The New York Times Magazine isn’t moving on, it is evolving. The well loved magazine, which has been running now for over 119 years, has been relaunched, which for some diehard fans of the magazine, was slightly jarring. The first issue in a new “stage,” to use pokemon terms shamelessly, of the NYTmag evolution ran on Feb. 18th, 2015. This featured four covers, not in split-run cover format (where alternative covers exist for magazines distributed in different areas) but one after the other, all plays on that magazine’s theme of “Hello, World.”
In Jake Silverstein’s, the magazine’s Editor in Chief’s words the newest relaunch of the NYTmag ” would be unusual, surprising and original but not wholly unfamiliar… a clear descendant of its line.” And that is just what the magazine has created, a fun and creative step within the foundation already laid.
The Physical: Perhaps the most immediately startling change to the routine follower of the NYTmag was the difference in the magazine’s page size. The wider format, however exciting at first, is surprisingly fitting for the magazine. The more generous area given to images within the magazine is great, and the change in size goes almost unnoticed
The magazine’s full name, an unwieldy logo of decorative gothic script, gained center stage at the top of the magazine’s cover. The name also became more widely spaced, so although the name is not an easy one to print while looking elegant, the newest version is much more balanced than before.
Format: Especially for the newest NYTmag, designers created all-new typefaces meant to give a more modern and clean look. No typefaces were reused, and the new ones succeeded in doing exactly what they set out to do- they went almost entirely unnoticed. Strange praise for an artistic creation, yes, but the type is simply a carrier for the words written in it and if the type doesn’t distract then for the average viewer, this is a success.
The first issue’s formatting was a little weak. The normally creative titles’ formatting was replaced with a mash up of text large and small, and the usually clean pages seemed were difficult to appreciate. Thankfully the following issues of the NYTmag have used their usual creative formatting, and they are falling into a more easy-to-read format.
Also featuring fewer columns per page, the new formatting of the NYTmag is a massive success and it’s creators have made a cleaner, more interesting page layout with more room to breathe. So, even as they work out a few kinks, an overall success.
Content: Along with the reworking of the visual aspects of the NYTmag is a “spring cleaning” of the different articles published. Gone is the one-page magazine, a playful page that featured statistics, news tidbits and advice (especially a mini-column that answered snarkily an unserious ethics question).
New pages include a social media page called Search Results by Jenna Wortham, which isn’t there every issue but is fun and colorful, and First Words, an article elaborating on the history, meaning and connotations of a particular phrase by a rotating group or writers. The Ethicist, an ethics page responding to a few questions sent by readers, is now a podcast and is printed only in part; a panel of writers revamp the page.
Success: The NYTmag has taken a large step to modernize and rethink it’s magazine, and all in all it has succeeded in doing what it set out to do. For a new age, the magazine is expanding online and in the social media. In it’s traditional space, it has crafted a more visually interesting and breathable space. New content? Yes please!
Although the NYTmag may be straying from it’s own tradition, it is for the better. Although it’s first relaunch featured more ads and surprises than expected, it is settling down into a new era of the New York Times; and it will never not be fun to read each Saturday!
Image credit underconsideration.com (http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/nyt_mag_redesign.php#.VS6Z0JTF_EI)