MidWave Magazine is a digital magazine that celebrates the beauty and irony of contemporary culture, offering both reflective and satirical takes on popular media, politics, social movements, me-culture, and more.
The content featured on MidWave comes from regular and guest contributors. Anyone is welcome to share their creative works via any format, including personal essays, podcasts, blog posts, art showcases, reviews, and film reels.
Lead UI/UX designer
Co-Editors in Chief, Co-Art Directors, Webmaster, Marketing Lead
MidWave Magazine started as a summer quarantine project, as many college students were forced to stay apart during the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists were especially impacted. The magazine was created to serve as a collective for student artists to continue sharing their works and engage with real-world events and people through a flexible digital medium.
To offer a space for student artists to share their creative works in a digitized format.
To create a fully immersive experience as an art-centered magazine.
To design a website that optimizes a wide myriad of content types, from written works to visual showcases.
Because MidWave hosts various formats for mixed media, special attention had to be placed on the information architecture of the magazine. The homepage and landing page displays were first considered, followed by ways in which similar content types could be grouped in consistent article layouts.
Inspiration & Research Summary
MidWave's design was inspired by several digital magazines and blogs that embrace lifestyle and pop culture trends. As a whole, we wanted MidWave to reflect the vapor-wave aesthetic that was all the rage in the early 2000s. It seemed fitting for the oftentimes nihilistic and sarcastic tones our articles would take on. At the same time, we wanted MidWave to be a wholly immersive experience that would pull readers into mixed media art.
Horizontal, animated scroll
Immersive fullscreen images
Bold accent bars around key images and text blocks
Few (~2) articles on homepage headers
Infinite scroll for article listings
Fullscreen article headers
Bright neon colors, early-2000s
Automatic homepage header scroll
Alternating featured and related articles
Stylized block quotes
Newspaper-themed layout: central column with side columns for featured & trending
Blocked text, limited visual media
To ensure that contributors have full flexibility in submitting their creative works (e.g. written, video, showcase), the magazine would be comprised of multiple 'channels' based on its theme:
Pop culture and media commentary/critique
Political and socio-economic topics (long-term and current events)
Celebration of self; me-culture; fashion, beauty, and lifestyle trends
Wireframes - First Iteration
How can we distinguish types of written articles (e.g. original creative works like poetry and short stories from reviews/general articles)?
How can we optimize article page types and still give artists multiple page types to feature landscape vs. portrait-styled images?
Wireframes - Second Iteration
The second set of wireframes were adjusted to:
Incorporate more mixed media on the headers of landing pages
Enable header slideshows for articles dedicated to art showcases
Homepage & Channel Landing Pages
Article Layouts - All Channels
Designing with a team has been such a rewarding and insightful experience. My biggest takeaway from this project was mediating multiple design opinions and perspectives while staying true to the magazine’s identity and simplifying user experience. Art is multifaceted, and we wanted to retain the identity via the channels by adhering to thematic sub-color palettes. At the same time, it was crucial to maintain some kind of through line so as to establish a singular MidWave identity; I tried to achieve that by consolidating consistent layouts.
My biggest challenge was accommodating as many multi-purpose layouts as possible. This was especially the case with written articles and art showcases. For written articles, we wanted a visual marker for articles vs. original creative work. For showcases, we wanted to give artists the option to decide whether or not they wanted a full-screen gallery, an inline gallery, a portrait slideshow, and/or a landscape slideshow. The creation of three article page layouts (featured above) was an effective solution for optimizing these choices, along with the addition of an inline slideshow component that allowed for mixed dimensions. While it took a lot of brainstorming to come up with solutions that would be efficient for the web developers to create, arriving at these final layouts and supporting creative expression were definitely worth it.