Popular Science Redesign: Rethinking a 140-Year-Old Brand

Popular Science Redesign: Rethinking a 140-Year-Old Brand The Popular Science team is starting off the new year with a new design and we were lucky enough to get the backstory on the process from Design Director Todd Detwiler...

With the first significant redesign in the past 8 years, our initial thinking was to look at what we are doing well, and what we needed to do better. It was determined that a touch-up in design would not be enough. A complete teardown and rebuild was in order and it started with a new logo. 

We tapped the design team of Joe Newton and Gail Anderson, both design and editorial veterans, to come up with variations on a new logo design. After reviewing many typefaces, Gail and Joe found a font that evoked a sense of science and history, Brandon Grotesque. "From there, we made countless alterations," Newton says. For example, the letters N and A were customized to come to a sharp point to suggest energy and mechanical precision.

Popular Science Final LOGO.jpg

The cover strategy needed to be rethought. Science is not exclusive to microscopes and laboratories, and we wanted to make the topics we covered inside the book relatable on the cover. Science and technology are huge topics in the national conversation, and how they fit into your daily life is what we aim to tackle on a monthly basis. We also changed our paper finish from glossy to a gritty matte finish. The textural change is immediate when you pick up the magazine, and reiterates out commitment to change. 

Internally, the design was modernized, headlines written with directness, and photography and illustration commissioned that communicated concepts quickly and clearly. The sections of the magazine were rethought and organized with more sidebars, statistics, and supporting information. We wanted to create a product that was packed with accurate information you could quickly digest and retain.

There is an obligation to give our loyal subscribers what they have enjoyed for years, but also a great opportunity to recruit a new wave of readers that have grown up with science and technology as a part of their daily life.

Check out the redesign in full in the February issue of Popular Science, on newsstands January 13th. 

Design Director: Todd Detwiler
Photo Editor: Thomas Payne
Associate Digital Art Director: Mike Moreno
Junior Designer: Michelle Mruk

  • billy sharpstick

    I appreciate creative design, but printing 7 to 9 point type over dark backgrounds is just amateurish.

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