Since 1966, the magazine’s familiar masthead identity has featured lettering with strong circular forms that suggested records (and later CDs) and kicky “mod” colors. As part of the refresh, the logo has been completely redrawn to emphasize the basic geometry of the name, creating a typeface that echoes the circles of the original and still looks “pop.” The designers have set the name entirely in lowercase, tightened the spacing and, perhaps most importantly, removed the colors from the circles. This makes the print version look immediately more grown-up and serious, and a lot easier to design with full-bleed color photographs. The color version of the logo will be retained on the new website (designed by Area 17) as well as in retail uses and event marketing.
Logo prior to the redesign | Image
The redesigned logo used on the magazine’s cover | Image
Color version of the new logo used in marketing and on the website | Image
Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have redesigned Billboard and its graphic identity, including its famous charts, with a new format that helps make the magazine and its in-depth information more accessible and engaging.
Inside, an active and varied design captures the vibrancy of the music business. The magazine’s sections have been reorganized and restructured, with new departments introduced and others renamed. The table-of-contents page is now called “Viewpoint” and features the best quotes from the week’s stories. A new front-of-book section title “Topline” highlights industry news. Headers are paired with graphic bars inspired by the charts. Page layouts are opened up, with graphs, pull quotes and other data appearing in the margins. The design employs a carefully coordinated suite of typefaces, including LL Brown, Lyon Display and Atlas Grotesk for headers, and Lyon Text for body copy. Ziggurat is used for special features and advertorials.
A major part of the project was remaking the magazine’s charts to be more easily understood. “For me, helping to redesign the Billboard charts was the ultimate information design challenge,” says Bierut.
Detail of the redesigned Hot 100. Analysis of hits and artists now appears in the chart, and weekly designations like ‘Digital Gainer’ are indicated with a red flag | Image
The charts now appear at a larger scale and across more pages. The Hot 100 (the top 100 singles) has expanded from one page to a full spread, while the Billboard 200 (the top 200 albums) from two to four pages. In its most recent incarnation, the magazine’s different charts appeared in different colors: hot pink for the Hot 100; gray for Digital Songs; green for Country, and so on. These have been returned to high-impact black and white of the original Billboard charts, with more open spacing that makes them easier to read. In the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, analysis and background on specific hits and artists now appears within the chart.
The new minimalist look of Billboard.com
Cover of the magazine prior to the redesign | Billboard.com