The Grid

Cashman , Russell Oliver, photographed by  Tyler Gray .

Cashman, Russell Oliver, photographed by Tyler Gray.

The Grid was an internationally recognized (and locally beloved) weekly newspaper/hybrid in Toronto. Running from 2011 to 2014, it was aimed at smart, engaged and curious people in their 20s and 30s. The team set out to reimagine and redefine what a free urban media brand could be — and prove conclusively that free shouldn't be confused with cheap. The Grid and its contributors (so many amazing contributors!) were honoured with more than 100 national and international awards. The Society of News Design (US) named The Grid one of The World's Best Designed Newspapers for three consecutive years, the first publication ever to achieve that distinction.

We helped develop and build the entire visual identity of the brand, along with its multiple brand extensions, digital products and events.

You can still find an archive of some of the team's favourite art pieces on The Grid Art Department's Tumblr.

Using bold typography, clean and contemporary design, large-scale original photography and a constant 'street-level' presence in the city, The Grid was able to capture a loyal and committed audience. Having a very definite understanding of that audience allowed us to stay true to the editorial voice. We used time stamps, documentary photography, maps, social media and street interviews wherever possible to place our readers within the city.

We encouraged a culture of risk-taking and a strong belief among the entire Grid team that nothing was impossible.

“The Grid feels ahead of its time when many newspapers lack freshness. It knows exactly what the readers need and expect, and it goes deep in the search for stories. We must say that if a publication wants to be the best in the world, it would do well to remember the rich value and high IQ of The Grid."



Infographics played a huge role in our relationship with the reader. Whether it was a large, complex graphic or a tiny diagram, additional layers of information were added to each page. These alternate story formats were a perfect example of how the art and editorial teams worked. Neither the words or the images could stand alone.

The cover strategy was to be very modular in a way that could respond to the content and change weekly while still retaining its visual identity on the stand. We even broke all the rules and played with the logo.

Here's a complete archive, just for fun:

Our final goodbye, illustrated by  LeeAndra Cianci .

Our final goodbye, illustrated by LeeAndra Cianci.

Publisher, Laas Turnbull. Editor, Lianne George. Creative Director, Vanessa Wyse. Photo Director, Shelbie Vermette-Grant. Associate Art Directors, Adam Cholewa & Nicola Hamilton. Designer, LeeAndra Cianci.