Silica Magazine

Annual Publication /
Creative Director, Digital and Interactive Design, Creative Coding

2016-NOW /
NYC

Silica Magazine is your travel guide to the environmental apocalypse: reporting on the planet’s changing landscapes through investigative journalism and interactive art. I helped co-found Silica in 2016 and have served as Creative Director across its past three yearly issues, designing and building its brand, campaigns, and publishing platform.


The Critter Issue

Our latest issue, Critters, was funded by and co-published with Engadget.com whose features team partnered with us to do a week-long frontpage takeover. The Critter Issue explores natural ecology in the internet age, asking the question: what is wildlife when the world is no longer wild?

Principle work on the issue spanned the first half of 2018. During the planning and strategy stage, I created a visual identity for the issue that incorporated digitally-generated organic forms with hard-edge typographic treatments to reinforce the themes present in the content that was simultaneously being developed by the editorial team. To compliment the typographic design of the campaign, I created textural digital objects based on 3d scans of organic forms for a full range of RFP and art-direction presentations, social media assets, and internal branding.

As Creative Director, much of my work involved concepting, commissioning, and art directing original work from a talented pool of contributors. Coordinating with our internal editorial team, the Engadget editorial team, and our contributing writers, I linked the written narratives to the visual narratives of our contributing artists and creative technologists.

I also spearheaded execution, within both the Engadget and Silicamag CMS, both of which were given extensive overhauls to accommodate the new content types. On the engadget side, I coordinated these efforts with the Senior Features Editor and their internal dev team. On the Silica side, I refined the UX and visual design of the site to reflect the expansion of the platform and content types.

Critters proved to be the most media-rich and journalistically deep endeavor Silica has yet undertaken, encompassing hundreds of hours of work by a broad and diverse team of writers, artists, coders, and editors, collaborating on everything from t-shirt designs to 360 immersive media. The issue launch was celebrated at Imprint Projects in SOHO, NYC.


The Greater Silica Ecosystem

The Lake Issue was born from discovering a lost lake in the heart of Appalachia. The Homeland Issue rose from a crowd-funded revolt in the American landscape. The Critter Issue hatched from under the wing of a major publisher. I invite you to explore this online ecology, every detail of which we have handcrafted from the bare essentials.

Silica seeks to take the reader on a voyage. Many of our interactives patch in public satellite data that recreate places across the world right there in your browser window, a travel magazine for a world in which the physical and digital landscapes are intractably interconnected. We have entered into a new kind of frontier where the map is the territory, ready to be explored by tapping open a new tab.

Silicamag.com, with its yearly thematic issues, is the heart of Silica. As an entity, it is larger than just a website. Silica is a community. We are experimenting with expanding horizontally into events, branded partnerships, print media, VR, streaming video, and other spaces both online and offline.

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evander batson