When talking about the future of the Huffington Post brand, editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen points to the homepage “splash” following the news that Bill O’Reilly had been let go from Fox News.
“BILLY ON THE STREET” blared the headline in big, red letters.
That’s a sensibility that Polgreen wants to not just keep but expand. On Monday, the Huffington Post is rolling out its biggest redesign ever and first-ever rebrand and its biggest move since the exit of cofounder and namesake Arianna Huffington.
And about that namesake role. The media company will now call itself HuffPost, and it’s got a new logo and website to go along with the new name.
The new website keeps the classic “splash” homepage and three-column setup, but cleans up the top. It looks more like a modern website as opposed to the older design that Polgreen notes was part of the site’s original homage to the newspapers it was designed to imitate.
Not only is the splash still there, get ready to see it elsewhere.
“This is a fun way for us to take what we see as our voice and users see as our voice and take it off platform,” said Julia Beizer, HuffPost‘s head of product.
The redesign comes a little more than eight months since Arianna Huffington left the publication that she started in 2005. Under her leadership, the website grew into a major digital media destination, winning a Pulitzer Prize and eventually selling to AOL for $315 million in 2011.
Huffington’s reign wasn’t without its problems. The website struggled to turn a profit (an issue that continues to dog digital media startups), while the company’s reliance on unpaid bloggers and its internal culture faced plenty of critiques.
Now, HuffPost is in the midst of a transition period. The website, now technically owned by Verizon (after it bought AOL), announced in December the appointment of Polgreen, then a well-respected veteran editor at the New York Times.
Since taking over, Polgreen has emerged as a strong public face for the publication while also pushing it forward. The website was (and in many ways still is) openly left-leaning with a heavy dose of coastal elites writing for it, but Polgreen has said she hopes to appeal to a broader audience yes, even Trump voters.
The redesign, Polgreen said, is meant to hang on to the voice and sensibility of HuffPost while taking it forward. The website first found popularity in the era of search engine optimization, best known for satisfying Googlers asking things like “What time does the Super Bowl start?“
Now, digital media has transitioned to social media, where HuffPost remains a major player particularly on Facebook, where it often tops Newswhip’s monthly rankings.
Along with its new website and name, HuffPost has a new logo. Goodbye H, hello slash. It’s meant to symbolize that HuffPost isn’t your basic news website. The color is also undergoing a slight tweak.
“So what sets us apart? It’s that editorial voice, and so when we’re trying to figure out how to show that in logo form… we came back to the idea of a slash, it leans forward, literally,” Beizer said.
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