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NEWS, SEEN AND NOTED · March 29, 2010

A Change of Fortune

Before-and-after comparison of new Fortune magazine logo

Last week Fortune magazine unveiled a bold new look, spearheaded by creative director John Korpics. To herald the new direction, Korpics commissioned Cyrus Highsmith to draw a new logo for the nameplate.

Now entering its 80th year, Fortune magazine has had an illustrious history, often noted for its journalism and photography. A new logo needed to be distinguished, to demonstrate boldness, and to signal success.

Highsmith and Korpics initially explored several avenues: All-caps vs. U&lc, heavier vs. lighter, geometric, slab serif, etc. "I sketched a lot of different directions," says Highsmith, "and we quickly narrowed it down to something close to the final version -- a sort of Bodoni but more robust, contemporary. We didn't want to do anything retro but we wanted to somehow respect the long history of the magazine."

As is often the case in an exploratory phase, Highsmith drew on some existing fonts from the Font Bureau library for his starting points. One of these happened to be his own forthcoming Ibis, a squarish Modern with hints of Walbaum and Melior, which became the chosen direction.

Ibis Display, a forthcoming type family by Cyrus Highsmith

Building on this foundation, Highsmith moved toward the final logo by further sharpening the contrast between thick and thin strokes. He adjusted the proportions overall narrower and taller, at the same time lengthening the serifs to enhance the sense of stability. And he refined the interactions of the individual letterforms (note especially the fitting of the RT and the serifs of the UN combinations, for instance).

The final, new Fortune logo

The result is a crisp, dynamic nameplate with the distinction and panache of a well-tailored business suit.

See sample spreads from the Fortune interior redesign on the Society of Publication Designers blog.


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