Visual language evolution and content atomisation at Red Bull Media House

UX and content design influence each other. transitioned from being a communication-led outlet (a repository of content) to an audience-centric editorial brand. Intuition led the platform redesign at first, but data became soon our north star. The old was a repository-like experience, with navigation driven by media types and internal taxonomies. It was desktop-first, with minimal CSS adaption for mobile. The visual content did not have the prominence it deserved. Often, the metadata display was more prominent than the content itself.

Becoming media

A magazine-like experience, centered on vertical channels and aggregating content by topics. Image-first, bold typography and easy-to-read text. On mobile, personalized feeds. Pages designed to be visual first, making the audiovisual consumption – videos, live streams, photos – rewarding and engaging.

Fully visual

2.0 Fully visual, mobile-first. Made for pure discovery. Less emphasis on verticals, more options to discover new stuff. Cool moments first, deep dives second. 100% mobile-first, inspired by Google Material Design. Concise text, smart brevity, less technical.

Content atomisation in action.

The mindset.

Everybody has been talking about content atomisation in the last years. In the content marketing playbooks, the content pyramid model has become the rule de facto: start with a primary artefact and produce lots of versions and by-products to distribute and activate on all channels. Whatever you like to call it, atomised content, pyramid or “portfolio mindset”, the planning and pre-production phase is super important.

The playbook

My playbook is different: do not think first about your primary output – a thought leadership piece, video ads, a long video feature -, but think and plan every shoot, writing and design task to populate a portfolio of items.

That is how we reinvented the commissioning process at Red Bull Media House: we began with the end in mind. What outputs, formats, artefacts could we use on different channels, for different audiences, to achieve what goal?

The result was a shooting/production list – video segments, photos, chunks of text, verbatim, data to collect – including a tagging strategy for each media segment to make it searchable and reusable on our digital asset management system.


Mike Fanning, a world-class surfing hero, making sports history and content history too. We applied our playbook at many of his projects. One of them was a six-episodes video series following Mike during his preparation for the next Surfing World Championship, with each episode 15 mins duration.

Our content-pyramid shotlist.

  • 30 secs to 1 min of pure action shots for social media.
  • Short verbatim segments about several topics.
  • Photo portraits in various ratios and formats and other photos of the locations where we did the shooting for our picture library.

The outcome.

Several by-products we could use on special occasions and produce with low effort thinking forward. For instance: a “Best of Mike” short we cut right after Mike survived to a shark attack and distributed to worldwide media, free (and not too much branded).