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Redesigning A Design Magazine

January 2005 saw the simultaneous launch of the redesign of two of the world’s leading design magazines: Print and HOW. Now, redesigning a magazine is a daunting enough task, but redesigning a design magazine can be described, well, as nothing short of formidable. How do you possibly redesign a magazine that will be evaluated, assessed, analyzed, investigated and challenged by a readership that could very well do the job?

HowPrintPanel.jpg

This past Monday, at the HOW conference, I moderated a panel discussion with six of the key players of both redesigns and revealed the soft and luscious underbelly of the entire process: DJ Stout and Abbott Miller from Pentagram, the award-winning editors of both publications: Joyce Rutter Kaye, from Print and Bryn Mooth from HOW. The art directors of both magazines were also there: Tricia Bateman and Stephanie Skirvin. We tried to pull the curtain away from this thrilling and slightly scary undertaking, showcasing both publications as they redefined their visual image, following the strategy behind the decisions that were made and reviewing the subsequent results.

In publication since the spring of 1940, Print is the oldest graphic design publication in the world. During its 65 year history Print, has evolved from a technical and scholarly journal aimed primarily at the printing trade, to a mainstream magazine that provides critical reporting and analysis of all facets of graphic design and visual culture. But even in its earliest stages, Print’s editorial content was eclectic. The first issue showcased a magazine that was completely ahead of its time: it featured Bruce Rogers’ thumbprints on the cover, and nothing else—not even a logo. Print’s early issues set the editorial breadth and tone for all of its successive issues. Even its early production values, with tipped-on inserts and die-cut pages, seemed to presage contemporary magazines such as Nest. Then came a spate of logo experimentation throughout the forties and fifties, until the logo was designed by Herbert Bayer in 1959, which was used until 1990. Throughout the magazine’s history, it has been identifying emerging trends and issues in design. Martin Fox, Joyce’s predecessor, mentor, and Print’s editor for 40 years was committed to having Print show all of the influences in visual culture—high and low—that affect designers, and also reveal to designers their impact on the world of visual culture. It is a mission that Joyce has continued as well as enhanced.

HOW magazine was founded in 1985 as an offshoot of Print; its early focus was on the techniques and practice of design. It was acquired by F&W Publications in 1989. Over time, it’s evolved away from presenting topics in a step-by-step manner, but it’s never lost its mission of providing practical, how-to information. HOW strives to serve the business, technological and creative needs of graphic-design professionals. As I am sure you all know, the magazine provides a mix of essential business information, up-to-date technological tips, the creative whys and hows behind noteworthy projects, and profiles of professionals who are influencing design.

These days, HOW is like a career coach, creative guru and business mentor all rolled into one; HOW’s goal is to help designers, whether they work for a design firm, for an in-house design department or for themselves, run successful, creative, profitable studios. Prior to the current design, HOW last underwent an overhaul in 1999, in the very capable hands of Alexander Isley. Scott Menchin was the very first art director, and over the years, HOW was designed at various points by staff art directors or professionals like Lori Siebert. The cover had been tweaked at a couple of points, but it’s retained its recognizable, chunky HOW logo since the second issue.

Prior to my being asked to moderate this panel, Armin asked me to do a post about both magazines being redesigned by Pentagram partners, and we thought it might be funny to call the discussion “The Pentagramization of America’s Design Magazines,” but now that he too is at Pentagram, it seems, well, not quite as funny. In any case, I interviewed both Abbott Miller and DJ Stout prior to the panel discussion and what follows are the transcripts of those interviews. I am also enclosing a PDF [2.9 Mb] of the entire presentation that we made, with some additions, so you can see the before and after designs of both publications, a sneak peek at some new covers, as well as some wonderful work in progress. In a day and age where media is changing by the milli-second, it is comforting to know that more traditional media is not only staying in the game, but continuing to raise the bar, setting a new standard for all media.

My interview with Abbott Miller:

DM: How do you feel about the work you did for the redesign? Are you happy with it? Do you wish you had done anything differently? What are you most happy about? What are you most unhappy about?

Abbott: I am happy about the design, and how it works to really showcase the content. I am pretty unhappy about the quality of the printing and the paper, but this is something Print is working on. The most dramatic change we could have effected would have been to organize the heavy stock inserts and advertising so that they did not create such physical impediments to the reader. But we were not asked to come up with a new business plan!

DM: what was the biggest challenge working on this redesign?

Abbott: Because the previous iterations of Print have been so varied, there was not a very strong element to oppose, so it was not hugely challenging. I suppose designing for your fellow designers gives the situation a bit of self-consciousness, but that is okay.

DM: Did (if at all) the research that was conducted for the magazine influence your work?

Abbott: Very much. I got a very strong impression of the loyalty of Prints core readers, and a strong sense that they did not want to see the design take the magazine to far from its personality. It was okay to make Print look better, but it had to be organic to the spirit of the magazine.

DM: Can you tell me how you went about choosing the new fonts?

Abbott: Lexicon is a model of clarity and beauty, and is also sort of under-utilized. Its serious and almost sharp in its execution. I liked how it contrasted with the softer Gotham rounded, which we asked Jonathan Hoeffler to develop. Fortunately he had already had the idea (of a rounded version) and done a number of drawings, so it was feasible to finish the font for Print. Gotham and Lexicon are used as the two leading players: they are allowed to exchange roles, but they are always playing off each other.

DM: Originally, an idea about curved edges was in the mix for the redesign. Why did you nix it?

Abbott: MONEY!

DM: If you had to describe the redesign in one sentence, what would it be?

Abbott: A readerly and elegant showcase for the diverse world of design.

Some stray thoughts from Abbott:

I wanted to make a framework that maintains its separateness from the design that is being showcased. I wanted to design it so that, once you gained familiarity with the language of the design (fonts and organization) you could easily distinguish the frame and the picture, so to speak. I was not after a neutrality in the frame, more of a consistency of expression.

I like the clarity of the organization: fewer, longer features, grouping like materials together, creating more emphatic pacing. One of the most consistent problems of Print’s previous design was that it was not always obvious that a feature was indeed opening because the interpretive typography often got lost within the visuals being shown.

My interview with DJ Stout:

DM: How do you feel about the work you did for the redesign? Are you happy with it? Do you wish you had done anything differently? What are you most happy about? What are you most unhappy about?

DJ: For the most part I’m pretty pleased with the effort. Like every job I have ever worked on however, there are things about the redesign I am happy about and there are things that I think could be better.

HAPPY THINGS

1) We were able to raise the bar on the design and improve it from where it was.

2) I think the design we came up with is appropriate for and resonates with the perceived readership.

3) The staff at HOW is very satisfied with the redesign. They have embraced the new design and are starting to make it their own.

4) We solved the problem we were given within the parameters of the project.

5) So far HOW has very good and favorable feedback from their audience.

6) We loved working with the staff at HOW. They listened to us and they were respectful. It was a great collaboration and we made some new friends.

COULD BE BETTER THINGS

1) In my opinion the overall issue is missing some grand moments of “eye candy”. I wish there were just a few full page photographs or illustrations that were spectacular and arresting visually. I wish there was a completely art driven feature in the mix. (part of the reason why this is missing in this launch issue is budgetary but also because the issue was a special 20th anniversary issue for HOW that was made up of lots of lists)

2) I wish the cover concept had come across in a clearer more dramatic way with the launch issue. The idea for the cover is that the giant HOW logo is supposed to be used by the featured illustrator or photographer as a part of their commissioned art. Their challenge is to use it as a part of their visual communication. I don’t want the cover to be thought of in the traditional sense where an artist is hired to create the cover art and then the Art Director just slaps the logo on top of it. I want the logo to be considered by the artist and effectively utilized in the finished execution of the cover piece. David Plunkert who created the cover art did a beautiful and effective piece of illustration but I wish I had pushed him a bit harder to make the cover concept, which is innovative and unique for magazine covers, a bit clearer. The next issue of HOW does a much better job of this. The cover design concept will start to become much more apparent to the reader with this next issue.

3) They didn’t go with the cover direction that I was really jazzed about. But they did go with my second choice so I can’t complain.

DM: What was the biggest challenge working on this redesign?

DJ: Working with a low art budget.

DM: Did you conduct any market research for this redesign? If so, did it influence your work at all?

DJ: We didn’t- but HOW did provide us with some market research and reader survey findings before we got started.

DM: Can you tell me how you went about choosing the new fonts?

DJ: My Senior Designer, Erin Mayes, loves type and she’s very knowledgeable about new fonts. She selected the type-faces and I thought they were appropriate for what we were trying to do.

DM: If you had to describe the redesign in one sentence, what would it be?

DJ: Artfully Diagramatic.

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ARCHIVE ID 2343 FILED UNDER Discussion
PUBLISHED ON Jun.15.2005 BY debbie millman
WITH 43 COMMENTS
Comments
RJ’s comment is:

How do you possibly redesign a magazine that will be evaluated, assessed, analyzed, investigated and challenged by a readership that could very well do the job?

Hmmmm, well, you design it like anything else. There's still a target audience/demographic to consider. True, this demographic will most definitely be more critical than the average, but design, regardless the audience, will never please or satisfy all masses, right? Especially in this case, where their's multiple demographics under the main "umbrella" demographic being "designers". Despite the audience, it's still the "reorganization of form and content"...as you know who might say....agreed?

On Jun.15.2005 at 07:27 PM
Armin’s comment is:

RJ, while your answer is correct I would say that Debbie's question was intended to be rhetorical… and allude to the fact that when designing for designers you indeed need to take it up a notch when it comes to the actual craft of (the) design.

The panel was great. I think the most interesting thing was seeing the differences betweem the two magazines being played out through all the facets of the redesign (from typeface selection to grid distribution), how each talked about what they wanted to achieve and how they are both moving forward with the new look.

In terms of the redesigns, Print gained the most on its inside pages and HOW really benefited from the new covers — I am not crazy about the body. Overall, both were a tremendous step forward.

On Jun.15.2005 at 09:42 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Print used to be one of my favorite Design Publications. Earlier editions were BEST.

Especially when Andrew Kner was the Art Director.

He served faithfully for over forty years.

The writing was always excellent in Print. Many memorable writers. Patricia Allen Dreyfuss, remained my favorite. She was in the forefront of reporting on Corporate Identity.

Print dramatically changed in the 1990s, for worse. The format aesthetically was unbearable with its redesign. The writing remained excellent. Occassionally perused a copy to read Heller's A Cold Eye, before Heller, Phillip Meggs. Other writers of interest, too numerous to mention.

The redesign of Print is WELCOMED and LOOOOOONG OVERDUE!!!!!

In reference to HOW Magazine. If memory serve me correctly. The Logotype was directly influenced by one of Herb Lubalin's Design.

HOW, essentially changed its format; because Step By Step Graphics was a better How to Magazine. Mind you on Book Store Shelves before HOW Magazine. HOW was simply a mirror of Step By Step Graphics. Publications such as Dynamic Graphics became prominent with seminars and workshops.

In the BIG Picture of rating and Ranking American Design Publications. Early editions of Print were among the TOP FIVE.

From 1950s-1985

If I may rank TOP Design Publications in a Historical Context.

***** Design Quarterly,***** Walker Art Center (now defunct). In a class by itself. In a League of its own. Head and Shoulders above any Design Publication except Idea Magazine, Japan.

1. Idea Magazine, JAPAN

2. Industrial Design Magazine.

3. Graphis

4. Gebraushgraphik

5. Communication Arts

6. Print

7. Art Direction

8. Identity (now defunct)

9. Graphics Today (now defunct)

10. Critique (now defunct)

There are others, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Typographic Publications. BASELINE Magazine, U&LC, and X Height, (now defunct).

On Jun.16.2005 at 12:41 AM
Todd Dominey’s comment is:

Print has published a number of letters from their readership over the past few months concerning their redesign, and they've been mostly negative. I agree with what a number of other readers have written -- that the use of the thin, rounded Gotham (which they had made) on the cover appears weak and is hardly eye-catching on the news stand. The typeface works pretty well on the interior pages, though I'm not particularly a big fan of it. I adore the consumer version of Gotham, but the rounded one just doesn't feel right for a magazine of Print's calibre. Editorially though, Print remains rock solid and is a joy to receive in the mailbox.

On Jun.16.2005 at 08:39 AM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

I think we need to re-evaluate how we deem a successful redesign for a publication. It's not enough to think that cleaner type and more artistic layouts are going to be enough. I don't usually pick up How, so I can't say much about it. Print, on the other hand I do read once in a while. I bought the first two new issues and thought they were ok content wise, and read nicely though the covers were bad. However it wasn't enough to make me want to subscribe. I'm going to go out on a limb and question why the magazine does not utilize the web? Why wasn't it part of the brief to have a new web strategy? Print's mag and web presence together do not fit at all. Make: magazine in my mind would be a model to check out. They don't give away all their content, yet shows enough that I'll actually visit the site while I have the magazine beside me. Make:'s magazine and web fit like yin yang, while I don't see that with Print. If Print is looking to grow it's core audience, it needs to consider all the tools of today and I don't see that with the redesign. Remember a redesign is not just aesthetics, but how it delivers its content.

On Jun.16.2005 at 10:39 AM
Joyce ’s comment is:

I'm glad to see the nice comments about Print's redesign. I should point out, though, that we haven't run "many" negative letters about the redesign—only three, in fact. We've received many more positive comments about Abbott's redesign than negative—most people have welcomed the way we've streamlined the book.

Joyce Rutter Kaye

On Jun.16.2005 at 10:40 AM
Tselentis’s comment is:

This type of indepth look is warranted, and I'm glad to see that Debbie took on such an ambitious project.

Overall, I enjoy the new look and wonder how they'll improve on things down the road. It's refreshing to see DJ's answer that Working with a low art budget was the biggest challenge. It's easy to look at magazines and say They could've done better, but they have constraints too.

And, Mike, who alludes to the print/web unification. Surely it's an ongoing redevelopment. Don't you think? It may not mesh together now, but they'll get it together.

On Jun.16.2005 at 10:47 AM
Joyce ’s comment is:

Michael, I'm really glad you've brought up the state of our web site, because we're addressing that now. Print's just completed a spring-semester collaboration with MFA Digital Design students at Parsons which resulted in a complete overhaul of the existing web site. We are now working on finessing the prototype and plan to launch it before the end of the year.

The reason things weren't done simultaneously was simply due to resources: our staff is very small (7!) and our fee was just big enough to cover the print redesign. In addition, I wanted to truly be able to focus on the very large task of making sure the print redesign was everything it should be—handling the web site simultaneously would have hindered that, and hindered our ability to meet our regular issue deadlines.

Joyce

On Jun.16.2005 at 10:56 AM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

thanks for the fyi Joyce, I look forward to the lauch

On Jun.16.2005 at 11:03 AM
RJ’s comment is:

OMG!! My sincere appolgoies to you Debbie and all readers alike who may have taken offense to my response! After reading your response Armin and re-reading the post, I can't believe I misconstrued that statement! I'm always baffled my lack of intelligence/knowledge when it comes to English and grammar in general! I'm an idiot! :P again, sorry 'bout that! :)

On Jun.16.2005 at 11:04 AM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

um, I meant to say launch -- not lauch

On Jun.16.2005 at 11:05 AM
Bryony’s comment is:

It is interesting to see how overall (and I am generalizing here) people respond better to Print’s interior, and How’s cover (while dismissing the other element of each). Why is one working so much better than the other one? Why are we drawn to one cover and not the other? Or one interior and not the other? It would be nice to hear from those you are voicing opinions of like and dislike as to the WHY like or dislike.

In my opinion How’s cover success has to do with the logo being truly and completely integrated with the image. They are one. Not one plus the other. Which is what we see with Print.

I have to agree Michael that we have to see beyond typeface selections. This has been the bulk of negative responses that both Print and How have received. They streamlined content, section naming, information segments and the overall visual voice they use. I know that for example, Print was having problems separating the editorial sections from the advertising pages and worked hard in accomplishing this, which I think they succeeded at. A quiet and constant voice connects all the pages together, while the advertising pages stand out.

Also noteworthy is the fact that there is less skipping around in the magazines. Fewer articles are continued on the back of the publication.

On Jun.16.2005 at 11:35 AM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

Bryony, good questions, hopefully this give you some insight into my subjectivity...

My gut reaction to the first cover: the overall colour seemed washed out, I didn't connect with the image nor did it capture my curiosity.

Second cover: I felt the Christoph Niemann illustration was not appealing (though I would luv to commission him for something, someday), the concept was interesting enough - I don't think it was the colour as much as it was the face and limbs of the carrot. Or maybe it's just that I don't like carrot people?

On Jun.16.2005 at 12:54 PM
david e.’s comment is:

I was looking forward to hearing why the rounded Gotham typeface was selected for Print, but no explanation was given. Obviously, it makes sense to have a sans serif and a serif for contrast, and Lexicon is a good choice for the serif (large x-height, bold weights retain their elegance, etc), but why a ROUNDED sans serif? It would be a good choice for a mom-and-pop hotdog stand, but the rounded factor seems to communicate nothing otherwise, and seems like an affectation.

The fact that it was the designers idea to have a rounded face created especially for the magazine makes me even more curious than I was before.

On Jun.16.2005 at 01:59 PM
marian’s comment is:

As I am about to teach a short (ridiculously short) course in editorial design, this is a most welcome topic, and the PDF is great. I'm not a reader of HOW, but I do subscribe to Print (for the moment: I confess to not reading it—it goes directly on the pile of 20 or 30 unread books and magazines awaiting my attention), and the redesign was/is certainly going to figure in my course.

I'd be really interested to know what was the driving force behind the redesigns. What did they come to the table with? Was it just a "freshening up", or was it "these things aren't working for us any more"? After years of use, do original design guidelines fall apart; disintegrate? Or is a redesign driven by new features or ideas that the old design can't accomodate?

BTW, I have to say that the "visual 2" for HOW in the PDF is very interesting. The "what's inside" junk that magazines almost always have to put on the cover is usually such an intereference; an afterthought; a hindrance. This is just a really great solution to that problem. Too bad they didn't go with it.

On Jun.16.2005 at 02:41 PM
mark’s comment is:

I was looking forward to hearing why the rounded Gotham typeface was selected for Print, but no explanation was given.

I thought I heard Abbott Miller say that, since he couldn't get rounded corners on the magazine, he wanted a rounded typeface. So it was a consolation prize? Probably still begs the question, though...

On Jun.16.2005 at 10:39 PM
Joyce Kaye’s comment is:

GR wasn't a consolation prize—Abbott had been working all along with Helvetica Rounded as the sans, but began seeking a face with a bit more definition. He asked H&F-J if they had considered creating a rounded version of Gotham, and coincidentally, they were doing tests on it. When Print showed interest in the face, they sped up production on it for us. It's not our proprietary face, but we were the first to "launch" it. Ultimately, Abbott was looking for a foil for the sharpness of Lexicon, the text face. The rounded edges were intended to play off the GR logo and to make the book more of an object. It proved to be too expensive, unfortunately.

On Jun.17.2005 at 09:40 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Debbie Dearest:

"In publication since the spring of 1940, Print is the oldest graphic design publication in the world".

This hurts me more than its going to hurt you, Debbie.

Print was founded in May 1940

Actually, Gebrauchsgraphik is the OLDEST Design Publication in the world. Gebrauchsgraphik was founded in 1924.

Gebrauchsgraphik: International Advertising Art (German) title change to Novum Gebrauchsgraphik 1972)

Novum Gebrauchsgraphik: the Magazine for Visual Communication (German) (title changed to Novum 1996)

Novum and/or Gebrauchsgraphik Magazine Website.

http://www.novumnet.de/

Library of Congress Catalog information of dates.

http://catalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?v1=5&ti=1,5&Search_Arg=Gebrauchsgraphik&Search_Code=TALL&PID=17346&CNT=25&SEQ=20050617094039&SID=1

http://catalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?Search_Arg=Gebrauchsgraphik&Search_Code=TALL&PID=27452&SEQ=20050617092632&CNT=25&HIST=1

Print America's Graphic Design Magazine

Please note LOC. list print as in June 1940

Print list their Premiere date May 1940

http://catalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?Search_Arg=Print&Search_Code=TALL&PID=21118&SEQ=20050617095904&CNT=25&HIST=1

Side Bar:

A friend, emailed me yesterday to inquire why I sound cynical in camparing and contrating HOW and Step By Step. I wasn't being cynical. Referencing, in the beginning of HOW and Step By Step. They were essentially Identicle publications with the same mission. Which was to Instruct and discuss Methodology.

I subscribed to both HOW and Step By Step in the 1980s. HOW, veered off into another direction after it was sold. e.g. Career Building, Design Conferences, Design Merit Awards. Which apparently benefited them, great move.

Needless to say, I've always admired HOW's publishing division. Akin to Idea Magazine.

Being a man of fifty (50) with considerable KNOWLEDGE, WEALTH, and TASTE. I am more refined and inclined to read Design Publications from MIT PRESS.

I continue to peruse Print, HOW and Step by Step Graphics (others). The latter two are for a younger generation of Designer(s). I leave them at Boarder Books on the shelves. As I have amassed and impressive number of Prominent Historical Significant Design Periodical Collections throughout the years. Now need another storage facility for the collections I have amassed.

I immediately noticed the revitalization of Print Magazine (better). Unaware until Debbie's Editorial it was revitalized by J. Abbott Miller.

Kudos and Accolades to both J Abbott Miller and DJ Stout.

On Jun.17.2005 at 11:01 AM
debbie millman’s comment is:

darling maven--

i find it incredibly sexy when you prove me wrong. i stand correctly and suitably humbled.

thanks for alerting us (all).

x's

-d

On Jun.17.2005 at 12:09 PM
Michael Holdren’s comment is:

I was wondering when this would get more exposure. I wanted to see the general reaction (and investigation of the process) of two Pentagram partners working on the redesign of the two more popular design magazines in the U.S., and done at the same time no less.

At first I was a little shocked: two competing magazines using the same company (albeit two different designers) to provide a rejuvenated "look and feel" (and yes, I know design is more than aesthetics, I believe that "look and feel" is also about content delivery methods). Did each partner at the time know they were completing work for two competing publications? Did it matter? I wonder what kind of dialog transpired within the Pentagram halls (from across the country). Also, did each of the publications know? It was advertised within HOW since October (maybe even earlier) that they were doing a redesign with DJ Stout, but I wasn't aware that Print was doing a similar thing until their premier issue.

I realize that each Partner has his or her own style, but as Debbie put it, the "Pentagramization" of such publications that are at the forefront of American design, often setting a standard and educating many of us as we grow in this field, seemed like a thing similar to that of being inbred.

But then I realized that it's only fitting that Pentagram, being the pinnacle that they are, be the one place that two design magazines can be redesigned at the same time (anywhere else and it may be unaccaptable). Each designer is more than capable of taking on the daunting task of redesigning design magazines and giving them their own voice and allowing each to deliver their own varying content in their own way, the same as if it were done by two different design studios.

On Jun.17.2005 at 12:14 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

Hi Michael-- I will let Joyce, Bryn, Abbott or DJ address many of these questions--but just so you know, Abbott works in the Pentagram office in New York, and DJ works in the Pentagram office in Texas.

On Jun.17.2005 at 12:30 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Debbie Dearest:

No problem. Credit my intelligence to remembering PAUL RAND emphatically stated he read and learned Design from Gebrauchsgraphik as a child. Granted, RAND was born in 1914.

That rememberance sparked my research.

Off Topic:

I just realized after writing on Speak Up for almost three (3) years. We used the same initials, DM.

Anyway, I'm not allowing anybody to use my Pet Name for you, Dearest.

It will be a major Coupe d'etat to have DJ Stout and J Abbott Miller discuss the revitalization of both periodicals on Speak Up.

Luv Ya,

DM

On Jun.17.2005 at 01:20 PM
joyce ’s comment is:

The fact that both designers were Pentagram partners was purely coincidental. I wanted to hire Abbott because he's an incredibly smart, literate designer who knows how to create a real sense of immediacy with readers/users in all of his work. The fact that he's a Pentagram partner had no bearing on my choice—I liked his work long before he even joined the firm. Michael, you're correct—Pentagram is indeed a place where designers are able to keep their own voice, so I had no concern about any sort of "Pentagramization," if there is such a thing. Both designers and magazines were aware of the other job, but the work was done completely independently, and driven by completely different editorial missions and sensibilities. (To add to your sense of geography, How is in Cincinnati, DJ in Austin, and Abbott and Print are in NYC, within a few blocks of each other.)

For too long Print's chaotic design got in the way of its great writing, and there was no better person to turn down the noise, bring forth order and a new sense of vitality, while maintaining our integrity and authority. We did our part, of course, by providing a completely revised editorial package, which included paring down overlong columns and features to eliminate runover in the back, renaming departments, adding new content, and providing more entry points throughout, such as resource boxes, pullquotes, marginalia, etc. I am incredibly happy with the results and proud of our collaboration.

On Jun.17.2005 at 01:45 PM
man, I missed you’s comment is:

Joyce,

You’ve started to touch on something I was wondering about. I think both new design directions were really needed and both successful for different reasons. I was wondering if the change in design was anyway reflected in the content? In either magazine? are the pubs approaching writing differently do you have a say in this? I always find it interesting when not only the design of something changes but the content also gets updated which represents a new “vision” so to speak. What has the response been internally from the 2 magazines been? Is it too early to tell?

On Jun.17.2005 at 02:25 PM
Michael Holdren’s comment is:

Thanks Debbie and Joyce. I'm a *small* Pentagram fan, so I actually got a little giddy back in January when both publications premiered their redesigned issues (at which point I discovered Pentagram was behind both). I'm also in Austin, so I'm familiar with DJ and his whereabouts. I'm not as familair with Abbott Miller's work unfortunately, but I did know he was in NYC near Print.

On Jun.17.2005 at 02:29 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> I think we need to re-evaluate how we deem a successful redesign for a publication. It's not enough to think that cleaner type and more artistic layouts are going to be enough.

+

> Remember a redesign is not just aesthetics, but how it delivers its content.

Michael, seems like you are talking about two separate things: Design and Content. I don't think we need to re-evaluate much. Judging by Print's cleaner type and more artistic layouts I can strongly say that Print's redesign is succesful. It delivers the content in a much better way. MUCH better. Every single aspect of the craft of design was used to make Print a better experience. Print doesn't have the problem of content, the content is there. What Print needed was a redesign that would better deliver the content — your point — and that's what it got.

> Make:'s magazine and web fit like yin yang, while I don't see that with Print. If Print is looking to grow it's core audience, it needs to consider all the tools of today and I don't see that with the redesign.

Michael, again, confusing things: Design and Delivery. Print's redesign was intended to be that, a redesign of the magazine, not a reDesign (notice the silly capital D) of the infrastructure of how Print delivers its editorial mission to the industry at large. Content and Delivery are editorial, business and cultural decisions that Print must make internally. This redesign reflects the need for a better designed magazine — as reflected by Abbott's design — and a few changes to the content — as reflected by Print's decisions.

So, I would deem Print's redesign as succesful.

Unless we are talking about Design as the savior of all mankind then, yeah, totally awful redesign.

On Jun.17.2005 at 02:38 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

Michael, seems like you are talking about two separate things: Design and Content. I don't think we need to re-evaluate much. Judging by Print's cleaner type and more artistic layouts I can strongly say that Print's redesign is successful. It delivers the content in a much better way. MUCH better. Every single aspect of the craft of design was used to make Print a better experience. Print doesn't have the problem of content, the content is there. What Print needed was a redesign that would better deliver the content — your point — and that's what it got.

While I hear what your saying Armin, I still think the design and content are more integrated than not - especially for a design magazine. If they were two separate entities, you could possibly get by with one and not the other. Good design and bad content or vice versa, bad design and good content. You mention that the content is delivered in a MUCH better way - I'm not so sure. This is probably an editorial beef on my side, but when was the last time you saw something in any design magazine that you wanted to e-mail a friend about? Even if there was something in Print that I wanted to share with someone, I couldn't. There's no electronic option for that currently (maybe this will change with the new site). If you're going to be seen as a design leader, why not take the opportunity to reDesign?

Unless we are talking about Design as the savior of all mankind then, yeah, totally awful redesign.

I guess I'll have to look to Wallpaper* now to save us...

On Jun.17.2005 at 03:10 PM
Paul’s comment is:

I agree with Abbott regarding the intrusive/obtrusive paper samples in the magazine. I always grab my blade and slice them out first thing. What a pain!

Also, I wonder why no one ever brings up Step (Inside Design) when discussing design magazines? Every issue seems to be a winner. The size, the paper stock, the feel all grab you before you ever open it up. It's beautifully laid out and is such a pleasure to read.

Thanks for the interviews...

On Jun.17.2005 at 11:17 PM
Stuart McCoy’s comment is:

I wish they would redesign their web site. It amazes me that a magazine dedicated to graphic design has such a poorly designed web site. The graphics are dated and the site architecture is abyssmal, leading to poor interface design all around. The old magazine design could have lasted another few years, the web site was dated before it hit the web.

On Jun.17.2005 at 11:37 PM
luke’s comment is:

"January 2005 saw the simultaneous launch of the redesign of two of the world’s leading design magazines"

Sorry, but since when they are "world’s leading magazines"???

Print showcases European design once a year, what about Asia, Australia, Latin America, etc.??

How... no comments.

“World” is a big word for this publications.

On Jun.18.2005 at 09:42 PM
Eric Benson’s comment is:

Re-designing these two magazines was a big undertaking for sure, and I feel a fairly successful one visually. I've taken a look at both since the re-design. However, I don't buy either on a regular basis. My reasoning behind this consumer choice is that I feel that each magazine spends too much time doing one particular thing. HOW focuses largely on the design business with sometimes helpful tips to get motivated while showing some new and exciting work. Print has a more academic feel at times, with somtimes interesting editorials on current trends and topics. But mainly showcases work from the same companies or individuals all the time. there is no diversity. Neither does an adequate job of giving the design community a voice. I feel this web site does a significantly better job at that. My wife, a non designer, picked up a copy and said it was relaxing to look at the pretty pictures but other than that found no compelling content (she's a lawyer). I recently bought the newest Communication Arts "Green Design" issue and found 1 page dedicated to the topic. They had, instead about 6 pages of work that didn't really discuss anything on the topic. There are volumes written about green design and sustainability but CA could only muster one page? (I know CA isn't part of this topic, but it also consistently proves my point about these magazines). Basically, I don't buy these magazines because they don't do the profession justice. There are tons of issues circulating in our profession, that this site consistently points out. But an issue like green design gets one page in CA. Its just ridiculous.

There is the argument that these magazines don't really have that in their mission. (which is a valid point) But I don't see a design magazine out there that does that (well maybe, at times, Emigre). If I want to see great work to inspire mine, then I'll shell out the $18 to get the design annual, but on a monthly basis these two magazine consistently let me down on valuable design issues. I'll just pay my internet bill and read this site. Thanks!

On Jun.19.2005 at 01:38 PM
Joyce’s comment is:

Eric: Print's forthcoming July/August issue is entirely devoted to the subject of sustainability and responsibility. I think (hope) you'll find it to be quite meaty and relevant.

Joyce

On Jun.20.2005 at 10:31 AM
debbie millman’s comment is:

“World” is a big word for this publications.

Luke: I wasn't referring to either magazine's global editorial coverage, I was referring to their circulation numbers.

On Jun.20.2005 at 10:49 AM
BlueStreak’s comment is:

What fascinates me the most about Print are the subscription offers sitting on my desk:

$57 for two years "at the lowest available per-year cost"

$37 for two years at "professional discount" rate

$89 for two years "at the lowest available rate"

$37 for one year at "a special low rate"

All of these were received in the last four months. Take note that there are two "lowest available" rates/costs and neither of them is actually the lowest.

On Jun.20.2005 at 11:07 AM
Bryn Mooth’s comment is:

Well, I'm late to the party! Sorry to be joining the discussion just now ...

Interesting question about how the redesign affected content. Joyce mentioned in our panel that Print had renamed some columns and departments in order to streamling and clarify content. HOW did likewise, ditching some of the old names and simplifying things. Many of the old department names (i.e., Log On for the editor's note) were, like most of the graphic elements, influenced by web-design conventions that were prevalent when HOW was last redesigned (by Alex Isley in 1999).

DJ's called his vision "artfully diagrammatic," which means that the new format calls for a more visual presentation of ideas or information that would have previously fallen into body copy or sidebar text. That has definitely influenced how the edit and design staff plans feature articles and works with freelance writers. For the better, I might add. Our whole process is much more collaborative (and it had been fairly so beforehand), with designers, writers and editors all weighing in on how best to present the material. HOW had become very text-heavy, and so this new format has loosened and expanded our thinking about content. It was a much-needed shakeup.

On Jun.20.2005 at 04:03 PM
Bennett Holzworth’s comment is:

At first I was a little shocked: two competing magazines using the same company (albeit two different designers) to provide a rejuvenated "look and feel"

Michael, I didn't see anyone address this in their response so I thought I would. Hopefully I didn't just skip over it. While HOW and Print are competitors in some aspects they are both owned by F&W Pubs. I think this would answer any questions about a conflict of interests (if that is what you were getting at).

I would share some more of my own thoughts, but I would probably just repeat what I said on our HOW Conference blog.

On Jun.20.2005 at 05:26 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> Michael, I didn't see anyone address this in their response so I thought I would.

I thought they actually did address the point, in fact, wasn't it an audiencee question? Both Abbott and DJ looked at each other and shrugged. It's a non-issue. Each partner in Pentagram deals with their own separate clients and each has their own, unique style and mode of working so, as far as Pentagram goes there is really no conflict of interests. When it comes to Print and HOW being owned by F&W, it seems like both magazines also "operate" individually and can make their own decisions as to who they work with without stepping on anyone's boundaries. And if you look at the results it is quite amazing to see how different they are evem though both went through — this term I really dig — a Pentagramization.

> Also, I wonder why no one ever brings up Step (Inside Design) when discussing design magazines?

After a really strong start, I feel their latest issues have lost a bit of steam. Still a great looking magazine though. Their covers need a lot of work, most of the image choices lately haven't been great.

And, the one magazine that is truly top notch and keeps getting better with every issue after its redesign is I.D. Truly amazing editorial design. Print's redesign reminded me a lot of I.D.'s

On Jun.20.2005 at 06:38 PM
Bennett Holzworth’s comment is:

Armin, I don't think I got across the thought I was trying to convey. I totally agree with you. There is no conflict of interest. I was trying to state that since they are both owned by the same company they couldn't be considered competitors. Looking at your points, it wouldn't even matter if they weren't owned by the same company. Anyway, it is a non-issue.

I think they did address this issue in the session, but I didn't see it addressed in this discussion.

On Jun.21.2005 at 02:35 AM
Greg’s comment is:

The most dramatic change we could have effected would have been to organize the heavy stock inserts and advertising so that they did not create such physical impediments to the reader.

It's too bad this didn't get changed. I have to say, this is the reason I don't subscribe to How (I realize the comment is from Abbott Miller, but it stands). Print is kind of getting bad about it, too, but not nearly as much. I understand the need for such a thing, and that it's a huge money maker for the magazines, but it's unfortunate that, as my wife put it once, “for a magazine about design, it sure isn't very well designed.”

I have slowly come to stop worrying and love Print's redesign. At first, I was confused and frightened at the loss of the strong cover logo, but the insides are so much more unified. There is just one thing now about the cover that's killing me - bring back the relationship of the “r-i-n” to the type below it! That type just hangs there, dangling by one arm from the edge of an abyss. And while I'm at it, maybe Print could get Jonathan Hoeffler to develop a bolder rounded Gotham (Gotham rounded black?) for the logo. You know, because that's cheap.

On Jun.21.2005 at 09:21 AM
feelicks sockwl jr’s comment is:

HOW redesirony

the editors "favorite (or was it "top") 20 illustrators" includes Brian Cronin... yet they chose to pay David Plunkert to perform his new Cronin inspired style instead of calling the real McCoy.

I love Plunkert (even tho hes a republican), and I too have taken part in a few Cronin-inspired pieces but lets give the guy a break already. OK, maybe not. Who wants cupcakes?

On Jun.23.2005 at 06:44 PM
Ronald Goldstein’s comment is:

Agreed about U&lc magazine. You know there's a book chronicling this phenomenal publication's greatest pages? Every designer or artist should be familiar with it.

On Jul.08.2005 at 03:01 PM
Brad Brooks’s comment is:

I'm quite surprised that following on from Design Maven's top ten list of design magazines, no-one has mentioned Eye magazine from the UK. I find it to be the most consistantly good magazine on graphic design published anywhere in the world (and my firm buys in IDEA, Print, How, Grafik and Communication Arts).

Just my tuppence...

On Jul.29.2005 at 06:48 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Brad, I would take the no mention of Eye as it being a "given" of quality. Eye has been, is and hopefully will continue to be one of the strongest design publications.

On Jul.29.2005 at 09:03 AM