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21 Mar, 2023
8 min time to read

Creators behind the redesign speak out loud from first-hand experience.

Who’s Code

We are! Durov’s Code is a young technology media, based in Dubai and working worldwide. We are constantly focused on delivering the most exciting and extraordinary stories from all over the technology world.

Today we are announcing a new part of our history. We’ve already switched to a new design. But it’s not just the way our web pages or logos look like, it's our philosophy.

That is the story of how we did it, why we did it and who actually did it, told by the very designers behind the project. We asked the members of the SKAM team, Slava Kuteev и Alexey Maslov, to share the experience themselves.

Redesign: the recap

It’s in Dubai where we’ve met the Durov’s Code team for the first time, and it’s precisely where our perspectives on the future of this project coincided as well. We’ve decided to create a new Code together. The Code that will be up to the level of the international media market.

We’ve started by collecting the references. We’ve researched all the big media platforms writing about technologies, such as TechCrunch, The Verge, Wired and Gizmodo, and have conducted a profound interview with the team.

We had no desire to refresh the existing design approach or to copy something already proven good. We aspired to create something new. Our work resulted in a brand new philosophic, visual and product experience for the client - the way we see it now, and the way we forecast it to be in 5-10 years.

There are no options to choose from for our clients, and Durov’s Code is no exception. It’s all psychology: we showcase the process and the way the final result was achieved, and explain meanwhile the wrongness of other drafts. We had nearly 30 of them for Durov’s Code, 10 of which had their way to the short list for the client, and only one was finally approved.

The surname Durov makes the brand special. He is a real person, famous for creating real products, but Pavel Durov does not manage the project. The experience of the user interacting with the brand, both from the inside and outside, means a great deal for us. We looked for a particular, 'minority report'.

What’s new

1 — Apostrophe. For a start, we tried to replace a comma with a point. The point is a symbol of the completed process of edition, and a media container for visual communication as well. But that was not enough. Something was missing… Something to put it all together.

The dog, which follows Pavel as a visual in many of his projects, became the key element. It’s an Easter egg: if you don’t look close enough, you will not notice it. However, the picture is omnipresent and makes you peek into it.

There is another point. What is the code? Something hidden, like backstage. You have to make efforts to find it. The sense itself is coded: you know that something is there, but hidden. A curious reader, however, will find it, if he saves the image, for example.

If you analyze Pavel Durov’s photos, you will notice that he loves practical and comfy clothing. Code is just the same: stylish, comfy and unique, without a need to adapt to anyone.

2 — Web site. We put the logo away from the site header, where it is supposed to be. Our new logo has several resizes, and it fits well in any background and in any plane. At the same time, our apostrophe dog always faces the reader, never bending with the logo.

We’ve decided to refuse the classical site header on the desktop version and have put the logo in the right side of the page. So, it surfs the site along with the user and is always visible. Desktop is more of a horizontal format, so there is much more space left if we put the logo backside. It makes sense, from the point of view of usability and math.

Durov’s Code is not about boasting of the style. It provides the reader with great content with unique analysis. Our design puts content first. It’s kind of an experiment. 99,9% of the sites look the same, so even the slightest change of putting the logo sideways distinguishes us. No one can afford that on the desktop version.

3 — Running line. It implies immediately that Durov’s Code is all about life and news. After having created it, we understood that everything can be put there, from Musk’s tweet to news’ or articles’ previews.

We’ve noticed that the CEOs of internationals always keep their CNN, BBC or Bloomberg turned on with their running lines. That gives them the illusion of always being in touch with what’s happening, and we wanted to translate the feeling through Durov’s Code.

Design creates the space for you to take it. It works exactly the same with clothes. If you want to communicate with smartly dressed people, you have to match them. If you adapt your web page to the ones of the leaders, you reach the same level. It’s a friend-or-foe system, the system of external symbols of being in the space you need to be.

4 — A picture of the day. We featured as much as possible the big article, the latest piece of news, and tried to reach as many aims on one screen as we could. All of the design elements work jointly and complete each other.

We managed to fit a bunch of content on the first screen, but to create space for breath and thoughts at the same time. We wanted to create a hybrid of online media platform and analog glossy magazine, and wanted it to be catched from the first glance.

At the level of a specific article, the user should understand that this material took a lot of effort from the team that created it. The photos are nice, as well as the text. Glossy, IT and online.

It works a bit differently on the smartphone. For example, we can not put the logo on the right backside, because the height is critical for mobile versions. It is not a problem for us, however, because the design pack is adaptive and looks great horizontally as well. Check it out for yourself.

By the way, the Code broke the third wall and became offline as well. Looking forward to further development, we thought about the visual identity for our offices all over the world. For example, we are going to use the version of the logo with the Dubai written in arabic with luminous paint.

That is our way to fit in and to look friendly everywhere we live and work. Originality is a must. No way a brand manager lets someone put a side inscription on the original logo. We can do it, and we do it. Durov’s Code is a powerful brand, and we can afford it.

We do a series of exclusive interviews we promote, and we’ve decided to create posters based on them. For example, we created a live poster for Mohammed Al Banna, one of our heroes, and we are going to present similar ones to all of our exclusive guests.

Who has done it?

SKAM, the creative tandem of Slava Kuteev and Alexey Maslov. We have been working together for more than three years, and have known each other for more than 20 years. Each one of us has a great experience in the design industry, we managed our own design studios and worked in-house. There are very different projects in our portfolio, and we worked both with international companies and startups.

How it all started: once upon a winter we met up to talk and realized that we only want to do what we like to do. We do not want to be an agency that expands the number of clients and creates on a flow, we want to work together and never hire others.

We’ve seen for many times the teams expand too much and lose in quality. Everything starts to mistime and miss the sense. The craft becomes lost.

Durov’s Code inspired us with the ability of a small team to create a product on a world-wide scale. There is just a small number of people in the team, not hundreds of them. Each time we start a job we try on the philosophy of our client, switch sides to become a part of the team and get into the character, just like Stanislavsky said. That is the reason for all of our projects to outlast all of the possible life durations and to stay the same they had been created.

All of our clients have more or less the same problem of thinking inside the box and not being able to look from the outside. We appear to give them vision from different angles, different lenses, different cameras and different ways of seeing, like X-Ray or EM. We scan it and we provide a native result, as natural, as if it has always existed without the ability to be noticed. Out of the box. Space view. This is our way of making things work.

This approach forms something different in the world. People tend to discuss it, to berate or to praise it, but then they see the changes coming. Our projects turn into trendsetters, and others start copying them. We treat our design not as the design, but as something we create for ourselves. You will do your best for your own interest, let it be WC or bed.

SKAM is not just a studio hired to do a redesign project, we are full-fledged partners of Durov’ Code. We will continue to develop and to grow together. We work with different projects, but we liked the Code so much it had to transform into something bigger.

What’s next?

We want the Code to be percepted as something new. Fresh blood, appearing in the media world with big ambitions, expertise, and a cool team. We have no corporation giants behind us, we have done it all ourselves.

For example, many people asked us about the Atomic Heart. “How did you even manage to have an interview with them?!” The creators of the Atomic Heart never talk to any media. Plenty of platforms have written articles about them, but no comments were included. We want people to talk about our team the same way. “Where the hell did you come from? Whoa, you do such a great project with such a small team!”

In the nearest future the Code can be not just the Code of Durov. It can belong to anyone, who has left the trace in the world or art, IT and etc. We have made the space to open new offices to show, that the Code grows and expands all around the world - not only Dubai, but New Delhi, Seoul, Tokyo as well. Everywhere.

Create awesome projects and look beyond the sensible.

Slava Kuteev and Alexey Maslov