XO magazine is experimental by nature, but swapping pixels for pages required a whole new approach. From refining the logo, to layout and art direction, we took XO to the streets with award-winning results.
Online blog and fashion mag XO had a distinct digital style, but designing for newsstands was a new issue in itself. Armed with information about the brand’s personality and audience from the XO editor, we sized up its print competitors to create a publication that sat alongside fashion’s biggest names.
XO is heavily image-based, appealing to a youth audience with an interest in fashion, music and culture. But without the backlinks and interactivity online provides, we needed to look at new ways of organising information to capture the energy of zine culture with the authority of Vogue.
Who would XO be if it were a person? Refinement on top, fun hidden underneath. Thinking of the brand as a character helped us tease out its aesthetic, while considering the reader’s experience shaped navigation and editorial standards.
The final XO print layout retains the energy of the website, with a more streamlined approach. Colour guides the reader to relevant sections, while high quality imagery and a strong editorial voice make it authoritative yet fun. The pilot set the benchmark for all future XO issues – it also earned us recognition with a 2015 People’s Choice Creativepool Award.