The plant is a long running project and service of mine. It's Dawson College's official student newspaper, publishing bi-weekly over print and daily online.
The design of the plant was heavily inspired by the sites we (the plant editorial team at the time) identified as those we most wanted to associate with. Wired magazine, Vox and Vice played a heavy stylistic role to the actual design, while I designed the information architecture and backend of the site to suit the needs of the small team.
Early design progressed with these categories in mind, the division of interests amongst the student body led to the creation of separate mini-sites within the plant.
Customization, theming and the adaptation of the plant to events and seasons was paramount. The print covers of the issue were after all, the most loved feature of the print edition.
The addition of video, gifs and user submissions embraced the potential of the web, something that the first plant administration I'd worked with was keen on exploring.
Through the website, the plant newspaper saw a sixth of the college's population in readership, far above the former print numbers. Beating out the old, abandoned WordPress blog at SEO certainly helped.
My role in the design and creation of the site, start to finish, has me now as a occasional custodian. I still plan and implement revisions, theme updates and the like. For now, you can get a taste of the admin side of things with the original editor's guide and by visiting the plant for yourself.
Update, Feb. 2020. The theplantnewspaper domain went down in November of 2019, a full year after the team at Dawson moved the operation to a new site. I unfortunately don't know to whom the torch passed to this time, but I was glad to see some of the original branding elements and design queues retained in this new iteration. My work in site design remains kept in the internet crypt that is the wayback machine.
The team that first organised the move cited a want for social integration features. This was funny, as the debate around comments was that the engagement with articles was too low (or low quality) to warrant keeping up with anti-spam measures. I suppose things have since changed. All the same, archives of student work has been preserved and migrated to the new platform, which is now live here.
I am absolutely delighted to learn that the curiosities section has lived on in this new iteration. I am even more so thrilled to see that the horoscopes I started have since continued under that banner. However, to my great dismay, my work writing such winning lines as
Sagittarius: Happy birthday, oh person who had a birthday recently. Know that if you ever become famous or powerful, your birthday will be celebrated more.
Capricorn: Eugenics and the associated ethical dilemmas will appeal more to you this week as you continue your abandon of morality.
were omitted from the content transfer. Such is life.