I love reading the German NEON magazine. The Art Directors Jonas Natterer and Ji-Young Ahn conducted an interesting editorial design relaunch that I want to take a closer look at in this blog post.
The new cover page (bottom picture) shows a much more sharp-edged font. The old NEON font (top picture) looks a bit frumpy and bulky. The main topics are now formatted as axial justification (centered). The old NEON showed the main topics as left-aligned, one-lined paragraphs. You’ll come across axial justification (centered text) quite often within the new editorial design.
The topics in the table of contents are centered (they used to be left-aligned as you can see on the top picture). In addition to that, red colour is used here and there for smartly steering the reader through the table of contents.
The category "Nur eine Frage" (only one question) presents comments of Neon.de users. The old design (top picture) comes with a rigid, straight grid. The new design (bottom picture) reflects the design of modern social media channels like Google+ and Pinterest that does not have rigid grids on purpose. The new editorial design looks like social media channels the readership likes spending time on.
The "Deutsche Geschichten" (German stories) have been pressed into a slim shape that is, however, still pleasant to read for the human eye. Also here, you see the Art Directors’ love for axial justification. Another repeating design element is the CTA - Call to Action. Red speech bubbles invite readers to become active in sharing their opinion etc.
The headers in the new editorial design (bottom picture) look less plump as they are less spaced out and have upper and lower case letters. And – surprise, surprise – you see centered text again (old design: left-aligned, see top picture).
Another newness are bent headers that look funny and edgy and are not too dominant.
Opening pages for categories have been completely renewed. The new design (bottom picture) focuses on three big topics instead of listing all topics of the category like in the old design (top picture). A sharp-edged font gives the page the perfect oomph.
The page number stands on its own now (bottom picture). Thus, the page makes a more solid, grounded, stronger impression than before. A clear structure instead of too much knick-knack: The redundant hyphen between page number and category has been banned.
Headers and lead texts are now more modern and slightly remind of the design on mobile devices such as iPad etc. Old (top picture): left-aligned text, several text hierarchies and serif fonts gave the header and the lead text seriousity and a journalistic news feeling. New (bottom picture): Axial justification, no text hierarchies, clearer and sharper-edged font. All that creates a modern feeling that matches the NEON readership perfectly.
A small font without serifs and a glass in 2D rather than 3D give the category "NEON testet die Parteien" (NEON tests political parties) a fresh oomph towards modernity.
As a graphic designer dealing with editorial designs on a regular basis, I have to say that that new editorial design of NEON triggers the target group much better than with the old design. The only negative thing that I have to point out however, is the fact that the paper quality is still not very good. The opacity is still bad. Pictures slightly shine through the paper which increases the grey tone of text, furthermore this makes text more difficult to read. Paper with higher density would have looked more inviting and would make reading much more pleasant and enjoyable. But maybe the Art Directors of NEON think of that in the course of the next editorial design relaunch.