Regular readers of the magazine will notice something’s different. Cleaner. Crisper. We’ve tweaked our layout, and matte paper is back for the first time since 2004. It’s a slightly new look, but we’re keeping some basic elements that define our identity. We’re a business publication. And a serious one. We write three-course meals, not light snacks. That means text. And lots of it.
“It’s easier,” Executive’s design guru Tanya Salem says of moving mountains of words around. “But I don’t like it.” Salem’s creative expression is limited to finding dignified ways to “break up the text to be easier to read,” she adds.
That’s not to say there’s no fun to be had. If page layout is our identity, covers are that identity dressed up to make the best impression. And who doesn’t love picking out clothes? Covers have static elements, and we’ve tinkered a bit, making our logo smaller and sliding it up into the left-hand corner of the page, for example. The change is not merely aesthetic. We’re freeing up real estate for the most important cover element: our message.
While people were common cover art in 1999 and 2001, we’ve never had a hard rule on what covers should look like. Rather, the results of whatever investigation we’ve undertaken that month drive our cover design choices. “What are we trying to say?” is how nearly every cover design meeting begins. Once the message is chosen, there are no restraints on the ways to represent it. We’ve done plain text. We’ve staged photos, such as when we put a colleague in a gas mask for our August 2002 cover story on environmental damage. We’ve used illustrations. We’ve used stellar work from our talented in-house photographers. We’ve even left the cover blank in a poorly organized and executed effort to encourage readers to draw their own covers. If you’re a fan of our past work, be reassured there’s plenty more to come on the design front.
Re-design is part of Executive’s visual evolution. This isn’t the first and won’t be the last. Our mission, however, remains the same.