2019 was a breakthrough year for Industry Dive’s Creative Design Team. We refined our graphic design workflow, created a robust illustration strategy and elevated the style of our employee headshots.

Below are key CDT projects that moved the needle for the design department and Industry Dive in 2019.

State of the Electric Utility Survey

Goal: Help our readers quickly assess the top insights from the State of the Electric Utility (SEU) survey, an annual survey of electric utility executives conducted by our Utility Dive journalists

The process: After the initial survey data was gathered, our journalists spent several weeks writing a report that analyzed and contextualized the findings. As the journalists wrote the report, Sr. Graphic Designer Kendall Davis began to lay out content in InDesign and craft custom data visualizations. The final report was served to our readers as a 74 page PDF and webinar.

Our 2019 survey features bold, condensed typography, a black, white and electric green color palette and a parallelogram geometric motif. Black and white images and simple iconography balance out the strong type and bright green accent color. The final design clearly highlights the most important survey findings and offers an easy online reading experience. Kendall’s report design also netted the team a 2019 American Graphic Design Award.

Employee welcome kit

Goal: Make our new coworkers feel welcome and excited on their first day and provide several every-day essentials

The process: For this project, the entire design team gathered to whiteboard what a coworker would need or want on their first day at Industry Dive. We desired to curate a useful toolkit, not one filled with gimmicky trinkets that might be thrown away. After brainstorming all sorts of swag – pens, pencil holders, hats, socks and mugs – we narrowed the list down to a handful of items.

The final kit includes an ID-branded notebook, pen, water bottle, stickers and a “Welcome Book” filled with an office map, insider tips and a message from our founders. The end result was a mix of functional items with a personal touch.

Employee headshots

Goal: Create a unique, consistent and professional look for our employee headshots

The process: We kicked off this project by reviewing staff headshots at other companies and noting the ones we thought appeared unique, professional and worked well across a range of skin tones.

Beyond being aesthetically pleasing, we wanted our staff headshots to help distinguish our journalists on social media and on panel and event slides.

Color strategy

Goal: Create a signature style for our editorial illustrations across our diverse set of publications

The process: We decided the best way forward was to create a comprehensive illustration style guide based on the principles of our brand. The style guide would give us the requisite building blocks to make unique, yet cohesive, illustrations that screamed “Industry Dive!” The element we thought would have the greatest impact in unifying our illustration styles was color, so we decided to start there.

Out of all the options, there was one set of colors that stood out. Indigo paired well with Dive Red in all of its lighter tints and darker shades, giving us a lot of flexibility to make different illustrations. It worked for a full range of skin tones without some looking more realistic than others. We also found it easy to employ small amounts of Dive Red against a palette of indigo to direct the attention of the viewer to specific parts of an illustration.

Learn more: An Exploration of Color – Finding our Palette

Dive Awards illustrations

Goal: Create twenty unique editorial illustrations to serve as the header images for our 2019 Dive Awards landing pages

The process: Each year, our publication teams recognize innovative people and companies within their industries, and the design department produces custom header illustrations for the associated landing pages of winners.

The CDT began the 2019 project by meeting to pitch ideas for a visual theme. After reviewing concepts and putting it to a vote, we unanimously loved Adeline Kon’s idea inspired by the Grammy Awards.

To ensure a cohesive look, we committed to several guiding principles:

  • Create a single award base with multiple planes.
  • Using the base, draw the scene on an isometric grid.
  • Avoid a “back wall” plane – instead, try strategically using objects to hint at the plane and add depth.
  • Include lighting with a right-to-left direction, allowing all the shadows and highlights to look similar.
  • Employ our indigo illustration color palette and substitute Dive Red with Dive Awards Gold. Use the gold to highlight key parts of the illustration.

Using those guidelines, Brian Tucker created an award base in Blender and distributed it to the team. Armed with a list of concepts written by Danielle and Michelle, the designers spent several weeks sketching and critiquing. The final collection of illustrations provided strong branding for our landing pages and is extensible to future Dive Awards in the years to come.