• PrintMag

Good Fortune Redesign

By: Steven Heller | March 9, 2010

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 Great Depression. 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, better cover stock, new frequency rate, new web editor (Daniel Roth) to build up the online presence, new creative director (myself) to improve (hopefully) the look, feel and navigation of the book, and a significant amount of new content, all part of an effort to revitalize the brand while also retaining the core deep dive reporting and writing that 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 sans mixed with elegant heavily weighted serifs, information graphics and charts, 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 is personally relevant content. We spent almost a year exploring the kinds of content our readers were interested in, and then we created new pages, new sections and new ways of presenting information that responded 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 evolving process. I think we’ve solved a lot of the content delivery problems, making sure readers know exactly what a page has to offer, and then making it almost impossible for them to skip over it. Beyond that, I love figuring out ways to design the modern day version of a magazine with such a rich visual history. Finding ways to work in little visual moments that are inspired by the great old Fortune while at the same time exploring ways to define it as a modern business magazine.