Town and Country Magazine, owned by magazine publishers Hearst, has undergone a redesign led by new editor in-chief Jay Fielden and the recently appointed Design Director Edward Leida.
Tasked with the goal of modernizing and expanding Town and Country and its mission, the new design features a logo with visual references to the 1930’s version, with uppercase sans serif and an individual ampersand.
Town and Country has been “America’s magazine for the affluent” since inception in the 1840’s (via Graphic Design USA). Founded by poet Nathaniel Parker Willis and newspaper editor George Pope Morris, it was first known by The National Press in 1846. Later renamed The Home Journal it became “Town & Country” after 1901. The publication is traditionally a heritage magazine with a society readership. In the 19th century the weekly magazine included poetry, fiction and essays with influential readers; as the readership became more high-society led, it chronicled the balls, social events and activities of the American debutantes and aristocracy. It also reported on advantageous marriage and unions from wealthy people meeting at society events.
The magazine is now published monthly and is owned by the Hearst Corporation, a global company with titles including Cosmopolitan, Elle, Harpers Bazaar, and Good Housekeeping. The redesign forms part of a long-term strategy to widen readership demographics and circulation. Times have changed since the magazine began, and drastically so. According to NYtimes.com, “It once covered a clearly defined world of high society. But now the wealthy include TV reality stars and Google entrepreneurs. People look to celebrities rather than to oil heiresses for fashion inspiration, and to Wikipedia rather than Emily Post for etiquette”. The advertising in the magazine has always been for luxury goods and services, and the publication relies on it’s advertising revenue which took a beating as a result of the recession and “ad pages fell 45.6 percent from 2008 to 2009, worse than almost any other luxury magazine, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.” (via NYTimes.com).
Design Director Leida is mindful and respectful of the needs of the magazine and its longstanding heritage, paying homage to, longstanding art director of Town and Country and his iconic predecessor Frank Zachary.. He says “Like any good creative in the magazine industry, I’m aware of the legacy and history of Town & Country, and it’s extremely rich,” said Leida. ” What Frank Zachary brought to Holiday and Town & Country from a design standpoint was extraordinary. And many of those vintage and historical foundations that occurred way before I was born are milestones in the design world, as far as I’m concerned. I’m trying to embrace and process them for Town & Country today. I’d like to bring back some of those very distinctive ways of looking at design and imagery.” (via Fashion Week daily.com)
Leida is well known in magazine publishing for his work at Fairchild publications for W Magazine. He has 26 years experience in the publishing industry and trained as both a graphic and industrial designer.The work of Leida and his team were given many awards by The Society of Publication Designers, including, Magazine of the Year, in 2007.
As well as reemploying Town and Country’s 1930’s logo with unique ampersand and alternating colored letters, the overall redesign also includes longer articles, more celebrity images, models on the front cover and same sex marriages within the wedding pages.