Delivering Consumer Reports’ Print Redesign
While many magazines are struggling to succeed in the current industry climate, Consumer Reports is experiencing growth in both newsstand sales and subscriptions. Newsstand sales have more than doubled to 190,000 in 2008 from 83,845 in 2002, and subscriptions rose 12 percent to 4.3 million during that same period and have continue to trend upward, the company reports. Still, despite its growth, Consumer Reports decided it was time for a bit of makeover. The results of that decision were delivered earlier this month, when Consumer Reports debuted a redesigned print magazine.
“Now, more than ever, we’re the magazine we were always meant to be,” says Editor-in-chief Kim Kleman. “We are thrilled to introduce the redesigned Consumer Reports to a new generation of readers and to better serve our current subscribers.”
To assist in the redesign, Kleman and her team hired magazine designer Luke Hayman, a partner at New York-based Pentagram Design. Hayman, whose firm also recently redesigned Vibe magazine, spoke with Publishing Executive Inbox about the process behind the redesign of Consumer Reports.
Inbox: What were the main goals of the Consumer Reports redesign, and how did you achieve them with your approach?
Luke Hayman: The goals were to make the design both more contemporary as well as more functional. The project was a little complicated because the magazine is currently so successful—a rare story these days of healthy newsstand and subscriber growth. Consumer Reports is obviously a company that tests, and they talk to their readers on a constant basis, so the design wasn’t “broken” and readers weren’t unhappy. Despite this, the new editor, Kim Kleman, and her design team, George Arthur and Tim La Palme, felt the magazine would benefit from an update.
Inbox: What are the major elements of the redesign? What will readers see when they open the magazine?
Hayman: The first change they may notice is the logo. I say “may” as it’s an evolution of the current mark rather than a complete redesign. We used a customized condensed font that allowed us to put the logo [on] one line, which created a clear space for the cover imagery. The cover is tidier with a clearer hierarchy of stories.