Behind the scenes of the redesign of Scientific American

Behind the scenes of the redesign of Scientific American

Effectively, it is onerous to consider, however we have redesigned it American Scientific-once once more.

In the present day we introduce the redesign to the world. Whereas I am proud to have been in a position to do it twice, it is onerous to consider how a lot work has been achieved. (And after I say “we,” I imply the whole employees with the assistance of design firm Pentagram. It could not have been achieved with out everybody’s assist.)

Once we determined to revamp the journal a couple of yr in the past, we weren’t upset with the way in which it had appeared over the previous 12 years, however relatively we wished to breathe new life into it and hold issues related as a result of the world has modified a lot since we based it. Redesigned in 2010. Particularly, the publishing panorama modified just like the supercontinent Pangea, in comparison with continents right this moment. Most significantly, our on-line presence has expanded in ways in which the founders of this esteemed establishment may solely have dreamed of. This left us with some actual questions on our look that we wanted to resolve. Though our web site will get plenty of site visitors, its visible presentation is clearly designed for our print viewers. In order that was the first motivation and want for change: ensuring that we stand out because the premier scientific publication in america and the world, each in print and on-line.

The very first thing we found was our model. This helped us set the tone American Scientific As a complete and make good, concrete choices concerning the general design. We knew we wished to take a extra trendy strategy to the model, but it surely was essential to not alienate our readers, and it was good to have the ability to look to our 178-year historical past for inspiration. The Pentagram staff combed by our archives to drag out concepts and get began on this path. The emblem we had been main from was a nod to the 1948-2001 interval, and is one which a lot of our present readers keep in mind fondly.

The August 1955 and September 2023 covers of Scientific American.

This was our start line. The pentathlon staff in cooperation with scientific American, I began pondering in new instructions. Our aim was to evolve the model right into a extra trendy interpretation of who we had been however to make sure that our on-line presence was simple to learn and clear throughout all platforms. To do that, we checked out our model positioning on-line, particularly on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter (now X) and most significantly TikToK, the place we wished to strengthen our model. An important a part of growing the emblem was ensuring there was a connection between the small icon generally known as a ‘favicon’, or what we name a ‘meatball’, and the model emblem. To this finish, Pentagram has explored some choices, and we had been introduced with the next.

Seven different Scientific American logos

All of this displays and “speaks” to our wealthy historical past in order that the model would not really feel fully modified since our final redesign. All the pieces had professionals and cons for me and the employees. We had been in a position to talk about this matter and collect opinions between us. When the mud settled, we made this alternative.

Six different Scientific American logos.

It might look like that was all we wanted, but it surely was only a new place to begin our subsequent steps. We then optimized the emblem and favicon to ensure they “appeared” proper. As you’ll be able to see under, we moved a lot of the letterforms to assist fill within the gaps and make the emblem and branding really feel as essential as they’re.

Two of Scientific American's new logos.

This additionally began the brand new path of how this emblem will affect our on-line publications and branding. The one factor we knew we may do was change the general look of the whole print journal. Our redesign should be extra restricted on-line since plenty of our on-line branding is unfold throughout different websites. Nevertheless, a few of its affect remains to be felt even in areas over which we’ve had little management. Branding is essential to supply an general presentation of our model, however pictures, graphics and different designs additionally assist preserve our visible id on-line.

The very first thing we did for print publishing was to think about a complete community structure to assist the entire downside. We most well-liked a versatile mesh that permits for max effectivity in our design.

Pink column grids.

It additionally helped affect our font decisions. Along with probably the most trendy and customary presentation, we additionally wished to ensure we had been serious about the reader. (For instance, we wished to make the sort a bit of bigger to make it simpler to learn.)

Examples of two different fonts.

The 2 new fonts above may also finally be translated to our web site and can contribute to the unified look we wish between our channels (on-line and print). It can additionally assist with general manufacturing by facilitating displays for each channels.

Now we had been actually shifting ahead. Seeing the printed designs allowed us to begin actually serious about what the problems and their contents would possibly appear like: bolder, simpler to learn, one thing a bit of totally different and extra enjoyable. For the final merchandise, we wished to make the knowledge extra accessible. The fashionable twist on this was to take what we had been doing, which was a black and white presentation of our emblem and content material, and make it extra vibrant and interesting. The print model particularly can have extra coloration and design to assist readers have interaction with the tales.

Four different covers of Scientific American.

Three page essay on progress.

"Great power" Page spread.

Along with the brand new model, within the subsequent few months, with the brand new infrastructure in our on-line hierarchy, we’ll see a brand new construction that can make on-line presentation a lot simpler and permit the superb tales we produce to have a a lot larger impression.

Because of our design companions at Pentagram — Luke Hayman, Shigeto Akiyama, and Rob Hewitt — and particularly our employees, Editor-in-Chief Laura Helmuth, and our President Kimberly Lau for being so supportive and useful on this lengthy, satisfying course of.

Cover of the October 2023 issue of Scientific American.



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