Up front: November 2013

A new look


In 1987, I wrote about Business North Carolina’s first redesign, “one that’s remaking the face of this magazine and, in essence, wiping away a look readers have grown familiar with, perhaps even fond of, after nearly six years.” I went on to say, “Such a move, like shedding a wife or taking on a partner, is not something you do lightly.”

That new look proved to be a winner, not only with readers but also judges of journalism competitions. It’s one reason the Association (now Alliance) of Area Business Publications named BNC the nation’s most-improved regional business magazine two years in a row. In 1996, as we prepared to celebrate our 15th anniversary, we had Don Wright, the New York graphic designer who had given us our new look, freshen things up. By that time, his work and our art directors’ execution of it had won about a dozen national awards. Since then, their number has grown so large it eludes me. And despite its age, the design still wins prizes. Just this year it was cited in the comments accompanying the silver we won from the AABP for best use of photography and illustration.

But like a business, a business magazine needs to change with the times, so early next year we’ll unveil our first major redesign in nearly three decades. Over the last five years, we’ve updated things a bit, especially our departments, but this will be major change. Jim Denk, our new art director whose résumé  includes stints as creative director of The Charlotte Observer and design director of the Detroit Free Press Sunday magazine, is leading the effort.

This redesign will be much more than a facelift. It will impact how we convey content to our readers. Managing Editor Spencer Campbell’s mission includes restructuring the front section of the magazine, making it more fun and enticing. My role: to make sure the baby doesn’t get thrown out with the bath water. As Don Wright said about his design when he returned to it nearly nine years later: “It’s clean, open, lots of space, inviting to read.” This one will be, too. Though our appearance will change, you’ll still recognize us — by what we do and the special way we do it.


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