We did it. We redesigned Chronogram. Welcome in, accomplish yourself at home.
For the aftermost year, we’ve been talking in ardent about a redesign—and not aloof tinkering. We’ve been envisioning and incubating a wholesale, start-from-scratch, throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater redesign. This larboard us with a alarming question: How do we activate the packaging of Chronogram—creating a added readable, relevant, and advantageous clairvoyant acquaintance in print—without accident our appropriate articulation and beatnik design, the key attributes that accept authentic us?
After abundant discussion, iteration, discussion, and reiteration, we accustomed at a simple rubric: Tell added belief in a added agreeable way.
In the aboriginal stages of our process, all options were open. Would we actualize a new logo? Change the cavalcade grid? Throw out long-running departments? Eliminate the agenda listings, the foundation of the annual for 25 years? Ideas we would never accept advised alike a few years ago now seemed plausible, alike exciting. Actuality are several of the changes we landed on and implemented that accept decidedly impacted our magazine’s attending and feel.
One of our abiding desires was to use the archetypal font, Helvetica, as the defining chantry of the magazine. The accountable of abundant architecture debate, Helvetica has consistently resonated with us. But we acquainted that activity able and axial with it would accommodate an anchoring adverse to the added antic fonts we appetite to absorb into features, callouts, and cull quotes.
A accepted allotment of acknowledgment we get from our clairvoyant surveys is that our anatomy blazon is adamantine to read. In response, we’ve pumped up the chantry size. We additionally went from a two- to three-column argument filigree area possible.
For too long, our pages were text-heavy walls of words. With the redesign, we looked to add added access credibility that advance a clairvoyant into a page. In our new format, we accomplish abiding that no folio is a sea of type, and we advance bead caps, cull quotes, and adroit blazon treatments to allure readers’ absorption and allure them into anniversary page.
Chronogram’s change from a commonsensical adviser to a content-driven apprehend was nontraditional in abounding ways, including the magazine’s structure, which never had a accepted affection well. We consistently ran feature-length pieces and appropriate sections, but the aggregate of the agreeable was presented as departments of mostly medium-length pieces. We capital to breach that up and accept amplitude to amplitude out, so in the redesign, we developed our own adaptation of a affection well. First, a long-form allotment with acknowledging art but abounding appear text. Second, a medium-length allotment profiling a bounded personality, with a angular against art and added images. Third, a photo essay, on any subject, with able-bodied captions. We’ve additionally added an Outdoors cavalcade (page 62), a accountable a and baby to so abounding of our readers.
Following the allegorical assumption of cogent added stories, better, we did what at one time seemed unthinkable: We removed the agenda listings. (The name of the annual absolutely refers, with a little artistic license, to a calendar; the accurate acceptation of chronogram is “time writing.”) For abounding of our readers, Chronogram is the back and area for contest they affliction about. However, because of our account advertisement schedule, the book agenda is not all-inclusive, and admitting edited, doesn’t action abundant added than the basal facts. In the redesign, we accept preserved our curated previews of accessible events. And we’ve confused the agenda absolutely to our website, area it can be comprehensive, commutual with audio/video, and user-generated. Ultimately, we added than tripled the contest accepting affection analysis in the book adaptation while additionally accomplishing a better-looking magazine.
Back Chronogram started in 1993, there were no smartphones; computers were still almost big-ticket for accidental use; and best online adventures consisted of bulletin boards and the now-quaint “You’ve got mail” ding. Book was area you got your information. These canicule agenda and book are territories on according footing, and Chronogram lives in both.
Our readers appetite to appoint with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and our Eat.Play.Stay newsletter (sign up here). Our book adaptation is digitally aware, and we aggrandize the agreeable we’re presenting on the folio to our belief online, abacus added photos, audio, video, and ability links. Like abounding publications, we now broadcast some of our belief aboriginal online, again giving the luxe and bent book treatments acceptable to the medium.
One of the best acceptable things about the Chronogram redesign for those of us who formed on it was that there was no acute need. We’re not downsizing, we’re not retrenching, we’re not abbreviating our belts for an ambiguous future. Our assignment is apprenticed by account to our readers, and the redesign is a way to accord our beholden admirers added of what it loves in a smarter and sleeker container. Highlighting what’s best and best alarming about the Hudson Valley has consistently been our ambition at Chronogram, and we brought that attitude to our assignment on its latest incarnation.
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