CR redesigned

The June issue of Creative Review launches a comprehensive redesign of the printed magazine, complete with new sections, typography and grid designed by CR’s Art Director Paul Pensom and editorial expert Stephen Petch. Here, we explain the redesign and how it complements our new direction

The new-look CR replaces a design that has been in use since March 2010, when the magazine was redesigned for its 30th birthday by our Art Director, Paul Pensom.

Headline styles
Headline styles

Much has changed since then. Over a year ago, we introduced a monthly theme for each issue, allowing us to explore creativity in our chosen sector in depth. From this issue, we introduce our new Creative Leaders section, aimed at anyone leading a creative team or organisation or who aspires to do so. Creative Leaders will explore all the most important aspects of running creative organisations, from establishing the right culture, to finding the right creative process and managing talent.

We launch it with the Creative Leaders 50, a list of 50 individuals working in the UK from across the creative industries who we believe are driving creativity forward.

Section development from the new template
Section development from the new template

Six years ago, Pensom worked with Paul Barnes of Commercial Type on Creative Review’s typography, bringing in Theinhardt and Lyon as our main body faces, while introducing Barnes’ then-new Dala Floda for headlines. For our new design, Pensom again consulted Barnes and Robert Holmkvist of Essen International.

Pensom also worked with experienced editorial designer Stephen Petch to design first a dummy issue, and then the relaunch edition, for which Petch also created a new icon set to be used across both print and digital platforms. Petch worked with Pensom to build the templates using Grid Calculator Pro, a powerful InDesign plug-in created by Stockholm-based designer and typographer, Abraham Georges of Designers Bookshop. This very useful piece of technology automates much of what would otherwise have to be calculated manually.

For the type, Barnes supplied us with Portrait, a characterful serif family designed by Berton Hasebe, which marries classical proportions with triangular serifs. Hasebe has also designed a set of arrows and dingbats, exclusively for CR. Paul Barnes’ own distinctive Marr Sans was then brought in as the sans serif family used throughout the magazine. Graphs will be created using FF Chartwell, a remarkable Monotype font from Travis Kochel, which utilises the power of OpenType to render countless graphs and tables.

Section development from the new template
Feature development from the new template

For the headline typeface, Pensom consulted with typographer Robert Holmkvist, who had formerly created type for the likes of Spin, Moving Brands and DesignStudio and who is now the Creative Director at Essen
International. Pensom outlined his love of classic 1960s and 70s editorial typography, in use in publications such as Nova, Town and Willy Fleckhaus’s Twen, and asked if Holmkvist might like to create a headline family for CR inspired by Twen’s Schmalfette. This became the starting point for our new typeface, Schear Grotesk.

Schmalfette Grotesk, the original inspiration for our new display face Schear Grotesk, is shown bottom left. The typeface development is shown from left to right, with the original iteration left, a midpoint beta in the centre, and the final family of regular, medium, semi bold, bold and black, shown right.
Schmalfette Grotesk, the original inspiration for our new display face Schear Grotesk, is shown bottom left. The typeface development is shown from left to right, with the original iteration left, a midpoint beta in the centre, and the final family of regular, medium, semi bold, bold and black, shown right.

“The Twen face’s strengths – a tight, bold, graphic font – felt perfect as a typographic voice for Creative Review,” says Holmkvist. “The very first draft I made was a straight digitalisation of Schmalfette; one weight, but with added lowercase. This felt too much of a revival though, so we subsequently spent a lot of time developing the typeface’s unique voice and look,” he adds. “With the final five weights, each one works standalone as well as part of a family.” Holmkvist also drew our new logo, based on his characters for Schear.

With the font set complete, Pensom and Petch created a dummy issue, then started work on the magazine’s templates with Petch, who is a hugely experienced editorial designer and has art directed at Time Out, The Times and The Independent, where he was part of the team responsible for the much lauded redesign in 2015.

Willem Sandberg review by Rick Poynor, CR June issue
Willem Sandberg review by Rick Poynor, CR June issue
Federico Gaggio discusses what it takes to be a creative leader in our new section
Federico Gaggio discusses what it takes to be a creative leader in our new section
From our Creative Leaders 50 section
From our Creative Leaders 50 section

Our new Creative Leaders initiative is also introduced in the June 2016 issue, out now. Order your copy here

For more from Robert Holmkvist and Stephen Petch see esseninternational.com and stephenpetch.co.uk


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