The Lockdown Files are a series of articles containing evidence, analysis, speculation, and opinion relating to more than 100,000 WhatsApp messages obtained from former health secretary Matt Hancock that were leaked to The Daily Telegraph.

I was brought onto the project two weeks before the news broke across the United Kingdom. My responsibility was to create a visual language and home for all the content that The Telegraph had received. Working side by side with lead developer Bruno Riddy, head of Visual Journalism Rachel Jones and creative director Kuchar Swara, we collaborated on creating a visual treatment that was worthy of the scale of the story, taking visual queues from Whatsapp UI to bring the messages exchanged into real context for our audience.

Website Lockdown Files 
Company The Daily Telegraph
Role Lead Designer
Requirements Visual Design, UX Design, UI Design
Year 2024

Without being able to see or read any of the content for fear of the content being leaked, we designed and built for every scenario within the exchange of messages. We had to find ways to ensure our audience knew who everyone was and added small elements within our Whatsapp exchanges for additional information to achieve this. We designed a diagram of all of the main people that appeared in the series and made it easy to browse the articles by these people. We used the Whatsapp blue ticks as a key element of the identity to reiterate the medium that these messages where exchanged on. This was subsequently used across all print for the duration the story was breaking news.

When the story broke it was a nationwide story for a number of weeks due to the scope and scale of the investigation and how directly it affected British people’s lives. The Telegraph was nominated for the Front Page of the Year for the first day of the Lockdown Files.