Newsweek Redesign Debuts
Revamp focuses on visual as well as editorial changes.
Only a month after their merger with The Daily Beast, Newsweek underwent a makeover.
Led by editor-in-chief Tina Brown (former editor of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Tatler and Talk magazines), Newsweek’s new design hit newsstands Monday, March 7. Featuring Hillary Rodham Clinton on the cover to lead the story “150 Women Who Shake the World,” the issue includes articles written by Harvey Weinstein, Leslie H. Gelb and Kathleen Parker.
Joanne Lipman’s first installment of her regular column “C-Suite” appears in this week’s issue. Lipman was editor of Conde Nast’s ill-fated Portfolio, a magazine shut down after a 24-month run. According to an interview with Newsweek on May 1, 2009, the magazine’s end was “purely an economic decision.”
FOLIO: spoke with creative director Dirk Barnett, who joined the Newsweek/Daily Beast team on November 30th to lead the redesign. He spoke on the key components of the visual redesign, as well as editorial changes, to the weekly news mag.
Barnett attributes much of the redesign process to Arthur Hochstein, former art director of Time Magazine, citing him as “…the driving force behind closing it from week to week.”
On Newsweek’s website, Brown says that photojournalism will become a focus of the revamped book. Barnett sees the photography usage as the biggest change with the redesign. Accordingly, the magazine opens with the News Gallery, three consecutive spreads of photos from around the world. The captions read more like “storyettes”, as “another chance for us to get hard news up in the front that happens to be mainly visual.”
He says, “The last redesign [in May 2009] took away all of the big, beautiful storytelling with photography. We immediately brought that back.”
Newsweek’s cover page is now thicker (70 lb), and the inside pages (now 34lb) are whiter.
A shift in typography is another integral part of the Newsweek redesign. After toying with the idea of dropping the red box around the logo and possibly adding “thick red rule” under the tile, the font changed instead, now sans serif titling gothic. Body copy is printed in acta, a font produced by Portuguese typographer Dino dos Santos.
There are more ad pages, and more luxury brands in those pages. Whether this is a result of Brown’s arrival, or a spike from the buzz around the redesign, will be seen in forthcoming issues.
Illustration also appears in the revamped Newsweek, with portraits of icons and contributing columnists for “a more newsy feel.” Other additions include the Newsbeast, a column in the front of the book, and Omnivore, a culture-centric section.
The Newsweek/Daily Beast merger became official on February 1st. Now called The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, Tina Brown acts as editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine and daily news website. Stephen Colvin (president of the Daily Beast) is CEO of the Newsweek Daily Beast Co.
Barnett says, “I think you’ll see from week to week – this is the first issue, and we’re just now figuring out what the personality of the redesign is going to be, what its limitations are and what it can allow us to do.”