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North Six Yearbook

North Six are a global collective of content creators, producers and thinkers renowned for their innovative work with fashion and lifestyle brands. We created a digital editorial platform that goes behind the scenes to document their inspiring journey through the work, ideas, and people who make them who they are.

North Six have worked with some of the world’s most recognisable brands — including H&M, ZARA, CHRISTIAN DIOR, Chanel, and Birkenstock — creating beautifully produced marketing campaigns with their forward-thinking approach to brand strategy.

Their services are eclectic; they work with stills, motion, experiences, PR, and influencer marketing. Behind their work lies the belief that advertising should be meaningful, exciting and, perhaps most importantly, joyful. As a collective, they are testament to the fact that if you bring together talented people from diverse areas of expertise, the work will shine.

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The brief

North Six wanted to celebrate their 21st anniversary with a novel digital experience. We created a dynamic publication in the spirit of a yearbook: a reflective anthology of the work, places, people, and ideas important to them.

The purpose of the Yearbook is to showcase North Six’s rich offering as a collective, by illuminating the stories of the people who make up the collective in conjunction with the high quality work they produce.

North Six’s inspiration for the Yearbook came from large format print publications. Our goal was to create a platform that mirrored the experience of reading these physical books, whilst bringing in elements of playfulness and interaction with digital functionality.

The Yearbook also needed to give precedent to the editorial content, by presenting the mix of media that make up their stories in a cohesive manner.

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2005: North Six opens its office in Los Angeles
2011: North Six launches its Experiential division in London
2005: North Six opens its office in Los Angeles
2011: North Six launches its Experiential division in London
2005: North Six opens its office in Los Angeles
2011: North Six launches its Experiential division in London
Nyc, USA

Inspired by print

We created a digital experience inspired 
by the rich history of large format print publications in design, fashion and photography.

The power behind coffee table books lies in their ability to create an individual experience for each person. They’re not intended to be read in the same manner as a traditional book; they are eclectic; using moments of impact and impression that speak to a person with 5 or 50 minutes of time.

The first impression is shaped by the front cover. The text is often bold and simplistic, with imagery that sets the tone for what will be discovered inside. Our digital Yearbook begins with a heavy-duty font against a subtle off-white background mimicking high quality print paper. Beneath, images stack over each other, offering a snapshot of the stories that are contained within.

We like to think that you can learn something about a creative by the book that sits centre-place on their desk. If you leafed through it, it would fall open at the sections that have left an impression on them, with scraps of paper, old receipts or out-of-date train tickets marking the pages that are returned to time after time.

We wanted to extend this degree of personalisation to the Yearbook. We created the ability to bookmark your favourite stories with a simple icon that is then reflected in the navigation bar, just like how you would see those scraps of paper sticking out the top of a coffee table book.

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Flexible, intelligent navigation

We combined linear, non-linear and thematic navigation to increase discoverability and unify the stories that make up North Six.

Our approach to navigation was again inspired by large format print publications. There are multiple ways in which people journey through a coffee table design book. They might start from the beginning and move through the book linearly, chapter by chapter. In this regard, the digital Yearbook is broken down into three chapters that appear in sequential order as the user scrolls. The chapters can also be toggled in the top navigation bar. Once you have reached the end of an individual article, the proceeding story is presented with a CTA to allow for a continued, linear reading experience of the whole Yearbook.

However, we also recognised that readers often open a coffee table book up on a random page. We therefore, created a shuffle function whereby a user scrolls through a rolling deck of article image cards with their title, mimicking flicking through the pages in a book until something catches your attention.

The navigation needed to increase discoverability; and here’s where we deviated from print publication by utilising the potential of digital. We gave users the ability to navigate via themes within the shuffle function and at story page level. The author’s tagline also acts as a further method of navigation. Given that many of the stories have multiple contributors, navigation via the author tagline offers a diverging, yet encompassing journey through the Yearbook, showing the cross-pollination of ideas that make up North Six.

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A bold approach to typography

We took a minimalist approach to typography that increases readability, whilst interactive elements elevate the experience beyond what is possible in print.

As a digital experience, the Yearbook needed to let the quality of the editorial content shine. We created a hierarchical system that clearly defined different written elements, from subtitles, to summary copy. For titles, we took inspiration from newspaper tabloids and traditional graphic design publications, with a bold, capitalised version of their brand font. For the body copy, we took a pared-back, sing-column approach that eliminates distractions and allows the user to become immersed in the story.

However, we also wanted to add a level of interactivity for certain elements within the copy to bring the stories alive. We placed quotes in blocks of black with North Six’s vibrant pink for the type colouring to contrast with the main body copy. For these blocks, we created an interaction that illuminates each word as the user scrolls, giving the sense that the quotes are being spoken aloud as the user reads.

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I think in LA you can marinate something properly, in a way that you can't in other places.

Gina Correll Aglietti

An ecosystem of mixed media

The Yearbook needed to house multiple, contrasting forms of content. We created a cohesive experience where each element works in harmony to tell the North Six story.

The stories North Six wanted to feature included articles, timelines, interviews, essays, scrapbooks, location overviews and sustainability reports.

The formatting for this content was also diverse, with video, static imagery, and even audio. Within the written content there was further segmentation, with interview transcripts, long-form copy from North Six creatives, and engaging copywriting from David Michon. For the yearbook to be successful, all of this content needed to feel like a cohesive experience.

We achieved this by making sure that the eclectic mix of content worked in harmony to tell the story it serves. For example, in an interview between co-founder Oliver Hicks and creative director Emma Reeves, the page begins with a short, repeating clip of the two participants sitting at a table in conversation. This instantly shows the user the dialogical nature of the article, giving context to the content that follows.

As the user scrolls down, they are presented with the written transcript, shown in its most basic, textual form. When the user hovers over this text, the cursor changes to give the option of listening to an audio clip of the conversation; if they click, the transcript fades out of focus, allowing them to become fully immersed in the voices that make up the conversation.

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“This was a project that involved a lot of a piecemeal evolution in terms of content, and the pressure was on ON to adapt frequently to changing needs, aspirations, and scope. That we ended up with something that has energy and freshness to it is certainly a testament to their creative stamina.”

Purposeful micro-interactions

The Yearbook contains a world of information. We introduced micro-interactions to guide the user through the landscape.

Amongst all the eclectic content in the Yearbook, there was the risk that a user would feel lost, or worse, overwhelmed. We wanted to create a digital experience that guided users with interactions that are playful and, most importantly, useful.

For the North Six Yearbook, we created cursor hover states that change as a user scans across different elements on the page. If they hover over navigational elements, the cursor appears as a circle with the text ‘explore’ contained within; if they then move down towards the stories, this text changes to ‘Read’. The benefit of this micro-interaction is twofold: firstly, it allows users to differentiate between elements of content, and secondly it negates the need for CTAs, allowing for a less cluttered visual design.

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The result

The North Six Yearbook has given us the opportunity to go back to the roots of what makes print publication in design so powerful, whilst thinking of creative ways to take the experience a step further with digital.

We’re proud to have created such a unique editorial platform that celebrates not only the past and present, but the future of North Six as well.

“ON has been a highly collaborative and creative partner in celebrating our 21 years and counting in business. The Yearbook is a reflection of our values and the incredible experiences we've had along the way. All of the hard work has already been rightly recognised by incredible feedback from our clients, partners and peers.”

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