Madame Figaro, a popular weekly magazine for the sophisticated French woman, is a French institution since 1980. It is the second most read women’s magazine in France and is known for its high-quality content on fashion, culture and society.
In 2006, Madame Figaro hired AREA 17 to help them redesign their website in order to become the premier online destination for French women. The aim was to bring their website up to the quality of the magazine and expand their reach to include a younger audience. Our role was to assist in the content strategy, create the new visual identity online and design the website, including the interface development.
The new website would offer premium original content made just for the web while still giving access to the weekly print magazine content. The website departments would be expanded beyond fashion, culture and society into beauty, jewelry, decoration, celebrities, marriage, children, leisure, cuisine, astrology and news.
A seasoned team of ten content editors was hired to create the new departments along with the content that would to be updated daily, sometimes even hourly. The breadth of content dictated the need for a streamlined and highly organized website architecture. Though with 200+ unique page designs, the experience is far from standard.
The website needed to open more opportunities for Madame Figaro to connect with their audience, but without diluting their brand with the noise of social chatter. To this end, we introduced an exclusive club — Le Club — with premium privileges.
As an online magazine, the website needed to offer many opportunities for monetization, but with grace and elegance. The new design introduced the concept of “advertising as content” which showcases one single large ad on each page and maintains a look that is similar to print magazines. The design also included many opportunities for content sponsorship and affiliate marketing.
The whole experience was brought together in a design that aimed to have a real editorial feeling, translating their high-quality print image to the web without compromising usability or search-engine friendliness.
With 200+ unique page designs, the experience is far from standard.
The website launched in time for the holiday season 2006 with almost instant success. It has since become the definitive French source for fashion online with comprehensive coverage of all fashion shows in Paris. And, as a whole, the website today is seen to parallel the quality of the print counterpart and has given rise to many new opportunities for the magazine.
We are delighted to have participate in the online “remaking of…” this great icon and French institution. And we were further tickled when they choose to do a feature on Le Mariage de Dominique et George — two AREA 17 partners.