A favored technique to rejuvenate a beleaguered publication is to give it a makeover, allowing for a brief round of publicity amidst promises of seizing upon today’s innovations in aesthetics and information transmission. It’s not always effective. In May 2009, Newsweek unveiled new designs for its print magazine and its website; almost exactly one year later, the Washington Post Co., Newsweek’s owner, announced that the magazine continues to bleed money, and it’s up for sale. That statement has prompted a flurry of what-does-it-all-mean pieces about the sale and the future of journalism [1,2,3,4].
But a redesign can also enhance or raise the profile of an existing product, one that shows no signs—at least publicly—of becoming mired in Chapter 11. Several established publications, and one newcomer, recently unveiled new looks and features. Most of them share similar design goals: a clean, smooth presentation, with easily navigable menus, including standardized header menus appearing on each page; large, readable fonts; faster loading times; added user functionality (Facebook Connect is a popular tool for luring in commenters); better access to archives and site searches; and warm colors—the autumn tones of The Believer, n+1, and [tk] Reviews, Haaretz and Publisher Weekly’s California-sky-blue.
Here, then, are this week’s models, encompassing the fields of books, culture, news, politics, and publishing. Click on over, root around, and enjoy: