Carolyn Borkowski

Discover Articles Inbox

@ Wunderkind

Email newsletters designed for the user experience of being a human person.

Figma

Figma

Adobe Illustrator

Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed is no stranger to email newsletter offerings. Just about everything you associate Buzzfeed with has a newsletter associated with it. Quizzes, shopping, Tasty — there are over 40 Buzzfeed newsletters you can sign up for. While users can opt-in to whatever type of content they’d like, the contents of the newletters are still compiled by the staff at Buzzfeed. 

The Shopping newsletter was a perfect pilot for our introduction of the Discover Articles Inbox product to the Buzzfeed family of newsletters. Reaching the ideal audience is valuable across the board, but other forms of content-as-a-product have more steps between users and profits, as much of the revenue for publishing clients like Buzzfeed comes from advertising. An exception is affiliate marketing – every Buzzfeed Shopping article contains a notice at the top of the page that the company may receive compensation from sales of the products listed. The opportunity to offer affiliate products directly to relevant customers based on collected data is the most direct route to profits, making our new product a pretty compelling opportunity. 

So that’s where I come in! 

A huge appeal of Buzzfeed is how engaging and digestible their content is – they are so good at what they do. My goal as the designer of this product was to translate that into these newsletters – something the internally-created newsletters fall a bit short with. I experimented with layout, use of imagery, and even cross-property promotion. Because the actual content would be dynamically auto-populated, scalability was also key. The images must be the right dimensions, the text areas need to be able to accommodate the realm of possibilities for what might be inserted. There were a lot of iterations in this process, with feedback from my team as well as the team at Buzzfeed. 

The designs were made in Figma, with assets prepared along the way in Illustrator.

Scroll on images to view full designs.

Existing Buzzfeed Shopping newsletter

Early main Buzzfeed
brand draft

Translating to
Buzzfeed Shopping

Drafting designs for more content

The final product

but wait there's more!
featuring...

Philadelphia Inquirer

While affiliate marketing is a powerful component of many publisher companies’ businesses, content is still at the forefront. The Discover Articles Inbox product doesn’t exist to make sales, it’s to provide users content that recognizes them as individuals. 

Print publications have had to adapt incredibly quickly to the rapid overtaking of the industry by online-based competitors. Discover Articles Inbox as a service creates a two-way street of connection between publications and their readers by providing individual readers the stories they personally value. In a landscape of seemingly endless choices of where to get news, additional special services available to readers who pay for news publication subscriptions can be key to maintaining that source of revenue.

For Philadelphia Inquirer, I wanted my designs to follow the flow of their current online presence. A paying subscriber is a paying subscriber because they value the publication. My goal in creating these designs was to allow the content and existing, beloved Inquirer to be the best version of true-to-itself and provide its top-quality journalism in a way that best supports its loyal readers.

I experimented with the organization of content, wireframing out how the articles would be organized, considering the hierarchy, and how to present up-to-the-moment news. The content of these emails would be things readers deeply care about and may be immediately pertinent to their daily lives – communication and clarity are absolutely key. 

Below are various steps in my design process, as well as the final result. 

Internally-produced Inquirer newsletter

Wireframe design - planning flow of content

Further content organization experiments

The final product