuilding a 100-Year-Old Foundation for the Next Century

National Council on Aging (NCOA) | A Personalized Digital Experience For America's Older Adults

adidas Superstar | Change Is A Team Sport

adidas Running | Bringing In-The-Moment Running Experiences To Boost Product Discovery

adidas Originals James Harden | Launching The Next Chapter In Adidas Basketball

The Venetian | Redefining Luxury in Las Vegas

MetLife Investment Management | Introducing A New Platform For An Institutional Powerhouse

William Hill Estate | Putting Chardonnay On Trend

Nexstar Media Group | Helping 130+ Local News Stations Transition to Digital

Giffords | Launching A Powerful Resource To Spark Action On Gun Violence

PGIM | Unifying PGIM's Global Asset Management Network

Bustle Digital Group | Modern Storytelling For Bustle Digital Group

J.P. Morgan | The First End-To-End Digital Platform In Commercial Real Estate

Xerox | Making Now Work: A New Campaign For A New Time

Mailchimp | A Digital Platform For Emerging Writers And Creators

Sky Italia | A Modern Digital Experience For The Italian Media Platform

Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library | Defining The New Digital Museum Experience

Nylon | ReIntroducing An Iconic Publishing Brand

Mailchimp | Launching The New Digital Home For Tomorrow's Filmmakers

Input | A Brand New Destination About Technology In Our Lives

Morton Salt | Putting More Salt On US Tables

Cartier | Reimagining Cartier's Retail Experience

Sunbrella | Redefining The Digital Textile Space

Axe | An Iconic Men's Grooming Brand Known For Bold Marketing

CoinDesk | Relaunching A Pillar Of The Blockchain Community

Dignity Health | Delivering A Best-In-Class Digital Experience

NYCEDC | A New Hub For New Yorkers To Grow Their Business

Indigo AG | Adopting Regenerative Practices With The Terraton Initiative

TEGNA | Creating A Centralized CMS For 39 Local News Stations

The Jewish Museum | Bridging The Museum's Physical And Digital Experiences

Bustle Digital Group | Fatherly: From Dude to Dad

Rally | Elevating the Site Experience for a Crypto Pioneer

Bustle Digital Group | Mic – Stories That Fuel Curiosity, Creativity, and Change

CBRE | Building A Digital Infrastructure A Major Real-Estate Firm

Dean & Deluca | Connected Physical And Digital Gourmet Grocery Experiences

Vogue | A Fresh New Look for Vogue.com

SOM | Designing a Site For The Legacy of Architecture’s Most Prolific Firm

Xywav | A Flexible Component Library For The Jazz Brand

BioReference | Launching An On-Demand Healthcare Offering During A Pandemic

Says a Lot —


News — 

Code and Theory Named ANA B2B Agency of the Year

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Code and Theory, a Stagwell (STGW) Network Company, Named Ad Age Business Transformation Agency of the Year

News — 

KnowTechie | Figma’s bet on FigJam’s AI will make meetings more bearable

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Fast Company | Figma is betting its AI can make meetings less terrible—even without Adobe’s backing

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Mediapost | Stagwell, RealClearPolitics Unveil New Polling Platform

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CampaignLive | Behavior as a prompt: Why AI’s ability to anticipate will change business forever

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Campaign US | Behavior as a prompt: Why AI’s ability to anticipate will change business forever

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Insider Intelligence | B2B Marketing Trends to Watch in 2024

We Are a Technology-First Creative Agency

What We Do

Code and Theory is a strategically driven, digital-first agency that lives at the intersection of creativity and technology. We solve consumer and business problems with end-to-end solutions that flex to meet the needs of today’s ever-changing digital landscape.

Our Services

We provide a range of offerings built to support the entire ecosystem.

  • Data, Analytics and Research

    Our data-driven approach enables us to understand every aspect of end-to-end consumer journeys, and powers our work from start to finish.

  • Business & Organizational Consulting

    We work with our clients not only to define and deliver products, services and communications, but also to design the business itself.

  • Transformational Technology

    We help our clients reinvent their technical infrastructure and roadmap in order to deliver for the needs of today and tomorrow.

  • Services, Platforms & Products

    We create best-in-class platforms built around both the user and the business goals, often extending into connected physical expressions.

  • Integrated Marketing

    We deliver the right messages to new and existing customers across the entire ecosystem.

Our Offices

We have locations around the world.

Join Our Team

We're not typical, and neither are you. We're always looking to hire smart, interesting and forward-thinking people.
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Code and Theory is a proud member of Stagwell Group. Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 13,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com