Experience design studio

Music journalism that digs deeper

Wax Poetics

Wonderland
Summary of services
  • Branding
  • Digital Design
  • Development
  • Motion design

The next chapter of music journalism

Wax Poetics has been a household name amongst world-music enthusiasts since its launch in 2000. Originally a bi-annual magazine they are well known for their world-class music journalism. Digging deeper and exploring stories about the music trailblazers, cultures, and movements.

After a repositioning in 2019, they approached us to refresh their identity and develop a unique online platform aimed at vitalizing their readership and bringing something unique to the world music community.
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An analog system for a digital world

Their previous identity was centred around a confident and timeless wordmark but lacked a recognisable system and the unique attitude found in their writing. After workshopping with the founders, we got experimental with their desire to keep that gritty analogue feel, creating a ‘lived in and earthy feel’ matching their original magazines textured feel and off white colours. We wanted to pay homage to unique details that real music fans would recognise.
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Speaking the fans language

We ensembled a neutral palette that was inspired by the colors of worn records. Twinning them with an extensive vintage secondary suite that was inspired by a wide breadth of record genres. 
To get that analog feel, we harnessed real grit and paper textures from scanned old records and sleeves. Accompanied by some hand-drawn notations, referencing those infamous editor's markups and irritation record scratches.

We created a new type system, pairing a super punchy grotesque headline font with an elegant serif for legibility and sophistication. Striking that balance between character and timelessness.
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The new cohesive identity allowed them to raise over 110k on Kickstarter and re-ignite the next chapter of Wax Poetics.

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Creating a timeless platform

Featuring 400+ articles from the past 20 years of Wax Poetics, alongside mixes, albums, a collection of fresh pieces, and brand new weekly content drops from the world’s leading music writers. This was a big undertaking to create a beautiful and functional platform that can stand the test of time.

We worked closely with the client and the editorial team to nail down their content streams. Separating out the content into some ‘key channels’ and creating a smooth subscription flow.

We wanted to bring that analog thinking into the design, therefore the layout has a very editorial masthead feel, with wide-set type headlines and diverse content blocks putting the stories first.

Articles and content

With most articles being over 1000 words, we needed a really tight type hierarchy and varied components to make each read seamless. By creating a chaptering system and analog page turn - users can navigate long-form articles smoothly.

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Rediscovery

One unique piece of content ‘Re:Discovery’ , reviews of old, unknown, and rare albums. We created a unique experience to ‘dig’ through these, re-creating that infamous record store experience.

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It's not every day you get to building a music platform with such a rich heritage.

After the Launch

The Wax Poetics relaunch has so far onboarded over 2,000 subscribers, creating a newly revived community that can read, listen, watch and discover with like-minded music fans from across the world. A massive thanks to Dave, Alex, Brian, and the Wax Poetics team. We continue to work with the Wax Poetics team to evolve the platform and brand, check back for updates.
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