Work / Publication

Monotype’s The Recorder magazine editor talks us through its redesign

Marrying a playful typographic approach, sensitive illustrations and deliciously tactile gold foil, the cover of The Recorder is a great indication of its contents: a beautifully designed ode to typography and its omnipresence.

The magazine from Monotype has just been redesigned and relaunched with a new approach that moves away from a more detailed, trade-focused look at lettering to a wider survey of type’s place in the world, whether in signage, graphic design or handwriting. The magazine now has Emma Tucker at the helm as editor, who oversaw the redesign led by Luke Tonge from Life Agency, who also designed Boat magazine.

It features some great illustrations by Neasden Control Centre, which created some suitably bold and disruptive type-based imagery for a feature on how typography has been used to represent the future. Elsewhere, David Doran’s charming illustrations of hidden letters in scenes of building exteriors set off a investigation into typography’s relationship with the urban environment.

As we might expect, there’s a deliciously brave approach to the type itself, with Luke looking to showcase numerous typefaces and approaches, while remaining respectful of the magazine’s illustrious 112 year history. We had a brief chat with Emma about the redesign and the future of the magazine.

What’s changed in the mag to the previous approach?

The Recorder was first published in 1902, and it’s been on and off since then. It was more a trade mag about the new developments in typefaces and technologies and that sort of thing, but we wanted to bring it back to focus on how type is used in everyday life, art and culture. We’re looking at how typography sits with everything else.


The Recorder: Issue #1

Who is it aimed at now?

It’s for the broader creative and design industry, but hopefully it’ll be something that’s of interest even if you’ve never worked with type.

What were you looking for in the look and feel of the new design?

We really wanted it to be something accessible, and not something that intimidated people. It had to be respectful of its heritage, but also striking and even a bit controversial and experimental in its use of type. We had to think about how people would feel holding it – the size, the paper stock. Luke was interested in making the concept more accessible and engaging, so we played with the masthead to have it perpendicular and wrapping it around the magazine.

How will the new design carry forward into further issues?

This is a totally new design, and we’ll be publishing twice a year. There isn’t a theme but the next one will have a similar approach – we feel it’s really important to have high production values. There’s an underlying colour palette but we’ll change the colours of the cover.


The Recorder: Issue #1


The Recorder: Issue #1


The Recorder: Issue #1


The Recorder: Issue #1


The Recorder: Issue #1


The Recorder: Issue #1


The Recorder: Issue #1