After what may be the world’s longest redesign, Brooklyn Based has a new look. Our original site did the trick for three years, but it was time for a facelift and a little more functionality. Now you can browse our past emails by topic, forward an individual Tip Sheet event to a friend, read our new blog, or sign up for our new email for parents, BB Kids. There are a few bugs to fix and tweaks to be made to the new site and emails, so tell us about any glitches you find over the next few weeks. And in lieu of sending out the Tip Sheet this week, you can read it online.
When we set out to update Brooklyn Based we enlisted Rumors, a Williamsburg design studio whose aesthetic we dug. It was founded in 2008 by Holly Gressley, Renda Morton, and Andy Pressman (an additional designer, Zack Seuberling, has since joined them). Their name was born out of their mutual love for Fleetwood Mac–Tusk is their favorite album, but Rumors made a better studio name. Here are some of their thoughts on design, our new typeface, and what picky clients we are.
Brooklyn Based: How would you describe Rumors’ design philosophy?
Rumors: Our approach is flexible rather than fixed because each project brings with it a unique set of problems. We work closely with our clients to consider the appropriate logic, function, and aesthetic for the job, and as a result we have more of a house method than a house style.
BB: Tell us about the typeface you used for the new Brooklyn Based masthead. What’s its name and why did you choose it?
R: The masthead is set in Beton, a slab typeface with some unique characteristics. We wanted to stay away from the typographic cliches so often seen in Brooklyn-oriented design, that early-1900s speakeasy cool. We were eager for a typeface with a different lineage, and we hunted until we found something that felt right. It also helps that “Brooklyn” looks so good typeset in Beton, with the lowercase “y” providing just the right unexpected twist.
BB: We passed on quite a few designs until we fell in love with the new site. Was it frustrating to go through so many iterations? Did we go through more than your typical clients?
R: It’s true, the design of your site went through more iterations than most projects we work on. Was it frustrating? A little, but many good projects bring equal parts frustration and excitement.
BB: What makes for a really straightforward redesign in your experience?
R: We find that our favorite projects are the ones that pose unique challenges. If something’s straightforward, it probably means we’ve done it before, and we’re always looking to try new things. When we engage with our clients in thoughtful and open dialogue about how to address these challenges, the collaboration is as rewarding as the outcome.
BB: What other projects has Rumors worked on recently? What are you up to now?
R: We’ve got a bunch of things on our plates. Let’s see, we’re working with the New York Times Magazine on their iPad edition, which is still a few months away. Also upcoming is an exhibition for the Center for Architecture/AIA New York Chapter, which will occupy the entirety of the West 4th Street subway station this October. We’ve recently wrapped up a couple of websites, one for ReadyMade magazine, and another for Verso, a book publisher for whom we’ve designed a number of covers. And just today we closed the fall issue of Bidoun, a quarterly magazine we art direct.