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Don’t Ever Redesign the New Yorker. Wait. Okay, Maybe the New Yorker Needs a Redesign.


Although lately we’ve been immensely more preoccupied with online-ness when it comes to the design of the New Yorker, we remember a long time ago when someone named Michael Bierut devoted an entire essay to the “slow design” of the publication: “unbelievably, wonderfully, perfectly, exquisitely boring.”

Today, a designer who used to call Bierut boss, KT Meany, shatters that exquisitely boring view with her piece “Redesigning The New Yorker to a High Degree of Fussiness.” The piece is rather awesome in its heavily-footnoted qualities, but Meany goes a step further and provides a step-by-step visual critique of the entire magazine. She also issues what seems to be a call-to-action for someone, anyone, to give ole Eustace another chance at life:

Like Eustace Tilley, the New Yorker design is an anachronism. If this butterfly-lover were alive today, wouldn’t he be sporting a pair of glasses instead of a defunct monocle? Break the gridlock (literally and graphically) and change. Irvin’s three-column grid is a good foundation, indeed. But it needs to work harder. Make every word tell, as Strunk and White instruct, but on a page that sings. Then consult a range of Massimo Vignellis and Michael Bieruts. Listen to them. Locate the impotent typographic and design components. Fix them. Develop the tightest InDesign file, with perfectly considered formatting, so that no decision is by default. (Make that last part a life lesson.)

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