Friday, July 04, 2014

Largest golf magazine in the world redesigned to appeal to younger audience. Will it work?

There has been a great reluctance to mess with specialty sports magazines for fear of scaring off the core audience. There seems to have been the assumption that the readers were older, set in their ways and resistant to change. Well, we shall see.

Golf magazines have seemed ossified, stuck in 1962 and featuring a round-robin of topics and cover lines so that readers may bask in the deja vu. Their own kind of handicap, so to speak.

Condé Nast decided to make over Golf Digest, the most widely read golf publication in the world and allowed their design team and Luke Hayman, a partner in the design house Pentagram, to go get them some of those millenial golfers. As the Pentagram site notes 
The format opens up the magazine for a looser, more playful feel that conveys the game’s athleticism and virtuosity, as well as the growing “cool” of golf culture, embodied by player-fans like Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon. For the designers, part of the challenge was finding new methods to visually represent the subject—to break up the monotony of pictures of golf course greens against the bright blue sky, or to show golf tips like swing paths in an unexpected way.
To update the masthead, the designers looked for a font with balls—specifically, ball terminals, which add a playful touch given the subject matter. The contemporary stencil-like font Dala Moa was selected for its distinctive ball terminals, which break free from the letterforms so balls can be hidden in plain sight in the logotype and in display text. With the blessing of Dala Moa’s designer, Paul Barnes, the terminals were customized to make them perfectly round. Commercial Type, the foundry that licenses the font, worked on refining the logotype by adjusting the letter spacing as well as the spacing of the stenciling, to make sure the identity would work in a range of different sizes. The colored dot of the “i” in “Digest” was retained as a link to the magazine’s former logo. 
Inside, the tone is smart, sophisticated, and irreverent, with content designed to engage both golfers and non-golfers. About a quarter of the magazine continues to be instruction––tips and techniques––joined by more articles that contain data and stats about golfers, games and gear, both for pros and amateurs. Shorter articles offer more entry points for the reader, and a flexible grid gives the dense information room to breathe.
Pentagram is well known for its design generally, but its magazine work specifically, ranging from TIME to the New York Times magazine and Atlantic, from Vanity Fair to Billboard

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