“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”
Was the late French writer, poet, aviator, and journalist Antoine de Saint-Exupery talking about writing and journalism when he said those words? Or was he talking about design?
At The Ken, we’d like to think both. If editing is the connective tissue that holds together great stories, design does the same with great products. And both share many fundamental principles.
They’re often minimal, and in some of the best cases, even invisible. Instead, their presence is revealed through improved readability or usability.
They’re enduring. Great stories and great designs hold up over time. They’re timeless.
They’re also universal. A powerful story and a great design can transcend the barriers of geography, language, gender, and age.
Redefining The Ken
The Ken was founded in October 2016 as an attempt to reimagine business journalism. Not for everyone, but for the not insignificant subset of smart and curious subscribers who valued their own time and intelligence above all else. Today, 5 years later, we have over 300,000 such subscribers in India, Southeast Asia, and the rest of the world, over a tenth of who are paying ones.
We managed to do this because we invested early on in three key areas – journalism, products, and design. We’ve partnered with design firm Opposite multiple times since 2016 to define and evolve what has now become our signature design. That design language flows through all our subscriber touchpoints, whether it be our daily emails, exclusive mobile apps, website and even podcasts.
But it’s time to change that. Because The Ken is changing too.
From offering a single subscription plan that unlocked one longform business story each day of the week, we’ve evolved to offering multiple plans that bundle longform journalism, newsletters, infographics, audio and more. From being primarily an Indian publication, we’re now a pan-Asian one with subscribers across Southeast Asia and staff writers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. And in addition to individuals, our subscriber segments include leading college campuses and companies.
Redesigning The Ken
On our 5th anniversary we made a new promise to our subscribers. That The Ken would be “the only business subscription they’d need”.
We’re hiring for our first ever Senior Designer to help us achieve this.
We want her or him to take charge of our entire design function and reimagine what our products ought to not just look like, but be.
Reporting directly to me, the CEO, the Senior Designer will work with product, engineering, marketing and editorial to conceptualize, build and roll out a new design paradigm across our entire current suite of products. One that retains their warmth, personality, usability, and whimsy but reimagines the subscriber experience from the ground up.
Capturing existing and building new feedback loops with our subscriber community will be a big part of this new design. This means better ways for subscribers to comment, share and even participate in our work.
This design will also warrant setting up of a full design system. One that is flexible and modular enough to organically evolve over many years to handle products, features and subscriber segments we may not even know of today.
Our goal will be to create a new design language that makes it easier for us to create stories and products, and for subscribers to consume them. Regardless of format, channel, or geography.
The results of your work will be felt by the founders, investors, executives, policy makers, knowledge professionals, and students who make up The Ken’s subscriber base across India, Southeast Asia, and the world.
You’re also guaranteed to work with the smartest, most diverse, passionate, and curious people in journalism, media, strategy, and products. There will not be a day you will not learn or be challenged.
Because subscription-based journalism is still a nascent and evolving space, there are very few people who can genuinely claim to have “been there, done that” when it comes to designing products in it. Thus, we’re not filtering or optimizing for years of experience.
Instead, we’re looking for a designer who is passionate about journalism, media, subscriptions, and subscriber experiences. Someone who is as excited about the possibilities as they are with the learning opportunities. And someone who has at least 3-4 years of experience designing digital products and experiences in a company that values its products.
This role is based out of Bangalore.
If you’re interested, write to me, Rohin, (all email ids at The Ken follow the [email protected] format) telling me why you’re the one to make this happen. Tell me a bit about yourself, your work (a portfolio would be a plus) and even why some of the stuff in this post doesn’t make sense. If you’re based in Bangalore, perhaps we could even catch up over a coffee.