Andi Best Freelance Designer

Cyclist Magazine

  • Web Design
  • Marketing
Freelance commission for Cyclist Magazine
Client: Cyclist Magazine

Client: Cyclist Magazine Objective: Improve the Cyclist magazine website design to address bounce rate. Solution: Redesign the client site entirely to ensure that it is device responsive and more in-keeping with the magazine 'feel' and branding. Create a new page structure to accommodate additional content areas.

Website design and build

Cyclist magazine has seen incredible growth over the years since its launch and has amassed a very dedicated fan base. To help secure this audience I've been working with the brand to produce a number of promotional items including illustrated Tour de France and Christmas campaigns.

My latest project commissioned by the publishers of the magazine was to revamp its now tired website. The brief was comprised of two core objectives; firstly, the site design and aesthetics needed to be brought more in line with the brand established in the actual print magazine, and to make better use of the high-impact and stunning magazine photography. Furthermore, the current website was not device responsive in its construction so the new design needed to address this. The second objective was to make the site perform better in search rankings; analysing visitor statistics revealed that users were arriving at the site looking for content areas which did not exist. The editors of the magazine were therefore keen to build these content areas including Meet The Team, Back Catalogue of Issues, and a page dedicated to the Cyclist magazine app.
View inside Cyclist Magazine
Back catalogue of Cyclist Magazine
Cyclist Magazine's app
Over the following weeks I produced several drafts for the new site ensuring all these objectives were suitably met, all the while liaising with the publishers and editors throughout the design process.
To unify the brand I stripped back the heavy and overbearing clutter of the previous design without dismantling the considered and modular construction. I then introduced linear bars and clipped angles from the magazine's print language to structure constants across my site designs, resulting in the slick and disciplined look the client was keen on.
My design for the new promotional app page adequately showcased the app's features across a selection of digital devices via animated screenshots. I opted to use animation on this page to subtly enforce the app's dynamism and interface, and heighten appeal as this was to be a high-traffic page.
Once the editorial team had signed off the final version of the design, I was able to begin coding. This stage of the project was fairly swift as the design work was so extensively prepared. After a quick turnaround, the final product was complete and fit for launch. Several weeks later, I'm told by the client that my redesign has already seen an uplift in conversion.

Digital marketing

Content marketing incentive for Cyclist Magazine
Register with Cyclist Magazine to unlock content
As a print-based medium Cyclist is faced with the modern conundrum of knowing which moves to make online. Digital audiences are huge, but it's difficult to engage them with a product/service that exists offline and therein lied the premise of this brief.

After a series of meetings on how to tackle this the client and I agreed on an experimental content-exchange project. I proposed we build a landing page serving four articles from the magazine's back catalogue, in full, but restrict the scope of them to the first couple of paragraphs. In order to 'unlock' the remainder of each article a data-capture form obstructing the view needed to be completed, thus enrolling the user into a marketing database for future contact. In short, users would hand over snippets of data in exchange for free (otherwise chargeable) texts, offering them not only a quick content fix, but also an insight into the magazine's dialect, coverage and approach - a self-serving advertisement for the mag. As added incentive to submit the form I included a total word count for each article to help users gauge the value of each article. Additionally the article pages were peppered with advertisements for discounted subscriptions to the magazine too should the quality content result in instant conversion.

A technical challenge I faced whilst constructing this product was the need to build a recursive access point; users were not 'registering' as such, so neither were they 'logging in' when they returned to the page. It would be irrational to request a form submission per visit and duplicated database records are far from ideal, so for repeat visitors I coded an alternate form that simply verified a user's previous submission.
Landing page design for Cyclist magazine
Loading graphic for Cyclist magazine
Email design for Cyclist magazine
The client and I also trialled a second similar project that once again made use of previously published content. A promotional email I built was sent out to a datalist of non-Cyclist magazine subscribers offering a free PDF download entitled Our Favourite Big Rides; a composite of five complete articles from the magazine's regular Big Ride feature. The email took users through to a landing page I designed and coded that, through scroll-aware animation, revealed a little more detail about the content within the download, thus heightening its appeal. The next step in the journey required users to complete a short data-capture form on the landing page that once again enrolled them into a marketing database for future contact, but more crucially, validated them for receiving the download. Then, a subsequent auto-respond email that I built was triggered upon successful submission of the form, containing the PDF download link and instructions, but also capitalised on the opportunity to market to the user with further magazine subscription messaging.