Stengel: Time Redesign To Provide ‘Clearer, More Forward-Looking Take on the World’
The much-talked about redesign of Time magazine hits newsstands Friday and managing editor Richard Stengel in a more than 600-word editor’s note promises readers not only a new look, but also a new approach to presenting content. “It’s part of a series of changes – beginning with the shift this past January of getting the magazine to you before the weekend – that we are making to create a Time that is more meaningful and more forward looking,” Stengel writes.
Like many of its competitors in the newsweekly category, Time has struggled with declining newsstand sales and flat ad revenue and pages over the past few years. Single copy sales of Time fell 8.3 percent to 133,084 in the second half of 2006, according ABC’s most recent FAS-FAX report.
In 2006, Time’s total ad revenue was up 4.7 percent to $661.3 million from $631.8 million in 2005, but its pages in book were close to flat increasing 0.8 percent to 2,311. In addition to the redesign of its magazine, Time has embarked on a number of changes since Stengel took over as managing editor last May. The changes include a redesigned Web site, a new on-sale date for the print publication, changed from Monday to Friday to better reach supermarket shoppers; a higher cover price, increased $1 to $4.95; and the reduction of its rate base from 4 million to 3.25 million.
As promised, the cover design is much the same as the magazine’s current design. But, according to Stengel, the inside pages have been redesigned in a way that best presents the story of the times we live in. The magazine’s new mantra is “We offer clarity in a confusing world, explaining not only what happened but why it matters.”
Friday’s cover features a photo of Ronald Reagan, head turned to the side with a tear-drop falling down his cheek. The cover line reads, “How The Right Went Wrong.” The story details these “gloomy times” of the nation’s Republican Party and compares right-wingers to 1980’s Democrats – once described by Reagan as “bankrupt of ideas.”
Time’s redesign team was helmed by Pentagram’s Luke Hayman, the award-winning designer that oversaw New York magazine’s redesign in 2005, and the magazine’s own art director Arthur Hochstein.
In addition to a clearer design, the magazine will do more to integrate its Web site into its print publication, Stengel promises. “One example is 10 Questions: Each week we will announce on Time.com who will be interviewed next and solicit questions from you,” Stengel writes. “We are also adding contextual links in many stories that will help you locate original sources or related blogs and columns on Time.com.”