Earlier today, Bloomberg View—the online opinion arm of the Bloomberg News behemoth—unveiled its new homepage design. The site, below, presents itself as a set of mostly gray boxes with mostly white text:
It’s a fine design. Typographers have long prized grid-centered layouts for their elegance and extensibility, and the new View site takes “the grid” to an extreme.
To many viewers, though—including myself—the View site looked a little familiar. You see, the White Text on Gray Rectangles School of news site design is having something of a moment. Just yesterday, the NYC metro blog Gothamist unveiled the beta version of its own new homepage:
And Gothamist’s new site didn’t look altogether dissimilar from the redesign that The Atlantic launched in November*, for its news service The Wire:
Which itself somewhat resembles the NBC News redesign, unveiled earlier this month:
And that—though this is more of a stretch—also echoes the New Republic’s homepage:
Substitute teal and purple for gray and you get Vox Media’s video games-focused venture, Polygon:
So. It’s a thing.
At first, I thought I knew why. Many of the sites above are responsive: Instead of offering independent desktop and mobile versions of their layout, they offer just one, which resizes dynamically to the size of the browser window. Responsive web design have a rap for sometimes emphasizing a more rectangle-heavy design—the boxes can fold in and down as the screen gets smaller.