This week saw the premiere of Fortune magazine’s redesign (top and bottom). Four separate covers were printed of soldiers who are the next wave of business executives.
Founded in 1930 by Henry Luce, Fortune cost $1.00 a copy at the height of the GreatDepression. And for those wealthy enough to buy it, they were given a lot for their money: 11 x 14 inches on heavy paper, printed in rotogravure. Its first cover was designed by T.M. Cleland, and Will Burtin and Leo Lionni (among others) would later serve as art directors. Its covers were done by the likes of Fernand Leger, Paolo Garetto, Ladislav Sutnar and Diego Rivera, among others. Walker Evans and Margaret Bourke-White’s lush black and white photos graced its pages.
We asked John Korpics, who redesigned Fortune, about this latest incarnation. Here’s what he said:
Why the redesign?
This is part of a wholesale reinvestment in the brand. Better paper, bettercover stock, new frequency rate, new web editor (Daniel Roth) to buildup the online presence, new creative director (myself) to improve(hopefully) the look, feel and navigation of the book, and asignificant amount of new content, all part of an effort to revitalizethe brand while also retaining the core deep dive reporting and writingthat makes the magazine experience unique.
What do you feel is the most unique quality of the redesign?
On a strictly design nerd level, I love it as a textural experience.The combination of classic business typography, tough geometric sansmixed with elegant heavily weighted serifs, information graphics andcharts, a fantastic variety of photography and illustration.
How do you view the redesign compared to other current major redesigns?
Readers and newsstand buyers don’t notice design, but they notice when there ispersonally relevant content. We spent almost a year exploring the kindsof content our readers were interested in, and then we created newpages, new sections and new ways of presenting information thatresponded directly to those needs.
How do you see the redesign in the continuum of Fortune?
It’s the first step in what I hope will be a long and always evolvingprocess. I think we’ve solved a lot of the content delivery problems,making sure readers know exactly what a page has to offer, and thenmaking it almost impossible for them to skip over it. Beyond that, Ilove figuring out ways to design the modern day version of a magazinewith such a rich visual history. Finding ways to work in little visualmoments that are inspired by the great old Fortune while at the sametime exploring ways to define it as a modern business magazine.