Greg Grabowy

Art Direction, Design
& Other Musings

Distro

In 2012, I joined Aol Mobile to become art director of an all digital, tablet magazine, based on the content of the Huffington Post. Huffington is a weekly, iPad only publication with the idea that people would want a curated, "best-of", well packaged version of The Huffington Post. I was excited to work on this because Aol was developing their own publishing platform, unlike most magazines which were using Adobe's, one size fits all, DPS platform. This was a chance to get things like sharing and accessibility right, unlike most magazines which were on very closed platforms.

Preview cover to Huffington.
Cover to the Huffington preview issue.
Illustration by Brian Stauffer

Before Huffington launched, I was tasked first with redesigning the templates, the logo and the application's assets for another weekly magazine called Distro. Distro was a tablet magazine, offering a better, offline reading experience based on content from Engadget. Distro was the first magazine on the new platform that Aol Mobile was developing. It was a proof of concept for these type of magazine and was going to be the beginning of many other magazines based on Aol brands. Once we launched the redesign (design and templates built in 5 weeks!), I couldn't split my time between two publications and became the full-time art director of Distro.

Distro ran for 109 issues covering everything from tech product reviews to events like CES, where we did 4 issues in one week. We won an SPD gold for digital cover design, nominated for a Webby award and won an Appy award at SXSW for best digital magazine. Aol Mobile was decentralized 3 months after I started but we still managed keep it running under the Aol Tech group for another year and 4 months.

Cover of Distro before the redesign
Before the redesign.
Photograph by Will Lipman
Cover of Distro after the redesign
After the redesign.
Illustration by ilovedust
Distro cover for Hand-Made Haven story
"Hand-Made Haven": a story about Artisan's Asylum, a hackerspace in Boston.
SPD gold winner for digital cover design.
Distro cover for Back to School Buyers Guide
"Back to School Guide"
Illustration by Harry Campbell
SPD nomination for best illustrated cover