For hundreds of years, The New York Times manifested its brand through a meticulously controlled product, a daily printed report. In 2006, I came to work as Design Director of Marketing during a tide of major change in media, where journalism was being shared through new mediums, expressions and experiences. I implemented identity guidelines with the purpose of making brand assets more consistent (eg. logo, color, typography) in applications beyond the editorial report. Ten years later, I came back to join the Brand Identity group to help codify brand principles and standards—informed by the entire organization—to create one reference point for all. It became essential for The Times to ensure consistency in its expressions no matter what it was going to make next, and to support anyone who was creating, ideating or speaking on behalf of The Times.
With a project of this scale for a legacy brand that’s been around since 1851, the success of the outcome relies on rigorous research and discovery. Knowledge becomes embedded in people, culture, relationships and physical spaces. So much had been gathered and analyzed by so many before I entered the picture, and then was shared from every corner within. The process was truly the heart of this project, and the end product practically bubbled to the surface from its own uncovering.
The brand book launched globally across an internal site and printed books were distributed to every employee via a series of town hall meetings and continues distribution with new employee packages. Having a resource to share with every employee provides a written record for everyone to discuss and defend. The tension continues to sharpen the agenda. Unfolding from here, a series of Style Guidelines were created to unpack key principles into methodical detail for assets, products and programs.
This was an internal project led by a small cross-disciplinary working group, driven by the joint leadership of David Rubin (CMO), Tom Bodkin (CCO) and Kelly Doe (CD). I wish I could share more about this confidential project.