How We’ve Designed the Semafor Experience

Al Lucca
2 min readOct 25, 2022

-- on Oct, 18 2022 (launch day)

Modern digital design has drained all sentiment and inventiveness from the online reading experience, and replaced them with a boring sameness. From our early explorations for what the Semafor look and feel could be, we knew from day one that we would question the status-quo.

We design for utility and familiarity, inventiveness and detail — the way of our species! We find new questions. We hope to provide the antidote to an ecosystem dominated by the simplest ideas, single perspectives rewarded for virality. Headlines claim to deliver simple truths, but the reality is that we are building for complex issues that can not be simplified to a traditional article format, or presented in a minimalist way for minimalist sake — without personality, details, or identity.

We pay respect to a centuries-old industry which shapes culture, influences governments and documents history. We do it by using colors like, black, yellow, red, blue, all in close proximity. We avoid the frugal and look for density, movement, emotions, and psychology. We play with asymmetrical elements, tension across typography and visual graphics, columns and elements that we inherit from the web’s foundation. We use HTML signs and icons as a sincere “ode” to the first days of the internet, when everything was new and unexplored, a version of the real world, where we all make choices as readers and subscribers and every day learners — not as users but as people.

@ semafor



Al Lucca

Designer— Host of podcast — Newsletter The Design Edition — Mentor @trydesignlab — Conteúdo (mostly) em Português