A Vehicle for Ideas – Materiell Helps the American Press Institute Renew Its Brand and Online Presence


It is often said that an image is worth a thousand words, and that in the near future, the web will kill print media. And while these statements may have some overall truth to them, the design and content of the recently redesigned website for the Arlington, Virginia based American Press Institute, API, shows us that there’s plenty of room for nuanced exceptions to these truisms.

API “conducts research, training, convenes thought leaders and creates tools to help chart a path ahead for journalism in the 21st century”. In order to fulfill its mission, it was clear to API that a new brand image and a matching website were of the essence – the medium is the message.
In order to achieve these goals, American Press Institute partnered with Materiell of Alexandria, VA. Materiell provided a thorough review of API’s goals and objectives and consulted with them on brand identity and designed their new logo assets. Once these were designed, Materiell pored over their content needs and provided full website planning services and designed and developed a custom responsive WordPress website that allowed them to meet the needs of their audience.
The resulting website has a clean, easy to navigate layout that guides users with ease through the key ideas and principles of journalism in the 21st century, as seen by the leading thinkers in the field. One way it does this, for example, is by allowing users to “freeze” the dropdown menus by clicking on them, instead of the more widely used hovering display. This means that users are given more time to explore the submenus in the navigation bar and find out about the topics included in the API website.
Given that American Press Institute is all about the ideas shaping contemporary journalism, it is to be expected that most of the content in its site will be text, with a lot less graphic elements than most websites. Since photos, graphs, charts and other visual elements can certainly help draw users in and make sites and pages more engaging, the challenge of relying mostly on type was not taken lightly. The design team at Materiell evaluated several combinations of typefaces in order to arrive at the optimal readability formula for the API’s site.
The chosen font was Effra, by London based Dalton Maag. For a text intensive site, it is almost perfect. It combines the clean look of sans serif fonts with gentle roundings that provide the guidance of serifs. Expertly laid out with a generous line height and different colors for titles, asides, and quotes, Effra works gracefully, but hard, to deliver interviews, articles, reports, posts, and other media on the API website.
The API website is the medium through which journalism scholars, practitioners, and other interested parties gain access and contribute to the debate around the business and practice of journalism in our times. This includes, among others, Aggregation and curation, Security, Social media, Journalism and education, Ethics and standards, and many more. WordPress developers at Materiell created a theme that allows site managers and contributors to the API site to enjoy the full functionality of customs posts and a detailed, precise structure of WordPress taxonomies using Tags and Categories.
We invite you to visit the API website for yourself, and see how a combination of type and ideas makes images less necessary, and sometimes almost irrelevant. Furthermore, if you spend a couple of minutes going through some of their articles, you will see that instead of focusing on “the death of print”, the API is looking at the future and taking on the challenges and advantages of information in the digital arena.
At Materiell we look forward to working with clients and helping them determine their content, design, and technology needs. Each client has its own, unique mission and the tools to help them achieve it will differ.
Our team understands that technology is a means to achieve an end, one defined by the goals of stakeholders such as corporations, governments, universities, and non-profit organizations.
Materiell delivers customized solutions for its clients in the Northern Virginia – Washington DC market based on its understanding of organizational needs, design principles, and web development.