Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek When Bloomberg Businessweek launched their redesign (and re-imagination) of the magazine at the end of April, the response from the publication design community was somewhat underwhelming. The first couple covers were solid but not remarkable, the insides were crisply formatted but a bit overstuffed, and the imagery had yet to find its full voice. 

It's time to take another look. In the succeeding months, the new design has grown and matured into a remarkable visual package. Week after week, creative director Richard Turley and his crew are producing stunning covers and features, along with tightly formatted interior pages that rival New York for their texture, density, creativity, and attention to detail. This is state-of-the-art magazine design, with highly-original and intelligent photos, graphics, and illustrations. It's a look that fuses the formatting brilliance of New York and the smart visual approach of The New York Times Magazine, with a hierarchy and architecture lifted from the best British and European publications (the Guardian chief among them). Most impressively, Businessweek has a high level of visual intelligence, challenging its readers, pushing the boundaries of traditional newsweekly and business magazine design.

(Above): November 1, 2010, illustration by Nick White.

The business magazine market is exploding with visual energy. In addition to Businessweek, John Korpics and Robert Festino are doing original, high-level work at Fortune, and Florian Bachleda has just moved over to take the creative reins at Fast Company.

The Bloomberg Businessweek team:

Creative Director: Richard Turley
Design Director: Cynthia Hoffman
Art Director: Robert Vargas
Associate Art Director: Gina Maniscalco
Designers: Patricia Kim, Maayan Pearl, Lee Wilson
Design Manager: Emily Anton

Photo Director: David Carthas
Deputy Photo Editor: Karen Frank
Contributing Photo Editors: Marianne Butler, Donna Cohen, Emily Keegin, Myles LIttle, Tania Pirozzi, Sue Miklas
Assistant Photo Editor: Diana Suryakusuma

Chart Consultants: Karlssonwilker
Chart Designers: Evan Applegate, Kenton Powell

Redesign by Richard Turley and Mark Leeds

Biz week6.jpg(Left): October 4, 2010, typography by Berton Hasbe/Commercial Type. (Right): October 18, 2010, photograph by Martin Schoeller.

Richard Turley: This magazine needed a typeface that carried information really well, as in many ways you could see the whole book as a long information graphic. I could pretend that the decision to use a recut of Helvetica was arrived at through months of research, but the truth is I couldn't face trawling through 1000 type foundries to uncover some unique and undiscovered treasure. I used an early version of Commercial Type's Helvetica revival --Haas Grotesque -- on a book I did a few years ago and dug it up. As an idea, Helvetica was so wrong -- as fonts go it's about as uncool as it gets. Not out of fashion enough to be revived, hugely overused, badly used. But its wrongness was also very appealing, and like it or loathe it, when set properly Helvetica carries information very well. So now committed to the using the wrongest typeface I could find, we matched it with Publico, which was originally cut to be a like-for-like match with the the Haas when we were messing around with them both as a type direction for the Guardian newspaper redesign in 2005.

Biz week7.jpg(Left): July 7, 2010, illustration by Steve Caplin. (Right): October 25, 2010, photograph by Fredrik Broden.

Richard Turley: Covers should just be surprising. They usually (like the rest of the magazine) come together quickly the day or so before we publish. Visually, I'm happy if it looks a little removed from what people would traditionally imagine a business magazine to look like. If we get someone who has no interest in business to pick up the magazine and engage with the content, then I think that's a great achievement. Because you all should read our magazine! Business is the reason our world is screwed, and our magazine uses business as a prism through which to understand these turbulent economic times. Plus, business is about money and power. And admit it or not to yourself.. money is what we all want and power is what we all need. Except me. Obviously...

BIz.jpg(Left): September 13, 2010, photograph by Tony Law. (Right): October 11, 2010, typography by Tal Leming.

Biz week7a.jpg(Left): June 14, 2010, photograph by Fredrik Broden, typography by Tal Leming. (Right): August 9, 2010, photograph by Nigel Parry/CPI.

6 - .jpgJuly 26, 2010, photograph by Floto + Warner.

feature7.jpgJuly 1, 2010, photograph by Robyn Twomey.

feature6.jpgSeptember 13, 2010, photograph by Tony Law.

feature1.jpgOctober 25, 2010, photography by Jamie Chung.

feature2.jpgOctober 25, 2010, photograph by Ofer Wolberger, illustrations by Jennifer Daniel.

feature9.jpgJune 14, 2010, photograph by Fredrik Broden.

Richard Turley: Businessweek is broken up into three acts, with the pages divided into 12 columns, with an eleven unit horizontal modular grid assumed from the sizing and setting of our body text. Each typographic gesture we use is proportionally related to that grid. It also dictates the application and location of space onto the page.
I believe space is what great publication design is really about, the geography of each gesture in relation to its neighbor. This principle is also the blood and guts of the best art, music, literature, architecture... any creative discipline. The mechanics of the approach I use at Businessweek is indebted to the design theory practiced by my mentor Mark Porter and the lineage of inspirational publication designers that proceeds him, from Simon Esterson, Willy Flekhaus, David King, Christof Gassner, to name but a few. And having spent time on the integrity of our typography and with the grid in place, we can get on with designing a magazine, never having to think again of this stuff. The structure silently shapes our design until it suits us to break all our own roles. Which is where it gets fun.
And the fun bit extends to what in my design approach, I think of as graffiti. The type structure and spacing are the bricks and mortar from which we craft the walls of magazine, and on top of that, we spray graffiti. Whether pictures, display typography, big numbers, charts, captioning, or illustration, they're syncopated moments--many sitting completely free of the grid-- that disrupt the organization, breaking those grid conventions and giving energy and tone to the pages. These elements are the magazine talking to you. It's a form of narration, with insightful or flippant, informative or sideways-glancing commentary set in a separate voice to the authors. Plus, nobody reads everything in a magazine--especially ours which is dense with detail and something of a celebration of the written word--and I hope these devices give a rewarding experience to those who only want to graze through parts of the magazine.

front1.jpgAugust 2, 2010, graphic by The Department of Information Design of Copenhagen.

etc.jpg(Left): July 5, 2010, photograph by Anna Skladmann. (Right): May 24, 2010, photograph by Fredrik Broden.

Related stories:
Bloomberg Businessweek Redesign

  • Mark Kaufman

    Just goes to show you that we in the design community are too quick to offer opinions on redesigns of publications, logos, packaging, ad campaigns, before the project is able to get it's sea legs.

    Thanks for the second look at the Bloomberg Business Week, which has matured into a must see/must read each and every week.

  • Tom O&aposQuinn

    This work is just fantastic... so great to see such exciting and smart work in a business mag. I love picking it up each week.

  • Grant Glas

    Mission accomplished Richard. This work is excellent. Love the "Shredding the Dream" layout!

  • Jeremy LaCroix

    I haven't been rocked by a redesign in a while. It's quite refreshing to see a merger of two old media brands produce such startling results. For years I've been at best an occasional reader of BusinessWeek, mostly for the utility of the coverage. These days I simply can't pass a newsstand without picking up an issue, I'm enamored with the presentation and the marriage of timely subjects to smart visuals. I'm truly inspired when a weekly can pull off such packaging.

    In an atmosphere when even I (A longtime magazine hoarder) wonder which of my subscriptions I can do without as I spend more and more of my time ingesting digital content this is one of the few titles I'm obsessing over subscribing to.


  • Martin Gee

    Beautiful and compelling work. Designing business is definitely a challenge and these examples are mind-blowing.

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