Independent Study: Airbnb Magazine

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Tools

Independent Study

Type

3 months

Duration

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Independent Study

I created an Independent Study during my Fall 2019 semester at New Jersey Institute of Technology, which explores editorial design across three platforms: print, web, and mobile. There were three projects spread over a 15 week course. The course was overseen by a Digital Design professor, who has experience in interaction design and editorial design.

Statement of Purpose

The course explored editorial design, focusing on typography, layout, and composition used in the creation of newspapers, magazines, and digital media. The course objective was to investigate and emulate contemporary media. The goal was to not only explore content creation, but also gain the necessary skills to effectively create persuasive contemporary media.

Project 1 Brief

Project 1 involved the exploration of print media such as newspapers and magazines. References could include but were not limited to Vogue, Elle, Time, or The New Yorker. The student must choose a genre of a magazine and then choose a magazine for inspiration. The student must emulate similar characteristics of the chosen magazine using a combination of typography, photography, and layout. The final deliverable includes printed magazine page(s) that emulate contemporary print.

Airbnb Magazine

Research

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  • Concept: A travel magazine promoting Airbnb homes and hosts, with its first issue released in Spring 2017. The magazine's concept focused on the community and connection from a local perspective. A key differing factor that makes Airbnb different from its competitors is helping the traveler feel at home in their new destination or experience.

  • Identity: The covers were created by various artists of the corresponding destination. Unlike the average travel magazine, Airbnb magazine emphasized highlighting the unique notable experiences that could only be experienced if the user fully submerged themselves in the Airbnb experience.

  • Social Presence: The Airbnb magazine website is minimalist, containing information to subscribe to the magazine. Airbnb magazine does not have its own social media platforms.

  • Audience: The magazine targets young adults who are adventurous and most likely experience driven thrill seekers, interested in cultural immersion. Each issue had a variety of spending options for either the budget friendly traveler or a the spendy traveler.

  • Content: The magazine is bimonthly, issued six times a year, with content targeted towards cities where Airbnb travelers will travel to. The magazine content is sub-categorized into three sections: A Day In the Life, Stay, and Insiders Guide.

Analysis

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  • Good Design: The cover illustrations vary in style and design from the destination to experiences. Each cover is individually stylistic and a strong stand alone piece. Each cover illustration encapsulates a feel for the destination.

  • Poor Design: The placement of the barcode is interfering with the cover design. The text highlighting key articles is slightly too small. The size of the logo should be slightly smaller, as it takes away from the illustration.

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October/November 2019

This particular cover had effective visual balance, as the four items on the right: plate of pasta, wine glass, salt and pepper shaker provided visual relief to the statue on the left. The rule of thirds was implemented as ‘Italia !’, wine, and food were placed at intersection of lines, drawing attention to the theme. The heavy placement on the left and right column created an imaginary visual border creating unification of all elements.

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Airbnb magazine has a unique advantage, as they have access to customer's data, specifically where people are traveling to. Therefore, they are able to tailor Airbnb magazine to the top trending destination. For fall 2019, Regina, Canada bookings on Airbnb went up by 328%, as customers were eager to find fall foliage. Regina has an abundance of activities such as Wascana Centre, Royal Saskatchewan Museum, and RCMP Heritage Centre.

Mockup

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I chose to create a cover design of Wacana Centre, in Regina. Wascana Centre offers many activities for locals and travelers such as hiking trails, beautiful parks, a serene lake, and breathtaking fall foliage.

Project 1: Final Design

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Front Cover
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Back Cover

Project 2 Brief

This project involves the exploration of traditional web, such as a website layout for pushing entities. The student should use the same magazine as selected in Project 1 and create an editorial design for their website. The final deliverable includes several digital web pages for the publishing entity. The web pages will include a main and subpage(s) within the website.

Inspiration

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To create brand consistency between print and digital, it was important for Airbnb magazine's website to include vector illustrations. I drew inspirations from various travel and magazine websites to gain a better understanding of website layout and functionality.

Website Criteria 

Airbnb magazine required a combination of elements, as it not only served to provide features of a digital magazine, but also needed to provide a link between the existing Airbnb booking site. Therefore, it was critical that the main menu bar had a 'Book Now' feature. In addition, customers should have the ability to subscribe to the magazine and access subsequent features. To create a unification between print and digital, it was important to have the same design that was on the magazine cover to also be displayed on the homepage of the website.

Mockups

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Homepage 1
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Homepage 2

Wireframe

Project 2: Final Design

Project 3 Brief

This project involves the exploration of mobile application design for the chosen magazine, as used in Project 1 and Project 2. The final deliverable includes integration of a digital magazine in a mobile application. The design should emulate pre existing design concepts used by the company. 

User Scenario Storyboard 

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Mobile Application Analysis

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  • Good Design: On the Explore screen, users can swipe left and right to view additional options. On the Stays screen, users can view pictures of the home. 

  • Poor Design: On the Stays screen, users cannot view all options on one screen. They cannot compare options. 

Inspiration

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  • Good Design: The ability to view all past magazines issues in one screen. Users have the ability to individually purchase each magazine issue. 

  • Poor Design: The subscribe button on the home screen is out of place. Redundant $8.99 button for each magazine. 

Application Criteria 

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The Airbnb magazine section will be Incorporated to the existing Airbnb application to create seamless integration. Therefore, it is necessary to create a magazine icon that will be accessible in the menu bar. Users should have the ability to individually purchase each magazine issue or access the magazines if they are subscribers. There should be continuity in design between the print, website, and mobile application version of the magazine. 

Wireframe

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Menu Hierarchy

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After selecting the Magazine section, users should have access to key sections such as the main Airbnb application, the home screen for the magazine section, favorites, and their account. 

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Project 3: Final Design