Our democracies have been challenged by divisive efforts yelling «fake-news» on the one hand and a shaken-up media industry searching for new business models on the other hand. This is why we were thrilled when MediaPioneer approached us to help build their product and business from scratch — on the water. And not just any media start-up. A literal media ship with an unprecedented mission: redefining independent journalism.
We were asked in August 2019 to come on board to help invent, shape, and create a new form of independent, investigative information distribution. Coming from strong podcast roots, the broadcasting platform will be scalable to cover all types of media and adapt to evolving customer needs over time.
Only a big thinker could envision a project of this scope. The big thinker, in this case, is Gabor Steingart. Award-winning journalist, former chief editor of Handelsblatt, the publisher of Germanys’ biggest newsletter and podcast ‘Steingarts Morning Briefing’ and now the founder of ThePioneer, a novel type of media company. An independent, ad-free, and to the point media-house that embraces new media in a variety of formats like newsletters, podcasts, and live interviews.
An original and unusual stage was built for their high-quality journalism: the Pioneer One, a floating editorial ship with all journalists and editorial staff on board. The ship with the editorial team onboard sailing past the Federal President's Office, the Federal Chancellery, and the Parliament building on the Spree river that connects all government buildings. The ship floats as a symbol for journalisms’ unconditional independence.
For Edenspiekermann, this project was close to the teams’ hearts as we were able to bring our full spectrum of ability and capacity to the table. Starting with the kick-off workshop we mapped out all questions that needed to be answered in the weeks to come. What should this broadcasting platform look like? What does it feel like? How should it be positioned? How will the design support its mission and positioning? What technologies will need to be implemented for the digital platform to be as forward-thinking as the concept itself? What design principles will radiate the mission of independent journalism and transparency to the readers? In the exploration phase, we leave no question unasked.
All content produced by the ThePioneer editorial team needs to be delivered to the reader, watcher, and listener in a seamless experience on all devices and outlets. The concept had to be dynamic, with open doors for the integration of new and existing podcasts or other formats. The journalists and editors are and had to be perceived as strong, autonomous author brands, living under the big Media Pioneer umbrella. Clear and strong information visualization and sharp infographics to simplify the complex were another core focal point of the platform development.
“We love collaborating with start-ups and corporate ventures to bring their innovative ideas to life — acting as one strong product team. It was great fun to explore the vision, craft the strategy, invent, and eventually build the product, together.”Christian Hanke, Edenspiekermann
Relevant content has to be found easily and needs to be accessible and fast loading on all devices, while it needs to be presented in the visually most clear and appealing way. The path to a platform that embodies all of the just mentioned aren’t design choices alone. The underlying technical infrastructure and system architecture, as well as the mapping of the user paths, are of utmost importance to this- meaning, this is where our work started.
Later in the process, the foundation and infrastructure were fertile ground for the visible elements to take shape. From the logo of the brand and all it’s subbrands, down to the design language and the stickers on the boat, it all came down to one coherent strategic and visual narrative, we are today proud to present: A platform compiled of strong independent author brands and infographics that help simplify the complex as well as easy to find themes and deep dives on certain topics and threads. The creation of a real seamless user experience and perceived closeness to build lasting relationships with the human using the platform.
The media landscape was ready for a new form of independent, investigative information distribution to rise. We are rooting for this mission to succeed, every step of the way.