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VQR’s Minor Redesign

PUBLISHED: December 22, 2008

VQR underwent its first-ever redesign five years ago, and after twenty issues, we’re updating the design a bit. Our Winter 2009 issue will be the first issue sporting the new look. It’s slimmer and brighter, but has as much packed inside as always.

The first change you’ll notice is our logo. We’ve moved away from the segmented |V|Q|R| motif and switched to something a bit bolder. Here’s how it appears on the winter issue:


As with the old logo, the color will change each month to reflect the cover art and the feel that we want to evoke.

You’ll find the second change once you thumb through the pages—we’ve gone to a two-column layout. Here’s the opening page to J. Hoberman’s “Behold the Man: Steven Soderbergh’s Epic Film Biography of Che”:


Dual columns are arguably easier on the reader’s eye, but more important is that they allow other design changes that, in turn, allow us to save paper. We’ve tightened up the kerning and the leading, and decreased the margins a bit. Those changes would have made the pages harder to read with a single-column format, but they work just fine with this new look. Each page of VQR now has approximately 750 words, rather than the 450 that we’ve been limited to.

The Winter 2009 issue has the highest word count of any issue in the past year, but it will look like the briefest in a half-decade. We’re saving on paper, printing costs, shipping costs, storage space, and of course money with this new design. Look for the Winter 2009 issue in your mailbox and on newsstands around January 1.


Jim's picture
Jim · 11 years ago
Bravo on the changes, especially, the eco-friendly printing choices. Two columns will feel weird for the fiction pieces but I’ll get used to it.
Ted Genoways's picture
Ted Genoways · 11 years ago
I thought I would dislike fiction in two columns too, Jim. I even toyed with a one-column format for it, but I have to say that I’ve really come around to liking two columns. Others may have a different opinion, of course—it seems they always do—but I think our designers at Percolator Graphic Design have done a bang-up job with a seriously difficult task. (“Um, could you nearly double the number of words on this page without making them look crammed?”) It’s a really clean, clear design that I think will hold up for us—at least until we redesign again in a few years.
dan visel's picture
A quibble: you’ve tightened the tracking, not the kerning. Tracking is the general space between characters; kerning is the space between particular pairs of characters (the pair “AV” is kerned tightly together; the pair “MM” isn’t kerned together). Looks nice, though …
Waldo Jaquith's picture
This is a useful point that Dan has brought up. Of kerning, Wikipedia says:
In typography, kerning—less commonly, mortising (referring to the process of physically removing material from the cast character)—is the process of adjusting letter spacing in a proportional font. In a well-kerned font, the two-dimensional blank spaces between each pair of letters all have similar area.
And of tracking, Wikipedia says:
In typography, letter-spacing, also called tracking, refers to the amount of space between a group of letters to affect density in a line or block of text. Since the advent of personal computers the term tracking is frequently used. In professional typography and graphic design the term letter-spacing is more commonly used.
Kerning is basically binary (either the font is kerned or its not), whereas tracking is an infinite scale that can range from illegibly tight to hugely spaced out. “Kerning” is a widely-known term, while “tracking” is far less used. Among lay-folk, kerning has fallen into generic usage to refer to the spacing between letters, which is how I’ve used it here.

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