Pentagram and Very Studio create Demotix website look

Citizen photojournalism site is set to launch next month, following improvements to its visual design and development by two London consultancies.

The aim of the photojournalism ‘street newswire’, which will act as an intermediary between budding photojournalists and global media groups sourcing images, is to ‘reinvent news’ and ‘bring freedom of speech to the dark corners of the world’, according to chief executive and founder Turi Munthe. The concept is fuelled by the dwindling number of foreign desks at newspapers.

The test site launched last year, and it is set to launch officially next month, armed with a brand identity by Pentagram and a specially designed user-interface by London-based consultancy Very Studio.

Very Studio is in the throes of developing Demotix’s graphic user-interface and visual language, as well as organising content. Demotix briefed Very Studio last month, after it won a competitive pitch, to develop a seamless user-experience considering all aspects of the site design, from how big thumbnails should be, to content on the home page.

One of the aims, according to Very Studio partner Alex Smith, is to help convey the nature and uses of the website – from a media image resource to a community-based newswire. Munthe says, ‘The aim is to be as simple as possible and to reinforce the stories that are told through the pictures. It will be very picture-led.’

The aim of the iconography is to show the simplicity of the content-sharing process: seeing, recording, uploading and dissemination, says Munthe.

Very Studio is developing its design around these considerations and a technical framework using an open-source content-management system that lets users write and upload modules that will contribute not only to a bespoke home page, but also to the evolution of the entire site. Other features include a widget, or mini-feed, from Demotix, linking up to major sites such as Google or the BBC.

Pentagram, meanwhile, has created a brand identity for Demotix, completed last month, based around values of professionalism, ethics, trust, bravery, agility and openness.

Six months ago, Munthe decided a sharper identity for the organisation was in order, and approached consultancies, including Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy & Mather, about creating a brand. The only one to respond, however, was Pentagram. Demotix has negotiated a payment scheme with Pentagram, based on its future revenue.

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