In November, Fast Company continued the migration of their online presence toward Co… meaning that each of their sections will be renamed and rebranded using Co+[term]. “Co” means “complementary” in mathematics, or “forming a satisfactory whole.” Co.Design has led the way with its unique look and feel as it explores the important role of design plays in our world. Now, what used to be Ethonomics has become Co.Exist, meaning “to exist separately or independently, but peaceably, often while remaining rivals or adversaries.”
So what is Co.Exist really about? We caught up to Fast Company editor Morgan Clendaniel via email to ask him about the change. Clendaniel was formerly the editor of Ethonomics and now leads Co.Exist.
TriplePundit: Why all the change? Is everything migrating to a redesigned site?
Morgan Clendaniel: The general idea is to take the various themes that Fast Company writes about and give them all their own online home. Want everything that Fast Company’s about? You can go to the Fast Company homepage. Want just stories about world changing solutions? Well, there is a place for that, too. Yes, the Ethonomics page did that before, but it was hard to really formulate an identity on that page. With Co.Exist, we have a home for this content that lets it both inform other pieces due to their proximity, and lets us focus and direct our coverage as a separate entity.
3p: Is Co.Exist’s page redesign the only change? What will Co.Exist do that Ethonomics didn’t?
MD: I think Co.Exist’s tagline–world changing ideas and innovation–has a scope that goes beyond just Ethonomics. We’ll still be writing a lot about Ethonomics, certainly, but I think we’re looking to do more than just cover how businesses can behave more responsibly and go farther into any solutions that people are proposing–be it for business or elsewhere–that are going to make life better.
3p: The look of the site is very different with the large fonts, large photos and white space. What was the thought process behind the design? As screens are getting smaller, what made you decide to go bigger?
MD: I think people are really eager for more than just text on screen. A lot of the design choices we made are aimed to give the site a more print-like feel, in that we have elements like sidebars, pull quotes, big images. Generally, we just have more ways to texture a story, to add entry points, and display information in different ways. A huge block of text just isn’t that appealing, and so the site is designed to combat that and give us more opportunities to grab people’s attention, and give people a little bit of a break from the relentless pace of the insane internet.
3p: What audience are you looking to reach? Still a primarily business audience? Who would you like to see reading your content?
MD: It’s pretty rare these days to find a business that isn’t at least making gestures toward giving back in some way. So, in that way, our audience should be all people interested in business. Businesses that aren’t embracing at least a little of the Co.Exist ethos aren’t going to make it very much longer. So, yes, business people interested in learning ideas for how others are taking their businesses to new, socially responsible places are definitely part of the audience. But there are also a lot of people who may be less interested in the business side and are just interested in hearing about amazing solutions to problems. People might disagree about the causes, but most people agree that the country and the planet aren’t on a great track. We’re looking to highlight things that are going to take us on a different path. We want to look at the business case for them, sure, because we want to make sure they’re viable. But anyone, even people uninterested in business, can get excited about an invention that’s going to change how they live.
3p: In your editor’s note, you say, “We’re going to fix things, no matter what it takes. But enough with being polite. It’s time to kick down the doors to find a solution.” How will Co.Exist help do that? What action do you hope people will take after reading the stories on Co.Exist?
MD: As people see all the amazing projects going on, maybe their attitude changes a little, and more people get on board with that fact that we’re in dire straits, but that human ingenuity is working hard to fix things. If there are prospective investors or VCs reading the site, maybe they see a project that has potential that they want to help out. Hopefully some people will see a story on Co.Exist and get inspired to do their own similar project, or devote more of their time to an issue. It’s about collecting all this inspiration in one place and then letting people pick the best ideas to build on, invest in, or get involved with.
3p: The site has been up for about a month. How do the readers like it so far?
MD: I hope they like it. We’ve had a lot of success with a bunch of stories–like the photos of the electric Delorean–and people seem engaged and interested. We’ll see what next month brings.
image: Fast Company Co.Exist