This issue completes the three-part renovation of New York Magazine that we began earlier this fall. The most conspicuous element of this phase is the first thing you saw when you looked at this magazine: a logo so large it could not be fully contained on the cover. We know some readers might suspect a metaphor at work—something about the big city that is our subject—but in truth this logo just looked beautiful to us. It also began to seem like the right signature for the magazine we’re trying to make, one that’s bold and elegant at the same time. The logo is not just larger, but also subtly different in its typography. As with many elements of our redesign, it is not a radical invention so much as a restoration of a classic form. When you have a magazine with the history ours has, great solutions can be plucked out of the archives. The new logo is based closely on what editor Clay Felker and art director Milton Glaser developed in 1968, which subsequently underwent various tweaks and modifications over the years. We loved it, both for its look and also for the way it served as a salute to the magazine’s legendary founders. But we also wanted to make it modern. Fortunately, typographer Ed Benguiat, who has worked on many variations of our logo, was available to redraw it for us. Then we blew it up until it seemed as much a confident gesture toward the future as a nod to the past.
Inside the magazine, we’re working with the same theme: taking cherished elements of the past and spinning them forward. Over the last several months, you may have noticed a new visual vocabulary emerging: more expressive type treatments, exciting layouts, and adventurous photography. That has been the handiwork of design director Luke Hayman, photography director Jody Quon, and their superb staffs. While putting out the magazine week to week, they’ve also been integrating all our new ideas, including “Strategist” and “The Culture Pages,” into what we think is a beautiful and original package.
Among the new elements folded into the mix this week are a revamped version of the “Intelligencer” and a column by Kurt Andersen, the novelist, radio-show host, and journalist, who happened to serve as editor of this magazine from 1994 to 1996. Consider this week’s column a coming attraction; “The Imperial City” will begin appearing biweekly next year, alternating with “The City Politic,” which Chris Smith takes over next week. In “Intelligencer,” you’ll find another gem from the archives: the return of “The Competition” (longtime readers will remember what used to be a wordplay contest), reinterpreted for our times.
From its earliest days, New York Magazine has sought to reflect back to readers the dynamism of the city itself. New York is in constant flux, embracing the past and future in one furious cycle. In that spirit, while we declare the formal part of our redesign now finished, the informal process will continue indefinitely. We’ll just have to see what works. You be the judge. Keep those letters coming (firstname.lastname@example.org).