How The Guardian designed its thoughtful new long-form mag

The Long Read Magazine manages to live in two worlds: the bookshelf and newsstand.

10 November 2023

From 11 November, a new magazine from The Guardian dedicated to long-form journalism hits newsstands. It’s 100 pages long – inside you’ll find stories on the disappearance of fish and chip shops and Durex’s pursuit of sexiness. According to the creatives at the helm, ECD Chris Clarke and art director Bruno Haward, it’s a format that The Guardian has received many requests for over the years.

“We know that for many people, myself included, when it comes to long, immersive pieces, reading in print – without the distraction of your phone, or emails and notifications pinging in – is still the most satisfying reading experience, and one that should be cherished in a climate so saturated by disturbance,” says Chris. With most of these more evergreen stories taking months or even years to build, hardy print felt the best way for them to live.

Chris likes to think of The Long Read Magazine like a ‘bookazine’; it balances all the things we love about magazines (“the drama, the pace, the energy”) with the considered typesetting of a book. A lot of attention was given to packaging its large volume of text – clocking in at 55,000 words – to make the reading experience as relaxing as possible, from body type size to column widths.


The Long Read Magazine (Copyright © The Guardian, 2023)

Long Read also holds onto its links to reportage as well to its master brand. “We at The Guardian have a rich history dating back over 200 years, and we would be remiss not to dive into that when starting a new print product,” says Chris.

Chris and Bruno have revived an old Guardian typeface for Long Read, Mercury – a “beautiful, spiky, authoritative” number, found mostly in The Observer. This addition creates some separation between the magazine and the core news typefaces, removing some of that urgency associated with daily reporting.

“The content of the long read section is in many ways classic magazine fare: profiles, in-depth reporting, narratives — so it makes a lot of sense to collect them together this way, and to produce a substantial publication that looks really beautiful, is a pleasure to hold, read and keep,” says Bruno.

The magazine features a cover illustration by Nishant Choksi and flat-lay photography by David Mccoy. It’s printed by Walstead Roche. You can get your hands on a copy via The Guardian bookshop and select newsstands.

GalleryThe Long Read Magazine (Copyright © The Guardian, 2023)

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The Long Read Magazine (Copyright © The Guardian, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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