Today is our second anniversary (okay, technically it was June 1, but who’s counting?), and to mark the occasion we’re proud to launch a brand new version of Sparksheet. Our basic mandate remains the same, but we’ve made a host of design and editorial changes that reflect our evolution from a branded B2B blog with a strong focus on travel marketing, to an award-winning multiplatform magazine.
Our new design will allow us to bring you more content in more diverse shapes and sizes than the traditional (if you can call “new media” traditional) reverse-chronological-order blog format allowed in the past. Here are some of the major changes:
If you’re reading this post, you’ve found your way to The Sparkbeat. We’ll be using this space to let you know what’s going on here at Sparksheet.
This is also where you’ll find our “curated content” – our unique Sparksheet-y take on the most relevant media and marketing stories around the web. As usual, the idea is for this to be a two-way conversation so we hope you’ll post lots of comments and suggestions for what we should be covering.
Our new columns section will allow us to showcase our most prolific and popular contributors. For instance, TNS Australia’s Carolyn Childs will continue to cover the space where travellers, brands and technology intersect, Alphabird’s Alex Rowland will share his expertise on the world of branded video, and ThinkState’s Gunther Sonnenfeld will wax analytic about “the business of storytelling.”
Tags vs. categories
We’ve had a major rethink about how we categorize and tag our content. In the past, we’ve felt that some of our categories have been a bit too generic (“publishing”), too esoteric (“return on engagement”), or too ambiguous (“relationships”).
Another challenge is that most Sparksheet posts don’t focus on just one topic or industry; they’re all about the unexpected connections between them.
In the new design, we reserve our categories for the different types of Sparksheet posts (Q&As, columns, etc.) and use a limitless number of tags to identify the different topics we cover. You will be able to sort through our most popular topics on our homepage, just below the carousel.
One of the more exciting additions to the new Sparksheet is our monthly “blogazine”-style feature articles. These in-depth pieces will incorporate the best of both print and web design standards and are our way of backing up Slate editor David Plotz’s assertion that long-form journalism is alive and well on the web.
Check out our inaugural feature, Brand New Havana, where we go to Cuba to do what may be the world’s first branded entertainment travel story.
Events, videos and comics….oh my
Other additions to the Sparksheet universe include a dedicated page for our SparksheetTV videos, and a hub for all our events-related content. And inspired in part by “marketoonist” Tom Fishburne, we’ve humbly launched our own cartoon series, Sparksauce, which offers a whimsical take on the wacky world of agencies in the digital age.
First and foremost, major props for the redesign go to Charles Lim, Sparksheet’s super-skilled and incredibly efficient Creative Director. Charles is also the guy who creates all the slick custom images and infographics on the site. Watch out for his new design column in the coming weeks.
Huge thanks also go out to the extended Sparksheet/Spafax Interactive team, which includes community manager Joey Tanny, editorial interns Erin Rubin and Dani Aaron, content strategist Elaine Lim, content manager Ian Gamache, editorial advisers Arjun Basu and Charlene Rooke, production manager Jamille Barreto, proofreader Jonathan Furze (what other marketing blog has a proofreader?), Spafax CEO Niall McBain and, of course, our ever-supportive publisher, Spafax Interactive president Raymond Girard.
And, last but not least, thanks to all our amazing contributors and readers who have made Sparksheet what it’s become in just two short years.