How a legacy brand found its digital voice

Taylor Guitars starts a digital ecosystem by bringing their Wood&Steel publication online with rich multimedia content.


For decades, Taylor Guitars’ Wood&Steel magazine has explored the stories, craftsmanship and creativity that goes into creating their instruments, along with the expression and artistry that comes out of them. The printed magazine combines thoughtful articles about music and quality sound along with product showcases, artist interviews, and Q&A’s with guitar enthusiasts and musicians. Taylor had a wealth of amazing content at their fingertips, if only it wasn’t held hostage by a perfect-bound paper spine.


A digital experience offered a new world of possibility for Wood&Steel, especially new ways to hear and truly feel what a Taylor guitar can do. Traina was brought in to unleash and expand the magazine into the digital space, and we did so with three strategic objectives: reach a new generation of players that will carry the brand into its future, start the brand’s transition to a digital-first ecosystem, and make the content evergreen—more accessible, engaging and directly linked to their business of crafting, marketing and selling magnificent guitars.


Content that resonates

Experiential is the word for the online Wood&Steel—an expanded venue where one can actually hear Taylor guitars, see artists perform, watch interviews, and listen to featured playlists. Stories are embedded with interactive elements like image galleries, hover hotspots and animations to keep readers engaged and add depth for guitar aficionados. One can dive as deep as they want, as well as go directly from content to commerce, as all content was designed to integrate seamlessly into their product pages and online guitar showcase.

A user-controlled content structure lends the option to retain the feel of an issue-based magazine, while search technology serves up stories by topic or keyword across all time, effectively unlocking the investment Taylor has made in producing years’ worth of stories. Thoughtful design throughout the site retains the look, feel and polish of printed matter, served up in a dynamic medium more suited to a music merchandise brand.

The refinement extends behind the scenes too, as we made Taylor’s multimedia expansion easy to administer on the backend, using a flexible platform that can be effortlessly updated and readily accepts new integrations.

The ease of adding multimedia has in turn transformed Taylor’s entire editorial approach to content. Where once it was: research, interview, write and send to press, a new emphasis on video, audio and experiential media has made those participatory elements the starting point: “When can we film Ben Harper playing in the studio? What songs are we picking for his playlist?” Such updates bring their process up to date with what the next generation of readers and players has come to expect from their media.


A bright future for a classic sound

Wood&Steel marked the first project in a larger vision for Taylor, one in which a digital-first ecosystem creates not just a hub for Taylor content, but a platform for artists around the world to connect and show their talents, build their audience and influence, and of course, share their love for Taylor guitars and the quality sound they produce.

With a digital framework and mindset in place, Traina is currently engaged with Taylor on expanding into new product lines, as they create and lead a new market for acoustic amplification. This is all empowered by the foundation they have built, and as always, the attention to quality, craft and care that they’re known for.

Let’s move things forward.