Overhauling itself to keep up with the changing times, The Huffington Post has undergone a total redesign, complete with a splashy new home page, a “bold, splashy style,” splashy new “splash cards” for stories that are designed to have an “almost meme-like quality,” and a splashy-splash new splash-name. Say goodbye to The Huffington Post, musty, multisyllabic relic of a stodgier age, and welcome the almost meme-like reign of HuffPost, a moniker that recently installed editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen says is “shorter,” “snappier,” and reflects “what our readers call us anyway.” Of course, most readers actually call it “HuffPo.” But consider this a dignified compromise, aimed at fostering the populist, egalitarian relationship with its audience that Polgreen declares will be its new mission going forward. Also, please stop calling it “HuffPo.”
In a letter announcing the site’s new look and direction, Polgreen—who took over HuffPo(st) after leaving The New York Times—frames the site’s redesign in terms of the growing cynicism toward the media, noting that today’s readers no longer trust journalists to deliver the news accurately and fairly. Hoping to combat all that, Polgreen says she will begin emphasizing more original reporting, as well as making sure that reporting isn’t just dry, accurate facts:
Facts and truth are basic elements of the news. But they alone are not enough. Emotion, humor and empathy are also essential ingredients of journalism that helps you know what’s real. It’s no wonder so many people these days get their news from comedy shows.
As such, HuffPost will be “serving up the news with a sense of humor, outrage and empathy.” It’ll be a blog of the people—funnier, angrier, shorter, like a muckraking Danny DeVito. It’s not for nothing that the site’s new name literally translates as “A Fit Of Petty Annoyance Post,” although now these SnitPosts will be delivered on behalf of everyone, even those “who think it doesn’t tell stories for people like them.” That was The Huffington Post, a haughty, gilded name befitting the periodicals perused in leather chairs by harrumphing robber barons! This is HuffPost, a brawler’s dirty-knuckled news-punch to the gut!
Reflecting its goal to become stronger and stabbier, HuffPost has also ditched its old “H” Scrabble tile of a logo in favor of a bolder, splashier, slightly askew white line. HuffPost’s editors say they agonized over how best to honor the site’s future and past, before the creative strategy firm Work-Order presented them with some crooked slashes on a green square—something they believe “point us forward, but are also reminiscent of the slashes in URLs,” which HuffPost has proudly used since the very beginning.
That white line is dense and multilayered, and like the best corporate logos, so abstract as to be completely open to interpretation. “The mark itself forms a road, a slash, an abstract H―everyone sees something different, and we embrace all the possibilities,” they say. Whatever you might see—a crooked line, a road veering dangerously off-center, a diagonal line, the Jolly Green Giant’s ass crack, a slanted line, billable hours for your creative-strategy firm, “Hey, why’s this line all weird?”—you will certainly never mistake this line on a green square for anyone else’s publishing business vying for visibility and respect in a crowded marketplace.
HuffPost also notes that it took its signature green and “brightened it for this new era,” empathetically creating a more seasick aquamarine, for an age when everyone always feels slightly nauseated.
All of these changes reflect a slight departure from The Huffington Post’s founder, Arianna Huffington, who left last year to focus on a new wellness site, Thrive Global, writing books about naps, and her various other conflicting corporate interests that made running a news site a real drag, but whose spirit lives on in HuffPost’s short, aggregated clip of her actual name. Huffington has already said she “loves” being cut off at the metaphorical knees as part of the site’s rebranding, praising it as a “playful” evolution that, best of all, she didn’t have to pay anyone for. The exposure it’s getting right now will certainly be enough.