What a Difference a Font Makes!

The magazine industry is under attack. While magazines, newspapers and other print periodicals were once a top means of entertainment in the United States, they have suffered massive losses as free entertainment on the internet has become the main way of passing time and getting information. Magazines all over the United States are responding by focusing on branding, developing new formats and new logo designs for their publications.

House Beautiful is the latest example of this trend. The magazine has traditionally used a rather simple logotype as a logo design. The type was tall and thin but rather plain, probably to prevent any stylistic clashes with the variety of homes and rooms published on the cover. The writing was published in colors that accented the cover to draw in reader interest at newsstands. This flexible color scheme will continue, but the font is changing as of this month’s issue. The writing has been pushed closer together and given curvy details that create a more distinctive feeling.

House Beautiful released a statement saying that the company feels its new logo is more youthful and feminine while also easier to read. However, I find it a little more difficult to read. Pushing the words together gives the text logo design a crowded feeling—like a cluttered room. The terminals definitely add interest and a youthful feeling, but they are almost girly. The fact that the terminals are placed only on certain letters keeps the logo from feeling too frilly, but it also makes them feel a little forced, especially in the word ‘House’. Putting the fancy detailing on the capital letters would probably resolve this issue.

One of the things that I really like about this logo design is that it has a general vintage feeling. However, it will still work well with a more modern cover because it has not gone full-on retro. It gives the magazine a more definite brand without limiting the editorial content. In short, while this logo definitely has a few issues, it is definitely an improvement and a much-needed update as well. The logo adds personality, while most magazine logo updates seem to be instead stripping it away.

The core problem in designing a magazine logo is that the magazine needs to appear to offer value. Americans are not afraid to pay for information, even if it is available for free, but the periodical needs to present a brand worth paying for. This logo design seems up to the task of building a House Beautiful brand among young home owners.

With seven million readers, House Beautiful is one of the most successful American home décor magazines and also the longest continuously published name in its genre. However, even the most established business (or magazine) needs an occasional brand update. This new logo design adds character while maintaining simplicity and flexibility, which makes it a winner. It is a great design that is well-executed and will be instrumental in building a larger readership.