Monday, October 6, 2008

Evolution VS. Creationism

Blender's logo evolution

I grew up in a Southern city with a raging debate a handful of years ago as to whether evolution or "creationism" should be taught in public school biology classes. The controversy gained national media attention and ended ignorantly with evolution being completely overlooked in classes and an unsightly sticker smacked in the front of each textbook stating that "Evolution is just a theory."

In the case of magazines, though, the term "evolution" is favored. Instead of citing a "redesign," magazines make the case that their product is simply evolving, as to retain readers and not scare off advertisers. Of course, magazines are constantly changing, but we can only hope that each change strengthens the magazine, not brings it one step closer to extinction.

In an interview with the Society of Publication Directors blog, Blender Magazine's new creative director Dirk Barnett explained the sometimes politically-correct process of redesigning a magazine:
At the beginning, then-CEO Kent Brownridge told me to never call the redesign a "redesign," but rather an "evolution" of the magazine. I had been hired to redesign the magazine, but when I got there, the terminology shifted slightly so we didn't scare advertisers into thinking we weren't happy with the product. I began by slowly leaking [the new typeface] Locator onto the pages, and within 2 issues had a soft "evolution" in place until the new logo was finished, at which point I would roll out a complete "evolution".
But when all is said and done and when all the stars are in the right place, like it seems was the case for Blender, a new redesign can remake a magazine into something better, not new. You can read the rest of the interview with the award-winning Barnett here.

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