Throughout our 33-year history, we’ve made periodic changes to the design of the magazine to reflect Mothering‘s evolving identity and to keep in step with the changing tastes of the world around us. (To get what I’m talking about with the latter, check out our very first cover, at right.)
Several months ago, feeling the need to freshen up, we began the magazine redesign process anew.
In my design training, I was taught that the “look” of an entity should reflect the essence of that entity. In other words, before doing anything else regarding a revamp, we needed to take a closer look at the question: What is the essence—the identity*—of Mothering magazine?
So, in addition to visiting newsstands, poring over other magazines in the market, reading up on design and color theory, and looking at lots and lots of typefaces, Mothering Editor and Publisher Peggy O’Mara and I met with our editorial staff to grapple with that not-so-trivial issue of identity. (Photos here are from one of those meetings.) Brainstorming, we arrived at a list of descriptive words to use as guidelines for the new feel of the magazine.
In doing so, the edit staff and I realized that Peggy’s spirit and personality—her fierce independence and integrity, appreciation for the up-and-coming and respect for the tried and true—are a key part of the essence of Mothering. Seems like a “no duh” now, but we discovered that Peggy, the heart and soul of the magazine for decades, was at the heart of the magazine’s identity.
We turned to Peggy’s personal style for further design direction. That kicky red wool jacket she wears, her curvy pumps that hint at the1940s, the jaunty way she sports that cream scarf. . . We thought about the casual elegance of her cabin home in the mountains, the natural choices she makes, the beauty with which she surrounds herself. . .
This essence, then, is what we aimed for with the new look of the magazine. Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think!
*Quick word-geek aside: I just noticed that identity = id + entity!]