With over 13,000 employees, SapientNitro has no shortage of experience, great ideas and leading thinkers. And in this time of great disruption and fast-paced innovation, the need to help our clients stay one step ahead is an essential part of SapientNitro’s value as a partner.
But creating thought leadership isn’t easy – the people with the most experience and insight are often the most busy. And prior to 2015, most thought leadership was limited to either one-off print campaigns or an irregularly-updated website.
Our solution was to develop the SapientNitro Insights platform and kick off a steady stream of thought leadership content that is distributed externally through four main channels – a 140-page glossy book, an app for iOS and Android, a redesigned website, and key social channels (the SapientNitro blog, Slideshare, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter). A twice-a-year call for submissions helps kick off the content creation process and executives get extensive editorial, design, and even occasional ghostwriting support.
Working with a strong organizing idea – Cultivate confidence through perpetual insightfulness – we layed down the foundation of our guiding design principles.
How do we cultivate confidence through design? Since much of the content was dense in nature we wanted to create clarity where there was chaos.
Our design aesthetics would emphasize minimalism, unclutteredness and readability. We made early decisions on a limited color palette, a flexible 3-column grid, a wayfinding icon set and the use of white space to achieve a simple and clean design.
Our typography direction was about being bold and graphic. We wanted the user to be able to easily scan titles and call outs garnering quick meaning and big ideas without having to go too deep into the content at first glance.
Our approach to the article illustrations was a two-week deep dive in which the design team read and consumed all content. We crafted the artwork by pairing ideas down to their very essence using abstract shapes and the most basic design elements. Black and white photography was mixed as a textured element instead of being the focal point. The pairing added dimension plus resulted in a more sophisticated design sensibility overall.
We tackled the cover concept first but decided on it last. The heart of the idea is about delivering insights at the intersection of technology and story. It speaks to SapientNitro’s overall brand positioning. And much of the content is curated around that very notion.
The circle made up of circles masking out a portrait of person created an optical illusion that was intriguing to us. The face is not necessarily recognizable at first. But as you move around or create some distance you can make it out. There’s a story there. One of digital disruption and our role in that.
The result has been a global, multi-channel thought leadership platform with over 1,000 downloads of the PDFs for clients, 7,000 print books distributed globally, and multiple media and press articles in major papers such as The Guardian, Ad Age, Marketing Magazine, ClickZ, Branding Magazine, and more.