Redesigning Spa

Redesigning Spa For many of us this season, it's a Winter that can't end fast enough, and those subway ads about "Your Florida Waits" are too cruel. (That can't be just us, can it?) Imagine then getting the mandate to redesign Bonnier's Spa Magazine. AD Donna Reiss has, and shares some of the work, and the behind-the-scenes, with us all here...
Spa is the authority on spa, travel and wellness, and the team behind the magazine, a small group of just five amazing women, are so proud of what we've done.

As Art Director and the only designer on the magazine (yes, I need to say that), Spa is my fourth redesign with Bonnier Corporation. My other previous (and redesigned) loves were Garden Design, Babytalk and American Photo. What made this redesign unique and special was the fact that I was able to take everything I've learned from the past and use that to reapply, rethink and devote a fresh, exciting and new energy into the brand.

(above: the new Spa cover)

Any designer who has taken on the task of a redesign knows that it essentially all boils down to the cover philosophy as the starting point, and of course, the longest design process on the planet. Spa's new cover concept was the culmination of a wall of post-its, cover versions, brilliant minds, and a LOT of research -- then even more research. The first task was the logo, and the challenge of how to make "spa" more prominent on newsstands. We love the name -- you can't help but feel 10 times more relaxed just by saying the word, come on! But we felt it needed a little something extra. We also loved the tagline, "Travel, Beauty, Living," so we thought, why not make that part of the logo? No one has done it before with such prominence, not that I'm aware of, anyhow. You know that designer moment where you know it's just right, no second guessing? The logo looked and felt modern, and informed the reader of what they would find inside. So I added a great typeface and Ta Dah!

Next up was the new cover image and philosophy. This issue was the first of four seasonal issues and two worldwide guides for 2011. We wanted our cover model to represent a series of things: First, she needed to look like how we would want to feel as a Spa reader: relaxed, happy and healthy. And second, seasonality and sense of place/travel were important. So for our spring issue, sense of springtime was essential. The worldwide guide issues (which come out bi-annually) will have a stronger destination presence in foreground but will maintain the integrity in our models from our seasonal covers.



SPA DEPT 3.jpg

(above: the new Spa interior pages)

The book's interior pages were designed to be very clean, simple and informative with a few slight touches of boldness here and there. Special thanks to my very cool EIC, who has given me the creative freedom to have a little fun, including the beauty department opener and more to come!

The next issue is our Summer Worldwide Guide, which essentially is a redesign as well, new architecture, etc... Back to the digital drawing board and wall of post-its.

The Spa creative team includes:
Editor In Chief: Susan Moynihan
Art Director: Donna Reiss
Photo Editor: Diane Rice
Senior Editor: Tara Bradley
Assoc. Editor: Amy Cassell

Hey! You've probably got some NEW WORK to share, and we want to see it! We'll welcome anything that's gone to the printer recently, something you're especially proud of and think might be inspiring to the membership and readers of Grids. We'll note the credits and the publication and shine a little light on the latest and greatest in publication design. 

Please reduce your layouts to no larger than 1200 pixels wide and don't forget to include all relevant credits and a little background (if you feel like). Send your submissions to and we'll post them as we get them.

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  • This is fascinating stuff. it's a lot of ideas to digest in one go as prose.

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