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This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.


Reading that’s Hard to Digest

Reviewed Dec. 12, 2007 by Armin

Industry / Publishing Tags /

Reader's Digest Logo, Before and After

I don’t recall ever opening a copy of Reader’s Digest. I may have been tempted to do so in some crowded doctor waiting room but I probably chose to read something like Rhinoplasty Monthly which, even as a made up magazine, sounds more interesting than what the cover of a Reader’s Digest ever promised by looks alone — it felt cheap, lowbrow and filled with ads of “As Seen on TV”. [Full disclosure: I religiously read gossip mags like Us and OK! when I travel, so make of my literary tastes what you will]. Clearly, I’m one of the few in the world that does not read this magazine that enjoys distribution in 60 countries, in 50 editions and 21 languages, reaching 40 million people worldwide. Every month. 10 million copies alone make up the circulation in the U.S.. Well, as of December 10, with the launch of a new design and supporting a new positioning, only 8 million copies. Reader’s Digest is trying to gain ground on a younger market so it will put more effort and resources into its web site, accounting for the 2-million drop in circulation… and serifs.

Gone is the Garamondesque logo, with it’s immense “R”, and in is a Gill Sansesque logo with a reversely immense “D”, which also sports a (maybe?) speech bubble in its counterform. A gesture that seems out of place as magazines are not about dialogue, they are more of a monologue. However, if that’s no speech bubble I pray that someone didn’t think it would look cool to take out a notch from the “D”, because it doesn’t — even if it matches that triangular apostrophe. What it does achieve is a techie look more appropriate for a computer geek crowd. And, from what I gather, the majority in their readership is women, and this logo feels very masculine. But regardless of what the logo looks like, the type selection is very mediocre. Nothing about that typeface is right: the bump on the “e”, the tummy tuck of the “a”, the odd crossbar of the “t”, it all feels clunky. According to this article, the logo was designed by “famed designer Peter Arnell, architect of such brands as DKNY and The Home Depot”. Ok!

Reader's Digest Covers, Before and After

The cover and the whole magazine also got an update, designed in-house lead by Hannu Laakso, the magazine’s Design Director. I thought about going to the newsstand and getting a copy of the latest issue to see the redesign, but that would mean I would break my un-Reader’s Digest streak and judging from what I see on the cover, I’m not even tempted. Now back to my stack of Rhinoplasty Monthly.

Thanks to Brian Collins for the tip.



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