Vox Media Podcast Network is a fast-growing collection of 200+ shows spanning business, technology, news, sports, and dining. Each of these podcasts have custom art crafted by in-house designers. As the network grew, so did the need for a strong design system to consolidate all of this artwork. I joined Vox Media’s Brand Design team as their Brand Design Intern this summer and was given the opportunity to tackle this challenge.

After several weeks of extensive research, including a competitive analysis and an audit, I finalized a style guide and template system that strengthened brand recognition, established artwork consistency across 8 unique brands, and streamlined the process of producing podcast assets.

Competitive Analysis

I kicked off this project by first assessing our competitors’ design systems to identify how different placement guidelines influenced or aligned with different elements of podcast art.

Podcast art from Audioboom, Earwolf, Gimlet, NPR, The New York Times, PodcastOne, Slate, TED, WNYC Studios, and Wondery
Grid systems of podcast art from Audioboom, Earwolf, Gimlet, NPR, The New York Times, PodcastOne, Slate, TED, WNYC Studios, and Wondery


Next, I assessed our own podcast art to pinpoint areas that could benefit from structured guidelines.

Podcast art from Vox Media
Grid systems of podcast art from Vox Media


Some of the design systems we explored were flexible (e.g. Earwolf) while others were strict (e.g. NPR, The New York Times), each with their own strengths and weaknesses. While flexible systems are easier to implement and accommodate a wider range of artwork compositions, strict systems offer stronger consistency and brand recognition.


After several rounds of exploration in both of these directions, we decided firm guidelines surrounding the placement and sizing of logos on tile art would drive consistency across Vox Media Podcast Network as a whole, while looser guidelines for ads and social assets would support each network's unique branding and illustration style.

To push standardization, I developed a grid system that spanned tile art and 15+ different house ads and social assets. The final style guide included guidelines for placement, sizing, color, alignment, spacing, and special rules for flagship podcasts and partnerships.

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