The Massey iPad app needed to be a one-stop experience to dive headfirst into the entire world of Massey Lectures and open the possibility that a user could ostensibly collect the entire history of Massey Lectures and content in one place. Furthermore, the client needed a solution that progressively increased book sales and expanded the audience beyond the realm of the “high-brow” academic types. All these requirements needed to be encapsulated in a package that effectively rebranded the Masseys in a simplified, broader context that encouraged users to spend long, quality time with the big ideas of the text.

We distilled our key insight - that “spending time with the Masseys was time well spent” - into actionable design tenets. Simplicity should reign -- cut out the noise. Let the words speak clearly. Never impede the user’s exploration. From this, we cultivated a design framework that emphasized the user’s need to curl up in their favourite nook and spend quality time with the Masseys. The final product unites these concepts into a sleek, clean, and direct interface that celebrates the thematic connections shared by Massey lectures as the natural starting point for contextual book-bundling and user engagement.

Interactive iPad App
Agency: Critical Mass
Creative Director: Jon Toews
Art Director: Min Kang & Alex Shutin
Role: Designer


Silver Lion (Online Digital Design)






FWA Mobile of the Day


IAB MIXX Finalist - Branded Tablet Application - Massey Lectures iPad App

The Massey Lectures series is so unique and special. The Massey Lectures iPad app further engages with the audience and livens up the conversation, supporting the original format beyond what it was capable of before.
— Renowned author Lawrence Hill, 2013 Massey Lecturer

For the first time, the audio and text of selected lectures are brought together in one specially priced package available for purchase within the app. Each selected Massey Lectures e-book is illuminated with vibrant images and videos and includes the five-hour audio lectures. At launch, the app adds nearly 40 pieces of additional video and audio content. Also available for the first time are curated bundles of books and lectures that are divided by connected ideas across lectures called “themes,” such as “Constructing and Deconstructing Identity” and “Rationalizing the Truth.”


For more than 50 years, the annual Massey Lecture series, broadcast on CBC Radio’s IDEAS, has brought contemporary thinkers with unique perspectives and experiences to a national and international audience. Notable Massey Lecturers include Northrop Frye, Noam Chomsky, Margaret Atwood, Doris Lessing, Stephen Lewis, Thomas King, Margaret Somerville, and Wade Davis to name but a few.

During the week of the rebroadcast of Lawrence Hill’s Massey Lectures, Blood, on CBC Radio’s IDEAS, House of Anansi in co-operation with the CBC and Massey College, and with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, unveiled its first iPad app. Now available for free in the iTunes App Store, the Massey Lectures iPad app lets readers explore some of the most complex and thought-provoking topics of our age, and reveals the depth and breadth of Canada’s preeminent public lectures series in a totally new way. The app includes nearly 200 hours of text, audio lectures, interviews, talks, and exclusive footage.