Styling AP style

The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, AP Stylebook for short, first became available to the public in 1953. It's currently updated annually and available as a spiral-bound book and digital product. A new cover is designed every year which sets the visual direction for the web site and all social and promotional materials.

MY ROLE:

  • Creative direction
  • UX
  • Visual design
  • Marketing strategy
DES_AP-Stylebook-2019-cover-web
Ap-stylebook-2019-concepts

AP Stylebook 2019 cover and alternate concepts

Ap stylebook print sample

Extensible visual patterns

Beginning in 2015, the design team and I explored visual patterns derived from the AP letter forms which became the basis for the cover design series. This provided clear visual differentiation from year to year and a strong visual connection across all the digital properties and marketing materials.

Ap-stylebook-cover-img-2015
Ap-stylebook-cover-img-2016
Stylebook_2017Cover-030917-1

Pattern variations for years 2015, 2016 and 2017

A typographic refresh

In 2016 the interior pages received a slight update in an effort to improve readability. The images below show the 2015 version compared with the 2016 update. One of the big changes was the introduction of a hanging indent which made scanning for entries easier and aired out the margins a bit. Body copy was reduced slightly to 11pt entry title with 9pt text and 11pt leading. This helped make the entries appear less dense but didn't result in a higher page count which was a critical requirement given the cost of printing. A gray-scale header image introduces each section and is derived from the cover design.

Ap-stylebook-letter-A-before
Ap-stylebook-letter-A-redesigned

Before and after interior page redesign

03-apstylebookcom-design__topicguide-entry_Page_04

Typographic adjustments for the digital product

Simplify and unify

Also in 2016, the UX and visual design system for apstylebook.com reworked to strengthen its support of the business objectives. Specific attention was given to the user journey for purchasing the digital product and the many cross-sell opportunities that exist with related products.

AP Stylebook enjoys an engaged and supportive community of journalists, writers and grammar enthusiasts and in a reciprocal way social feeds were brought into the site while each year's design system helped inform the graphics used to promote awareness through external channels.

Apstylebook-home
Apstylebook-loggedin
Apstylebook-entry

Apstylebook-home-loggedin-page
02-apstylebookcom-design__stylebook-entry

Outcome

By unifying the design of the physical printed book with the digital experiences, I was able to create more efficient workflows for the design and production teams. That helped save both time and money. Additionally, the revised UX and site design increased digital subscription rates and has led to year over year revenue growth.