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 digital property Input Mag, redesigning its science entertainment destination Inverse, and relaunching the iconic Nylon and Bustle publications.

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

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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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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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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BDG overview

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A Bold Vision for Healthcare

From patient-centric products to back-end systems for providers, we’re reimagining how healthcare is experienced.

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Bustle Digital Group

Modern Storytelling for Bustle Digital Group

Over six years, we invented new media platforms and reinvigorated classics—all with unparalleled design paradigms.

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  • Bold creative identities
  • Flexible and scalable design systems
  • Customizable card formats and interactive storytelling

Evolving the Financial Services Model

We're transforming an antiquated industry through cutting-edge design—and driving the future of finance forward.

Digital Media. Redefined.

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

Cultivating Community in Education & Government

We’re strengthening some of the most influential institutions through digital-first platforms and communications tools.

Shifting the Digital Fashion Paradigm

Vogue | Creating a Smarter, Lighter, More Fluid and Fully-Responsive Vogue.com

Transforming
the Physical
into Digital

From museums to film festivals, we’re building online ecosystems that recast physical experiences as digital worlds.

Promoting Travel & Hospitality

From staycation to spontaneous getaways, we help clients make the journey more exciting and efficient.

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Recognition

  • Code and Theory

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    2020 Agency A-List
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    2020 Best Places to Work
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    DIGIDAY

    2019 Creative Agency of the Year

All Work

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Rivian | Launching the World's First Electric Adventure Vehicle

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab | A Digital Platform Transforming the Medical Field

Nasdaq MarketSite | Nasdaq's Global HQ in NYC Gets a Pervasive Digital Infusion

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MotorTrend | A Gaming App Experience for Car Connoisseurs

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NBC News | Launching Three News Verticals for the Media Giant

Sky Italia | A Modern Digital Experience for the Italian Media Platform

StuyTown | Human Design Built for Scale

The Venetian | Redefining Luxury in Las Vegas

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

Quest Diagnostics | Reinventing the Quest Digital Patient Experience

Mailchimp | A Digital Platform for Emerging Writers and Creators

MetLife Investment Management | A New Platform for the Industry Powerhouse

Mailchimp | Launching the New Digital Home for Tomorrow's Filmmakers

Bustle Digital Group | Modern Storytelling for Bustle Digital Group

CNN | Understanding American Elections, One Visualization at a Time

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

PGIM | Unifying PGIM's Global Asset Management Network

Xerox | Making Now Work: A New Campaign for a New Time

NBC Sports | Going Local: An NBC Sports App to Connect Fans and Home Teams

Giffords | Launching a Powerful Resource to Spark Action on Gun Violence

NBC | 16 Days With the World's Biggest Website

Eurosport | Bringing Live Sports to the Palm of Your Hand

Vogue | Creating a Smarter, Lighter, More Fluid and Fully-Responsive Vogue.com

MCM | Using Data to Empower an Iconic Luxury Brand for Growth

Moncler | Bridging the Audience Gap with Moncler

CoinDesk | Relaunching a Pillar of the Blockchain Community

J.P. Morgan | Powering the Financial Leader's Acquisition Engine

BBC News | Finite News Optimized for the Video Generation

The Council on Foreign Relations | Modernizing the Digital Presence of a Storied Institution

Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library | Defining the New Digital Museum Experience

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco | A Modern Identity System Uniting Two Eclectic Museums

The Jewish Museum | Bridging the Museum's Physical and Digital Experiences

Input | A Brand New Destination About Technology in Our Lives

Nylon | Re-introducing an Iconic Publishing Brand

United Technologies | Uniting a Quarter Million Employees Under One Platform

One Night | An App Experience Fit for One Night of Spontaneity

Facebook | Digital Tools to Revive and Inspire the Journalism Industry

Xfinity Mobile | Launching Comcast's Category-Breaking Mobile Service

Burger King | Creating a Movement by Bringing Back Burger King's Chicken Fries

Variety Magazine | Rebuilding Variety's Online Experience

Condé Nast | Distinguishing GQ France as a Leading Lifestyle Voice for French Men

Burger King | A 360 Campaign Rewarding March Madness Fans

Hearst | Creating a Differentiated Yet Useful Site Experience

Hearst | Matching Hearst's Digital Experience to Its Physical Publications

InStyle | Building a New, Responsive InStyle.com

Finlandia | Creating a Digital Campaign Toasting the Less Ordinary Aspects of Life

LA Times | The Los Angeles Times Makeover

NBC Universal | NBCUniversal.com

Outernet | Outernet Satellite Dish

Rockwell Group | Behind the Design of Rockwell Group

Bloomberg | A Completely Original Take on Political Coverage

Starwood | Maximizing Preferred Guest Rewards Redemption

NY.gov | A New Online Presence for New York State

The Webby Awards | An Inspiring New Digital Home for the Arbiters of the Best on the Web

DSQUARED | A New Online Experience for International Fashion House DSQUARED2

San Francisco Travel Association | Creating a Product Worthy of One of Earth's Most Beautiful Places

The Green Bay Packers | A Game-Changing Mobile Experience

Guggenheim Partners | A United Digital Vision for an Innovative Investment Manager

The Huffington Post | A Redesign for the 10th Anniversary

H&R Block | A New Tax Offering for Expats

SiriusXM | Creating a Sophisticated Product Rooted in SiriusXM Content

Visit California | Experience California Like Never Before

Globe And Mail | The Globe and Mail Adopts a Responsive Philosophy

Bloomberg | Creating a Smarter, Faster Bloomberg.com

G6 Hospitality | A New, Reliable and Efficient Motel6.com

Vanity Fair | Transforming a Summit Site into a Responsive, Flexible Destination

Bloomberg | A High-Impact Ad Strategy for Bloomberg Media

H&R Block | A Tool for Doubling the Speed of Tax Completion

Stylight | Making Style Happen by Crafting an Unforgettable Brand Experience

LBCI | Setting the Benchmark for Future Lebanese Digital Experiences

New York State Senate | A Digital Platform for Transparency, Engagement and Communication

H&R Block | Block Advisors, a Financial Planning Service Built Around You

Communication Arts | A New Era for the Iconic Inspirational Hub

Burger King | Introducing Grilled Dogs with Snoop Dogg

WWE | Building a Content Platform for Heavy Lifting

International Rescue Committee | A Responsive Site for the World's First Responders

HearstLive | The World From a Hearst Point of View

The Outline | The First Modern Mutation in Digital Publishing

NBC News | A New Experience for Digital News

MIT Sloan School of Management | Crafting a Platform for Ideas Made to Matter

Brand USA | Amplifying the USA as an International Travel Destination

U.S. Chamber of Commerce | A Brand and Platform for Small Business Partnerships

Jiffy Lube | Building a Better Customer Experience: Online and Inside the Garage

American Express | Turning an Acquisition Journey into a Bento Box

American Bar Association | Modernizing One of the World's Largest Professional Organizations

Sunbrella | Redefining the Digital Textile Space

The Scene | Introducing The Scene, Conde Nast's Ultimate Content Platform

The Guardian | A Native Platform for One of the World's Most Iconic Publishers

Indigo AG | Adopting Regenerative Practices with the Terraton Initiative

Woodford Reserve | Creating a 3-Act Story Based Around Learning, Tasting and Cocktails

Comcast | Innovating the Customer Experience from Pipeline to Platform

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

Pulped | Providing Provocative, Alternative and Irreverent Video Content

Foursquare | Visualizing Data for the Platform's Pinpoint Ad Product

Consumer Reports | Turning a Transactional Brand into a Shared Lifestyle Community

The New Center | A New Home Devoted to Saving the American Political Discourse

NYCEDC | A New Hub for New Yorkers to Grow Their Business

New York Life | What 170 Years of Success Looks Like for Today's Evolving World

TEGNA | Creating a Centralized CMS for 39 Local News Stations

The Truth | Rebuilding a Revolutionary Brand for Modern Times

Yonder Music | Yonder Music Hear Forever

NBC News | NBC's Iconic Morning Show Becomes a Digital Lifestyle Destination

Citi Ventures | A Mobile Banking Service for a New Generation

Prong | Redesigning the New All-In-One Prong PWR Case

Comcast Corporate | From Corporate to Modern: Comcast's Brand New Platform

C40 Cities Finance Facility | A Platform Built for a More Sustainable Future

Nuveen | Giving an Age-Old Investment Behemoth New Digital Prowess

NBC News | Designing Snapchat's First Daily-News Program

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Get in Touch

  • Find Us

    One World Trade Center,
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    New York, NY 10007

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