Blog post 1: Panda Bear

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When we were assigned this blog post, I immediately knew which story I wanted to write about. I had just read Pitchfork’s feature “The Wanderer” about 36-year-old musician Noah Lennox, better known as his stage name Panda Bear. A decade ago, he left America for Lisbon, Portugal, where he now lives with his wife and two kids. So Philip Sherburne visited him to capture the essence of the European home and its influence on Lennox’s music.

The layout is very clean, simple, and easy to navigate, but there are multiple layers and elements that are cohesive and eye-catching as you scroll down the article. Before you even begin reading the story, there is a music player so that you can enjoy the sounds of Panda Bear while reading about him, which makes for a very immersive music story experience. The top of the story begins with the title painted across a moving image, a GIF of Lennox walking on the shore of a beach toward the water. Various GIFs are interspersed throughout the story, in addition to a few cinemagraphs, which are similar to GIFs but have more isolated movements layered over a video still.

Quotes in script typography are layered over some of these images, which adds another layer to the story and gives sort of a three-dimensional illusion. These images and text really add to the story because it illustrates the mood and paints a picture of the musician and his environment, which is exactly what the story is about.

There is one image where Lennox is at a soundboard, so you can assume he’s a musician, but other than that, someone who isn’t a seasoned music nerd might not know what this story is about if he or she didn’t know what Pitchfork was. Someone might argue there should be more photos of him playing music, but I think that would be too boring and easy. With music features, it’s more interesting to see musicians in a different perspective because there are already countless images of them behind their instruments or on stage.

At the end of the story, Lennox is walking away from the water toward the camera, which loops back to the first image of the page, giving a complete circle and end to a multimedia story. The images are beautiful and the order in which they appear are strategic and effective.

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3 thoughts on “Blog post 1: Panda Bear

  1. “The Wanderer”, in general, is an interesting and well-organized multimedia project. I agree with you that the layout is simple and user-friendly. It combines text, photos of motions and music to bring the audiences an immersive reading experience. As the story is about a musician, these elements together greatly present the theme of the story.

    I think your point that the diverse photos show different perspectives of the musician is great. Those artistic photos give the audiences a complete picture of the musician who does not only live on stage but also in real life. The orders of the images are also strategic and symbolic, as you suggested.

    In addition, the structure of this project is very clean. The first letter of each section is enlarged with a different font, making it easier for the audiences to read. The colors are also refreshing and lively.

    However, I think the quotes in script typography are a little bit fancy, making them sometimes hard to understand. In addition, as I always feel bored while reading long narrations that ask me to keep scrolling down, I think it would be better if the designers can cut the long piece into short chapters and make a chapter list that directly leads the readers to the content they wish to read.

    I am also thinking that whether it is possible to relate the sounds of Panda Bear with the story. It seems that the background music has no specific relation with the presentation of his life story. As there are five sound tracks in the playlist, I just wondered that whether it is possible to make its order better match the story.

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  2. I agree with you that the layout is clean and simple. The white space around the text contributes to the simplicity.
    The font choice for the main text is great. It’s a font different from Georgia, which Pitchfork uses for most of the stories on its website. The font for this feature story has a more casually elegant touch. However, I think it would be better if the script type is more legible. It’s beautifully done, but legibility is more important for readers online.
    I love the GIFs. They seem to make the story breathe, making it more vivid and alive.
    I like what you talked about the ending image that it gives a complete circle to the story by looping back to the first image.

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  3. One of the best aspects of this piece is the music as you have mentioned in your post. A lot of the writer’s comments relate back to how it sounds and bands or musicians that I have never heard of so giving me a taste of the music that he develops is really helpful.

    I also like the pictures, however, I would have liked a bit more interactive video or gifs throughout the piece. It was a nice tone to have through the article to break up the text with the pull quotes overlaying the pictures. Those elements made the story easier to digest and focus on.

    The tone of the piece is spot on though throughout the article. I like how the photo, sound and text all play together pretty seamlessly. I felt very calm and like I was experiencing the subject’s personality, just as the author was.

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