Whenever we sit down and discuss magazines that we admire here in the studio, WIRED is a title that comes up again and again; revered and respected for its content, its design, its agenda-setting and its remarkable consistency. But change is in the air and the August issue which hits newsstands this week sees a major redesign led by WIRED UK creative director Andrew Diprose. We caught up with him to chat through some of the changes…
Why was it time to redesign the magazine?
WIRED has been published in the UK for a little over five years, and although we’ve been evolving the design (and section by section it’s been reworked) it was time to get down to the grid and template for a redesign over the whole title, on all platforms. There were aspects of the layout that needed work and only taking things back to basics would really work.
What are the key features of the new look and feel?
Our template and grid has changed, really the bones of the look. The grid runs bigger on the page, with more columns allowing for floating columns. The word count is pretty much as before, but we hope to run our images bigger; the look is a little cleaner and just slightly more mature.
It was of upmost importance to have a look that ran over all platforms – I think our iPad edition for August is up there with my favourite of all our previous editions. The way we’ve approached space on the tablet edition is one of the most important aspects of this redesign.
What were the biggest challenges you faced?
Time. Doesn’t everyone working in publishing imagine disappearing for a month or so, into some kind of zen-like room to fixate on small detailing? I was keen that although we were still working on the July editions, as soon as we had something we were happy with, we’d get it out there. There are aspects we’d still like to finesse of course, but getting past the time constraints were key.
What part if any did reader feedback play in the redesign?
We are privileged in that we have a clever and design-conscious audience. Innovating with the look of WIRED is important; when the magazine is so full of new ideas, disruption and clever thinking, it’s our DNA and it’s important to me that the design mirrors the content. I was keen that regular readers are treated to something we consider fresh and modern.
Tell us about the new typefaces; what was the thinking/process behind them?
It was really time to freshen up the display type, to give new identities to the sections and to redefine the section openers too. I also wanted a display typeface that could run big in three weights and importantly widths; something that can run on a cover or as a small header in a section and something very versatile.
We worked with Matt Willey as a consultant in the early stages of the redesign and he introduced us to Henrik at A2. We wanted to take their already brilliant Beckett and soften it slightly.
I’d worked with the guys at Sawdust on custom type before and they’re always a pleasure to work with. I’m over the moon with the results on the section headers. We were keen to come up with something that was a lot more photographic, a lot more textured and illustrative than the bold vector typography elsewhere.
How will you monitor/measure the success of the redesign?
It’s tough to quantify really. I guess with copy sales, subscriptions and brand loyalty. Commercially I hope I’ve also created a good environment, and a feel that embodies WIRED as a brand. Personally I hope the regular reader will find it exciting, surprising, easy to navigate, a straightforward reading experience and the perfect platform for our photography and illustration.
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