Fast Companyhas redesigned its print magazine.
The process first began last summer, spearheaded by creative director Mike Schnaidt. It will debut with the May/June 2020 issue, out May 5.
“I left the completion date open-ended. This would allow my crew the essential time to experiment and be as creative as possible,” Schnaidt wrote in a post to readers about the redesign process.
Fast Company’s last redesign was in November 2018.
“I think of Fast Company magazine as an evolving product, like a pair of Air Jordans,” Schnaidt told Publishers Daily.
“Nike updates the design of those iconic sneakers year after year, in order to keep them looking fresh for a diehard audience. We owe our design-hungry readers the same service.”
Since the previous redesign was just 18 months ago, the team at Fast Company decided “a massive change would appear unfocused to the reader.”
“There was sound logic behind our previous redesign; it just needed to realign with our visual principles," Schnaidt wrote.
For example, Fast Company “had a lot” of bold, all-caps typography, “which appeared overly masculine.” The new design has section headers in lowercase, and headlines in upper and lowercase, to soften the look.
The redesign also has a stronger emphasis on branding.
“We developed an icon system to give each [franchise] an identity,” according to Schnaidt. That includes, for example, “Material World,” “Data Dive” and “Master Class."
Fast Company’s “Recommender” section, which houses product suggestions and life hacks from business leaders, is now branded with badges for franchises like “Favorite Thing,” “Want It” and “It Never Gets Old.”
The team also had fun with “the most static elements of the magazine,” the page number and section name, to “make them the most dynamic. And as you flip through the magazine, you’ll notice a fluctuating design for page numbers. It’s our little way of celebrating the magazine medium,” Schnaidt wrote. The numbers also move positions on different pages.
The COVID-19 pandemic was an unexpected twist of events for the upcoming issue.
“While we spent months designing, presenting and commissioning art for this redesign issue, we never would have planned for the current state of the world,” Schnaidt noted.
The team quickly added a timely feature story: “Slack in the Age of Quarantine.”
The cover features Japanese organizing consultant, author and TV show host Marie Kondo with a “typographic tribute” to her folding diagrams.
“Sure, a magazine has its limitations," Schnaidt wrote. “You can’t animate it, and it can’t play music back to you. But within the rectangular confines of the printed page, our design possibilities are limitless."