DEAR READER: Redesigned Vox features new cover, content, type

Sunday, April 13, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:20 p.m. CDT, Friday, September 12, 2014

Vox magazine unveiled a new look this week, and the whole staff is abuzz. There’s a new logo, a new color scheme, redesigned pages — these are the things editors get excited about.

But when it comes down to it, we know readers don’t give a rip about such details if the magazine isn’t delivering content that’s interesting — or if the type is hard to read.

We launched into the process of redesigning Vox (for the first time since 2009) in January with the goal of delivering a publication that was more vibrant, more modern.

Part of our preparation included surveying community members about the magazine. The No. 1 response? “Your type is too small.”

While publishing industry folks might spend time debating color palette or fonts, readers just want to, you know, be able to read the magazine.

There were other things we learned from the survey, too. The respondents liked abundant use of photos, preferred shorter articles to long ones and saw the cover as an important factor in determining whether they picked it up.

We listened, and we kept our audience in mind as we worked to create the new Vox. A team of students, led by designer Libby Burns and editors Caroline Feeney and Megan Madden, forged the way.

Among the changes are:

  • A new cover logo that is graphic and eye-catching — perfect for a magazine that heavily relies on distribution at the 200-some newsstands around town.
  • A vibrant palette that takes advantage the four basic colors printing presses use: cyan (blue), magenta, yellow and black.
  • A new type style that is more legible (it’s called Jansen for you typography geeks).
  • Larger photos.
  • A new department called The Pulse.

That last addition provides topics worthy of water-cooler (or more likely Twitter) conversations, while also creating a new weekly challenge for the magazine staff.

That’s important because Vox isn’t an ordinary city magazine. It’s also a teaching lab. Each year, well over 150 students work on Vox in some way — as editors, writers, designers, photographers and Web producers.

The Pulse section gives these students the experience of creating the kind of timely and succinct content that is a vital part of magazine making. It also keeps the print edition of Vox current, fulfilling an essential part of our mission to help lead conversation.

We’d love to hear what you think about this week’s issue, and future ones. Drop us a note at

Heather Lamb is editorial director of Vox Magazine and an assistant professor at MU in magazine journalism.

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