CNNi Goes Clean Matt 15 Feb 2006

43 comments Latest by chy

Loud, grating design on tv is standard: the gaudy Tron-like intro to American Idol, the flying swooshes of Fox Sports, the headache-inducing scrolling news tickers of cable news channels, etc. Everything’s gotta be moving and DYNAMIC!

So kudos to CNN International for going with a cleaner look and abandoning that ticking scroller (it’s been replaced with a new information bar that displays one complete sentence or story at a time). CNNi is billing the change as a “radical move away from the cluttered screens and heavy graphics that currently prevail…”


Design firm Kemistry is behind the changes and says it cut back the font graphics to the length of words and sentences so that “the video footage, so often obscured, becomes the most important feature on the screen.” [via Waxy]

43 comments so far (Jump to latest)

RS 15 Feb 06


Ethan 15 Feb 06

I love it

Rob L. 15 Feb 06

That’d be a nice trend in TV.

Check out Kemistry’s site, though (, and the way the scrolling is set up on the news stories. That is just so awful I can’t believe my eyes.

Rabbit 15 Feb 06

Nice, but I’m still wary of major media outlets.

I think it’s great CNNi is embracing a leaner (“less”) style regarding visuals. Unfortunately, that alone will not change what is deemed as news.

Also, given this is CNN International, I wonder if it’s not simply a tactic to appeal to those outside the US.

Dan Boland 15 Feb 06

I like the move toward a cleaner look, and overall, I like it.

But having said that, when I look at this, it reminds me of opening an Illustrator document to find out you’re missing the main font, so it replaces it with a plain-jane sans-serif. I think a lot of it has to do with the odd use of negative space.

beltzner 15 Feb 06

Looks a lot like BBC World. Good move. Of course, they’re still to blame for inventing a lot of those dynamic graphics.

Dean 15 Feb 06

I love it. It reminds me a bit of the Economist magazine.

David Holtz 15 Feb 06

I noticed this from lifted clips on The Daily Show. It made me think of SPAN tags with background attributes.

Jin 15 Feb 06

Exactly what I thought, Dean. the Economist magazine look and feel. Clean and bold.

Dion Almaer 15 Feb 06

When I first saw this I thought I had flicked to the BBC too. Almost identical. Very clean indeed.

It was fun to see the Global Edition of The Daily Show hit europe too on CNNi :)



Andy 15 Feb 06

Wow. What a BBC World rip off.

Doug 15 Feb 06

I love it. This is a perfect example of web design influencing other fields in the design discipline. Like mentioned before, they’re SPANs on my TV! Who would’ve thunk?

dru 15 Feb 06


Ian Waring 15 Feb 06

Looks like BBC News 24 to me :-}

Brandon Eley 15 Feb 06

I think this is a good move, and hope to see it on all the CNN channels soon. It’s refreshing to see a simple, easy to read information bar. Usually they’re scrolling so much info you could never absorb it all, even if you could possibly read that fast.

Good job applying simple to the real world.

SLAPSHOTW/Matt 15 Feb 06

In case anyone is curious, Campfire is now up.


Rabbit 15 Feb 06

In case anyone is curious, Campfire is now up.

What?! No formal post??

Just kidding. YAY!!!

Dennis Frank 15 Feb 06

campfire? why now? ;-) i think this is to much for my k750 with opera mini. can’t wait to come back with the big browser …

SLAPSHOTW/Matt 15 Feb 06

Actually Dennis, I’d be curious to know how it works on there.


beto 15 Feb 06

Good to see this coming. Even if some say it’s a BBC ripoff, what do I care..

Meanwhile, my local news channel has recently adopted that annoying ticker “feature” as a sign of “cutting edge journalism”. Or something along those lines.


pwb 15 Feb 06

On first glance, this does *not* strike me as cleaner. All the randomly positioned, different sized rectangles and very bold colors and fonts are very distracting to my eye.

Jack 15 Feb 06

It’s annoying because in Australia the news programs are just starting to experiment with squeezing more and more text on to the screen.

During September 11 when we were shown the live feeds from CNN and ABC, I remember wondering how anyone could concentrate on the actual footage when there was so much text on screen.

Ry Rivard 15 Feb 06

It looks good in this picture on the web, but from the Daily Show clips it’s absolutely awful.

Because the text summary box (reminiscent of the old 37svn hyperlinks) is so high off the bottom of the screen - and because it’s variable in length depending on the words, it kept obscuring people’s faces, and moving when the accompanying text summary changed. Plus, what is that Live box doing stuck out from the CNN logo box, and why does the logo box have so much white space?

After less than 20 seconds I was extraordinarily distracted and rather than a good cross-media adoption this seems like confused maladaptation.

eh 15 Feb 06

this is completely off topic.

one thing you guys have never pointed out about basecamp is that the legal mumbo jumbo is written in a very non legalese way. it’s quite readable, especially compared to typical “license agreements” which start with three pages of crap (“heretofore the word ‘You’ shall refer to you”…) and the most important stuff, if any, is hidden amidst pages of obvious stuff that any reasonable consumer assumes to be true already.

so props to you guys on that.

pwb 15 Feb 06

eh, good find. What I bet has happened with legal agreements is that lawyers are so in to precendence that they never pare down previous stuff and instead keep adding and adding and adding. As if any of these lawyers have actually been in a law suit regarding the obscure crap they put in these agreements.

I’d like to see lawyers start back from scratch. Go back to one page agreements and see how well they hold up in court.

JF 15 Feb 06

Thanks eh. We spent some good time on that making sure it made sense to the people that were reading it (non-lawyers).

Tory 15 Feb 06

I don’t really like it. I wish that they had made it more like Bloomberg.

Henry 16 Feb 06

It looks like Campfire has been released. Wow, it sure is EXPENSIVE though. How unfornuate.

Any hopes of BaseCamp integration? I would definately perfer to have all of this within side BaseCamp if possible.

Mark 16 Feb 06

I would have to agree w/pwb and some others in that I’m not totally sold on CNNI’s new graphic package.

The CNN banner, especially the “live” box crowds the top of the anchor’s head when they are broadcasting a dual team news program. I want walk up to my TV and peel it off, or push it up further to the top of my screen to get it out of the way

The live box should be integrated in with the CNN logo — the space between them bugs me

Regarding the news title and summary — it takes precedence on the screen. My focus is shifted away from the actual story, as I can’t get my eyes off the text. It’s counter-intuitive to the medium. I feel like I’m reading a blog post title or a newspaper headline — and completely missing what’s going on in the video.

In the transition graphic — coming out from programming and into a commercial, you have the CNN slide AND the CNN banner showing up (at least it did while I was watching it, maybe that was a fluke), nonetheless, it was redundant and ridiculous looking.

I do like the new way they present the ticker — very clean and I do like the way they use the graphics to identify diferent people — ie John Smith / CNN-I Weather

But all together as presented in the screen capture is overwhelming and confusing. There’s no focus, and what little there is goes to the wrong presentation medium.

Anonymous Coward 16 Feb 06

It looks like Campfire has been released. Wow, it sure is EXPENSIVE though. How unfornuate.

Complaining about $12/month! How unfortunate that you sound like a cheap ass.

JF 16 Feb 06

Henry, I’m sorry you don’t think it’s worth $12/month. Use the free version for 30 days and then make that decision. It’s amazing how much value you’ll find in simple centralized group chat.

Remember, this isn’t a replacement for 1-on-1 IM conversations, this is about group chat and real-time group productivity. We’ve been using Campfire for about 45 days now internally and we can’t live without it. It’s become our most used app internally.

As far as integrating it with Basecamp, each chat has a URL — just link to a chat from a Basecamp message or to-do or post it on the overview page announcement. The web integrates the products.

And as far as making it a feature of Basecamp, it’s not something that is planned at this time. This was a 4+ month development process (it may look simple on the surface, but this app was far from simple to make look and work simple at scale), so if we did ever add it directly to Basecamp it wouldn’t be a free feature. It would either 1. only be on the higher plans, or 2. would cost about as much as the standalone Campfire plans.

Henry 16 Feb 06

{ JF } Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea of campefire is very interesting. Just for me, who owns a small business with 4 employees, justifying $12/mo might not seem a lot but we have already done most of features Campefire does by using MSN (which is free).

MSN saves our chats for us, which seems to be a major selling point, we occasionally post those transcripts to BaseCamp as a “Message” under our “transcript” category if it’s really important. It’s free, now yes - we have to install it but it’s really not that much of an issue.

I’m not here to be promoting MSN.

I’ll give Campfire a try for the 30 day trial and hope to be suprised. (If the prices were about 1/2 of what they are now, I would strongly consider purchasing the product. Just the idea of spending at minimum $144/year on web based group chat still seems steep for those of us in the Fortune 5000000).

SLAPSHOTW/Matt 16 Feb 06


Interesting point about still charging for it, even as part of Basecamp (as opposed to something like Writeboards).

Without taking into consideration things like adding on complexity to Basecamp billing, etc…, I would rather pay $15 a month for Campfire to be part of basecamp than $12 for it not to be.

I’ll probably end up paying the $12 anyway, though. We’ll see what happens this month.


SLAPSHOTW/Matt 16 Feb 06

Also, Jason- when do we get a CF post, so that we can actually talk about it in the correct place.

And, will there be a CF support forum, like Basecamp and Backpack?


Aleksandar 16 Feb 06

The moment I saw this, my first thought was: “Man, it looks like EuroNews”.

Jason 16 Feb 06

The design is an extremely clean look, but also reminds me of Roger Black’s view of design. His 1997 book, Web Sites That Work, emphasizes minimal and clean design. (

What’s more, I tend to think the printed medium influenced this redesign more than the web did.

Amr 16 Feb 06

All these moving graphics make me nauseous! About time they took it off.

I sometimes do think it has something to do with information uptake and retention in audiences (and perhaps association with truthiness of the regurgitate being pushed).

Rickety 16 Feb 06

Well, it is still busy and distracting (do we really need 8 separate text areas for a single video feed?) but anything that rids us of the hateful newscrawl is a major victory in my book.

Mary 17 Feb 06

My first reaction was that is was very much like the Beeb, too, but it’s implementation, as noted above, is weak.

BBC World is the single most gorgeous tv broadcast in the world. Not only are the supplementary graphics useful, tidy and non-distracting, but the lush interstitials keep me watching even the weather just so I don’t miss anything.

Cameron Fleming 18 Feb 06

I don’t really care for the new look though I admit that the graphic posted here is all I have seen of it — it looks random and frankly a little sloppy. Compare it with CBC’s new look which also echoes BBC World but is cleaner and has a classic look compared to the increasingly tabloid-looking CNN.

On the subject of the one-sentence headlines, in Canada CTV Newsnet has always had something like those at the bottom of the screen. I find they rarely work very well — one sentence written in headline-ese usually leaves you wondering just what the heck the story is about (“‘Victim dead after murder?’ What’s that supposed to mean?!”). The scrolling news is much more useful.

Sherwin Techico 22 Feb 06

At a way. Great job peeps.

chy 05 Mar 06

what is that supposed to mean the scroling news is much more useful