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Next Great Travel Writer

Art Direction




User Experience


User Interface

Next Great Travel Writer Logo
Penguin Logo
Design Theory
Book Covers
Origional Drawings
Terms and Conditions Page

Travelex's Next Great Travel Writer was the third in a series of three original projects I developed as part of the Labs team at Hotwire. Travelex had commissioned a series of projects over a 12 month cycle—including Luxury for Less—to help deliver new traffic and links to their domain to boost their SEO ratings.

We developed a Travelex branded writing competition in partnership with Penguin Books with the aim to help young writers get recognised for their work. The competition would be promoted through universities and the social channels of selected media partners. The winner would receive a creative session with a Penguin editor and £1,500 in prize money. Prizes would also be awarded for the top student entry and the winner of a public vote.

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Like with other projects for Travelex, they trusted us with the brief creation to deliver new traffic and links to TravelexÕs domain. We would be responsible for brainstorming and ideation with their internal stakeholders, through to development, delivery and PR of the creative. I was initially involved in idea development with the client team, working on a series solutions before the format of a writing competition was selected.

A writing competition aimed at young up and coming writers including university students would also allow us to build a back linking relationship with schools universities. This would allow us to benefit from the SEO score associated with links from .edu sites.

I used my experience of being involved in the Prix Pictet photography competition to help outline a competition structure and timeline to create regular engagement points for social channels and the media.

Once the team had secured the support of Penguin Books as a partner to the competition, the next step was to develop an art direction for the project—all the projects Travelex commissioned with us were allowed to have their own identity with some reference to the Travelex guidelines. Initially the two directions I picked took inspiration from; the rich visual language of Penguin books as developed by Edward Preston Young and Jan Tschichold, and the visual language of travel, taking inspiration from the visual language of maps, landscapes and the hand written notes of a travel writer.

Initially the geometric and rigorous language of Jan Tschichold's Penguin Books identity redeveloped for a long scrolling page offered the most reward as an identity for this project. The development of our own ‘spine’, ‘cover’ and ‘page’ layout—as a menu, h1/signpost and body content respectively—rewarded us with an engaging and unique web experience that nodded to the role of Penguin Books in the history of travel writing and the printed word.

In place of the traditional colour pallet of Penguin, was placed the not too dissimilar primary and secondary pallets of Travelex. Combined with this was Travelex's San Serif typeface FS Me for all informative copy and a Penguin original serif typeface Sabon for all creative writing. This pairing allows the user to distinguish between types of content by sight alone.

After further review with the client it was decided the ‘spine’, ‘cover’ and ‘page’ structure offered something unique, but that additional visuals needed to be introduced to help soften the overpowering geometric structure inspired by Penguin. I introduced some of the hand drawn visual language we discovered in researching the visual language of travel. The idea was inspired by the sketches and doodles you could imagine lacing the margins and back pages of a travel writer's notebook, as they watch the landscapes of Europe pass through the train window. As a result, I ended up producing a series of illustrations used across the site and promotional assets.

Once the design was signed off, my final roles were to design the animation and transitions used on the site, brief the developers and support them in the production of the site, as well as oversee the production of supporting social assets.

The long term goal for the project is to help Travelex Next Great Travel Writer transition it into an industry recognised literary prizes for travel writers and a platform to help launch the careers of young travel writer.