Orange you glad?

(The Nav rebranded)
The Navigator is looking a little different this year—not only because of our fresh new colours and overhauled website, but also because we’re facing new challenges that have come along with the world of online journalism. As we look ahead into the future of The Nav, we’ve gone back to some of our old ways—like sending out monthly newsletters. But we’re also unafraid to try new things and push ourselves to be more creative and expressive with the content that we share. Follow along as we embrace a new wave of change, growth, and opportunities.

There I was, standing in line at the Urban Planet checkout in late August, when two colours caught my eye. Looking at the display of $5 phone cases, I realized that two of them were very similar to those in The Nav’s colour palette. 

Soon I would be stepping into the role of Associate Editor. It would be so smooth of me to colour coordinate my phone case with The Nav, I thought. Yes. Great idea. Let’s get one. But which one do I choose? 

Green or purple?

Wait a minute…. 

Where’d the orange go?

Surprise! We rebranded. (Again).

                                                             ~

Welcome to Volume 55 of The Navigator

If you’re a returning student of VIU, you may have noticed that we switched up our colour palette. 

Why? 

Because our new Managing Editor, Megan Zolorycki, has “strong feelings” towards the orange we were using.

“I hate the orange,” she said.

Just kidding! Sort of. She did say that—more than once—but that’s not why we’re rebranding.

As our editor Sophia Wasylinko explained earlier this year in her article “Turning the Page,” The Nav has had a lot to adapt to these last few years. By the time our magazine was able to find a new normal post-pandemic, shifts in content and style had already begun to appear, so we decided it was time to say hey—to new ideas. 

To new waves

The rebrand came out of a central need to overhaul our website. As we transitioned to an online-only publication, The Nav lost some of the qualities that made its issues feel like issues and its volumes feel distinct. Unless you looked at the date of each article, you probably wouldn’t know which pieces were part of which issue.

Associate Media Editor Mike Duddy took the reins of the web project. As he explained, the new site would need “to present articles like they are part of a collection,”—because they are. Each feature article is part of an issue.

Okay, easy peasy. Just use PDFs. Right?

Nope. We have videos and audio now, too, alongside our written articles. So, team-new-website spent the summer coming up with ways to emphasize our monthly issues, making them look more cohesive and feel more tangible, focusing on layout and assembly just like we would for a print magazine. 

Oddly enough, in finding the new Nav, we’ve returned to some old tricks. Like newsletters—which you should sign up for. And old positions, like the Art Director.

By the time our magazine was able to find a new normal post-pandemic, shifts in content and style had already begun to appear, so we decided it was time to say hey—to new ideas. 

To new waves

While the web peeps worked on the backend, Art Director Celia Brand made design mockups for each page. Feeling that I had a pretty clear vision on how to tackle our issues, I worked with Celia to reintroduce and refresh some elements that were present in print. For example, it was really important to me that the volume number stood out. So I told Celia to give it “more pizazz,” and more pizazz is exactly what she gave it. 

It was exciting to see what Celia would come up with when given a direction, but it was even better when she captained her own ship. 

Celia invited a sea of new colours as she took the helm, and, yes, waved farewell to that god-awful perfectly fine orange.

So, why green? Why purple? 

These are all important questions, so I went straight to the source. The Brand behind The Nav’s latest rebrand.

“The team wanted a palette that is clean and professional but with a unique pop of colour,” she explained. 

Like any good designer, Celia started off by doing her research. She scooped up a bunch of Nav relics—previous print issues of the magazine—and (I imagine) laid them out like a treasure map on a really big table.

“I definitely took some inspiration from issues that feature more experimental elements of illustration as well as issues that played with wilder colours,” she said. She got plenty of ideas gleaning the covers of Volume 51, but especially #5—with a green overlay—and #6—with a purple overlay. 

The palette that I chose to move ahead with features mainly organic tones—such as green, charcoal, and tan—with a pop of lilac as an interesting/contrasting element.

 Shoot, my bad. Not purple, lilac

“The organic tones are supposed to represent more about VIU and the island granola vibe,” she added.

We know that as passionate as The Nav’s content creators are about bringing awareness to societal issues, supporting local artists, and uncovering truths untold, there’s room to embrace the laid back island lifestyle, and the new colours do exactly that.

Another major change is that our editors are no longer constrained to a certain section. We used to have a News Editor, a Features Editor, and an Arts Editor, but now they’re all just editors. We want our team to be able to switch it up when they want to—interests change over time, and interested writers make more interesting pieces. Also, maybe we just want our team to be happy. Is that so bad? 

Plus, there are tons of topics that don’t fit neatly into these categories. For example, one of our editors is super interested in fashion. Could it be art? Maybe. Depending on the type of piece, an article on fashion could fall into any one of those categories. But what if the way she wanted to write it didn’t fit with her editorial descriptor? Well, I think we’d miss out on a very trendy piece, and we certainly don’t want that. We don’t see any reason why she or anyone else shouldn’t be allowed to write such a piece. 

While we’ve decreased our focus on hard news over the years, The Nav has always featured entertainment and lifestyle pieces and we’ve done fun stuff since the very beginning—in fact, we even had a Fashion Editor on our first ever masthead. 

Don’t worry, we’ll still keep you updated on campus and community life. We’ll continue to publish a new issue on the second Tuesday of the month, but this year we’ll also provide more timely updates in between issues, rather than dropping an issue and going ghost (Danny Phantom, anyone?) for the rest of the month. 

To do this, we’ve created a new position: the Nav Reporter.

To be completely candid, however, we don’t really know what this looks like. That’s okay. We’re trying it out.

As legitimate and professional as we assure you we are, The Nav is still primarily focused on providing an opportunity for students to develop their expertise in the field. If you don’t have the freedom to try new things, how are you supposed to find out what you like or what you’re good at? 

Increased freedom is a welcome change among The Nav’s staff—and not just for the editorial team.

We all loved Celia’s illustrations last year, so we decided to make her design each issue. Against her will.

Kidding. For this first issue, we essentially gave her a theme and told her to go for it. 

“It’s definitely a very daunting change from my position last year of just making the illustrations for feature pieces,” she said. 

Daunting as it may be, Celia has done more than keep her head above water and is always coming up with fresh ideas.

“I think it will be a great opportunity for me to learn and grow as a designer with the amount of freedom I feel that I have with my work at the Nav.”

That right there? That’s why we do this. 

When we mentioned the idea of themed issues to Celia, she knew just how to make each one stand out. She brought up the overlay on the Volume 51 covers again, which the web peeps realized might work even better online. By designing the cover images with a colour cast upon hover, we are able to take advantage of the format’s unique abilities while retaining the photographs’ original hues should they be important. 

In case you didn’t catch that, we’re doing themed issues now—themed issues that you can submit to. 

Although the content we create is all non-fiction, we like to supplement our issues with other genres. We know how daunting it can be to submit your work for publication, so we’ve made the submissions process and requirements pretty chill. We accept all types of media: fiction, poetry, non-fiction, scripts, videos, and everything in between and beyond.

While we’ve kept the theme for this first issue fairly broad, our future themes will be more specific. For October, we want to see all your sweet and spooky stories for our “trick or treat” issue.

We have lots of fun ideas up our sleeves, so anyone interested in submitting should seriously consider that newsletter to stay updated on the theme of the next issue. 

Speaking of sleeves, we challenge you to see if you can spot us repping our logo in our new Nav sweatshirts. Hopefully it’s not too difficult—after all, part of the reason we invested in them is so that we’re more visible (and look more official) on campus and at events. (Also, there’s no heating in the Nav room, so it’s a two birds, one sweater situation).

                                                                ~

We’ve done a lot of reflection for Volume 55, but it doesn’t stop there.

If you’ve read any of the issues in Volume 54, you may have noticed a trend towards personal pieces (*cough cough* Megan). Now you may be thinking: Hey, how come The Nav editors get to just write about themselves? What makes them so important? 

Well, you know what? I like writing about myself. Sue me. 

As an early aughts kid, oversharing on the internet was normalized before I’d even reached my teens. At twelve years old, I found my community on Twitter, experiencing culture shock from my couch as I lived the Fourth of July vicariously through the livetweets of One Direction fan accounts run by girls two years my senior. 

I was also on Tumblr, but we don’t talk about that.

From that moment on, I was hooked. A decade later, it’s still the best way I have to explain my seemingly self-obsessed, attention-seeking agenda: I feel the constant urge to metaphorically livetweet my every experience, not because I feel that I in particular deserve the space to, but because maybe someone listening will find the little things as fascinating as I do, and maybe their internal monologue and mine can be friends.

Besides, sharing is caring. Maybe if we share our personal experiences, we’ll be able to connect to our audience on a deeper level. 

Yes, we’re all connected through our affiliation to VIU, and yes, we’re connected by the communities in which we live, by history (a colonial one, unfortunately) and by the land itself ( land which was stolen from the Snuneymuxw First Nation). We’re connected institutionally, communally, and spatially.

Headshot of Joe Enns with foresty background
Headshot of Joe Enns with foresty background

The iPhone (11, yes) cases I purchased in legitimate preparation for The Nav’s rebranding.

Top: lilac / bottom: green (ft. stain from purple hair dye).
Photo By: Tianna Vertigan

Maybe if we share our personal experiences, we’ll be able to connect to our audience on a deeper level. 

We’re still your friendly neighbourhood student press, but there are so many other things that can and do connect us. The student identity is just one of many, and it’s important to keep the floor open for all the other identities that intersect and shape a student’s—and a person’s—experience.

Sure, not everyone’s going to relate to all of our content. But if a few students who are also people can see themselves or their friends or their family in even a few of our pieces, it’s worth it—and if they don’t, at least we’re expanding their horizons. 

We’re important collectively, but we’re also important individually. Why are we as individuals important? Because we said so. Maybe you can do the same, and maybe we can help you believe it. 

After all, no ones stopping you from writing a piece about yourself and submitting it to The Nav. In fact, we’d love it if you did. 

And I think that’s part of the reason why we feel the need to share. We open up so that others will open up too. I don’t think it’s selfish. I think it’s human. 

When I started at VIU four years ago, I truly looked at The Nav as a beacon. I saw this independent student press as trustworthy and thought, Okay, these people know what they’re doing. Even though I hardly knew anything about The Nav, it brought me a sense of safety. 

But it also made me feel a bit seasick. Seasick at the thought of not living up to my own expectations. Seasick at the thought of not knowing my path yet, at the thought of knowing that’s what I was there to discover, and the thought of actually discovering it. 

The truth? Nobody knows what they’re doing. Ever. 

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing—it means we’re learning. 

No matter how much we all long for that sense of smooth sailing, riding the new wave is where the real fun begins. So grab your surfboards, floaties, water wings, and what have you, and dive in. Come on—at least get your toes wet. And remember:

If you’re lost, look for The Navigator. 

We’ll look for you, too.

Headshot of Joe Enns with foresty background

My sweater in the flesh (actually, the carpet).
Photo By: Tianna Vertigan

Associate Editor

Tianna is a queer student in her final year at VIU. She’s taken so many different electives that everyone forgets Creative writing is her major, and she’s also minoring in SWAG. Between her studies, day (night) job, internship at Caitlin Press, and work with The Nav, Portal, and Sad Girl Review, it’s safe to say she’s pretty deep in her girlboss era.

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