The page-turning story of Quartzy, the weekly email that became a digital lifestyle mag

Composite of 3 mobile screenshots of Quartzy

Quartz has created a glossy magazine-inspired media brand called Quartzy off the back of the success of a weekly lifestyle email of the same name.

The publisher is using the popularity of lifestyle content on Quartz – encompassing fashion, travel, food, culture, design, entertainment, books, and tech – to create its own standalone brand housed in a mobile-friendly format inspired by the leading glossy mags.

Zach Seward, Quartz's senior vice president of product and executive editor, told The Drum: “Since our launch five years ago, we thought there would be a good opportunity to extend further into lifestyle. This has been on Quartz and has resonated with our readers so that gave us the conviction to go ahead and build it into a standalone brand.”

The new brand will host existing lifestyle content but the ranks have swollen with the hiring of Annaliese Griffin to report on food, Rosie Spinks on travel, and Noël Duan on fashion and beauty. Quartzy newsletter editor Indrani Sen now handles the site, alongside global lifestyle editor, David Kaufman.

The brand has one significant purpose, said Seward, which is “to help our readers have a great day”. The content reflects this, touching down on the cultural points global business professionals may want to consume on their downtime.

The Quartz family now includes the recently launched Quartz at Work, and the more relaxed sister title Quartzy, in addition to the data-powered Atlas product that is crammed with charts and visualized data. On expanding a media brand like Quartz, Seward said: “It was important to pick areas of coverage and brands that really fit with the broader Quartz mission as a guide to the global economy. Don’t expect us to launch a sports brand, it wouldn’t fit.

“But management in the workplace with Quartz at Work, last month for example... these seem very much in the wheelhouse of global business people. The plan is not to do a slew of these but to focus on making them all they can be.”

The format has been heavily influenced by print titles and the design team was challenged with adapting this for mobile. This intent resulted in a crisp and spacious UI with an inbuilt Spotlight ad unit made to emulate the bold ad formats of the same magazines that inspired the brand.

Seward said: “The people who big up the leading lifestyle mags read them for the ads as the much as content, our ads are as good as everything around it. Readers still love the experience of paging through a luxurious print magazine. It is hard to match what is so great about sitting with a great magazine.

“We tried to identify the best elements from the glossy experience and transfer it to the internet, while also doing what is great about reading on the web; a clean design that stays out of the way with a more space for the images to shine.”

Quartzy has opened Facebook and Instagram accounts to build a lifestyle audience on social media. Furthermore, it is experimenting with a “companion” Facebook Messenger bot less focused on search mechanics and more capable of aiding unique activities. The two current features are a Stranger Things binge partner and a 12-hour bread recipe whereupon the bot aids with the timing. With this the company has set out to create uses that a standard bot user would struggle to conceive, but may find valuable.

The bot will be tested for two months as Quartz learns just how audiences interact with it. Depending on its success, it may continue.

John McCarthy

John is an entertainment marketing reporter at The Drum. He writes about the amazing marketing stories coming from the movie, TV, music and video game industries. He's also the hunt for the weirder trends in marketing and advertising.

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