Sapiens MagazineStudio Airport
• Date added
4 September 2023
SAPIENS is a digital magazine about everything human, told through the stories of anthropologists. Published by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and in partnership with the University of Chicago Press, the magazine is structured around four main branches — Archeology, Biology, Culture, and Language.
Utrecht-based independent practice Studio Airport crafted SAPIENS's identity and website design, providing a framework that gives the articles credibility while making them digestible and non-intimidating.
With over 2 million yearly readers, SAPIENS offers a diverse range of content published in various article formats and is complemented by its podcast and weekly newsletter. The design of the platform by Studio Airport establishes a clear distinction between the different content layers. To achieve this, a print approach was adopted for the storytelling, while the information layer embraced a digital aesthetic, providing a contrast between the two elements.
Drawing inspiration from older formats of presenting such writings, Studio Airport aimed to balance classic print aesthetics and modern digital design that would create an engaging experience without leaning too heavily into nostalgia. To execute this vision, the website was divided into three main layers, each serving a distinct function in effectively presenting the content.
Studio Airport opted for a grid-based full-bleed interface to accommodate the most recent stories and the extensive archive of all the content featured on the platform. The layout was designed to combine the story and navigation layers, each serving a specific purpose.
The story layer was crafted as a fold-out panel that draws inspiration from the type of treatments and proportions found in old novels.
On the other hand, the navigation layer features a fold-out menu at the bottom of the page alongside a filter system. This menu contains all the functional pages, such as "About" and "Donation Module." The aesthetics of the navigation layer draw inspiration from digital interfaces and incorporate various user experience elements.
Futura was selected for the SAPIENS logo for its boldness and character, creating a timeless aesthetic that complemented the identity. The primary reading typeface that Studio Airport landed on was Katarina Köler’s Rosart from Camelot Typefaces, a remake based on the specimen by Jacques-François Rosart from 1768. This font brings the sought-after essence of nostalgia while providing a contemporary angle due to its remake nature. Additionally, they opted for Unica 77, a revival of Haas Unica by LLineto, to display specific information. Studio Airport went with Unica 77 to balance neutrality, character, and credibility.