This is the web version of a talk I gave at the 2006 Folio Show on the topic of improving a magazine without going through a full-blown redesign. Of course, every magazine is different and not all suggestions here will apply to every title. My observations are based on research over the summer of ’06 into what smaller newsstand and controlled-circulation titles are doing well and poorly with design in their efforts to captivate, inform and entertain readers. In the process, I looked at hundreds of separate publications--these suggestions are chosen to be applicable to a broad array of periodicals in a range of fields.

While my sample pages are from real magazines, it is not my intention to criticize specific publications or art directors--most periodicals, my own included, can do some things better. Many smaller magazines (to whom my talk was aimed) operate under severe budgetary and time constraints—making even agreed-upon design goals beyond the realm of possibilities. These suggestions are meant to offer real-world ideas for how small magazines might use design and art to better serve their readers.

See an annotated version of my presentation with examples.

Read the handout.

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