Very Smart Brothas was founded in 2008 by Damon Young and Panama Jackson as a relationship blog with a humorous perspective. The site quickly gained popularity as a daily stop for anyone seeking a witty and insightful approach to dating, pop culture, and race. Averaging 10,000 unique visitors a day, 450 comments per entry, tens of thousands of social media followers, newspaper, radio, and TV features & appearances, a best-selling book, and a web series pilot, an expansion of their online entity was a natural progression.

Upon Young receiving a grant from Heinz Endowments in early 2014, I was hired as Art Director to guide the design, development, and re-launch of the newly minted "VSB." From one entry a day and the most basic of Wordpress templates to a multiple-article, multiple-contributor platform, it was a sizable challenge, but the result has been very well received and widely praised.

Note: I did a slight remix/redesign in May of 2015 to make the site responsive and retina display-optimized.

Huny was my first and only choice last year when thinking of an Art Director to lead the aesthetic vision for my magazine. Having worked with her for over a decade, I was very familiar with her work and her status as a web design visionary. She has not disappointed, creating a brilliant custom layout that has received raves from readers and users alike. Not only would I recommend her Huny any design-based projects, I'd question the decision-making of someone who didn't.

--Damon Young, EIC
VSB Logo:
VSB
VSB Homepage:
VSB homepage
VSB UI
VSB; tablet views
VSB
VSB; mobile:
VSB
VSB; various devices:
VSB
VSB's "Blackest Name Ever" Tournament; graphics
VSB

The day the new site launched, the "Blackest Name Ever" Tournament also debuted. This tourney was classic VSB-fare--humorous, tongue-in-cheek, and culturally specific to the core audience. The graphics I designed to accompany the tourney did their part to introduce the new VSB aesthetic and promote the #blackestname hashtag on social media.

VSB redesign 1.0
VSB

The original VSB redesign received a lot of compliments from VSB's notoriously fickle but loyal audience. However, as the site continued to evolve and I observed the users' browsing habits, it became apparent that certain sections could use more shine and others should be phased out (RIP Rollcall). I decided that a "remix" was necessary. The homepage saw the biggest changes, including expanding the top stories section to house 5 articles instead of 3. I also added responsiveness and retina-optimization site-wide. I still do like the previous look, but I always aim for the best user experience possible and the current layout is a testament to that.

VSB identity--letterhead + business card:
VSB identity

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