Inside The Wire’s “anti-fashion” redesign

We speak to publisher Tony Herrington and new art director Guillaume Chuard about the magazine’s no-frills layout and visual identity

A spread showing The Wire's new magazine design. The cover image pictured shows the three members of The Necks in a white portrait studio
The Necks photographed for the cover of The Wire’s March issue by Lukas Wenninger and Henry Butterworth

Since it was founded in 1982, music magazine The Wire has established some traditions. One of them goes like this: any time a new art director takes the helm, they’re invited to redesign the entire publication. This time, after the art director of 14 years, Ben Weaver, handed the reins over to Guillaume Chuard, his successor had the extra task of rejigging the magazine to accommodate a smaller A4 format.

The decision to scale the magazine down to a smaller size was largely born out of the rising costs of printing the magazine. “Last year it went through the roof due to increasing energy prices and the cost of raw materials. We didn’t want to cut print runs and paginations,” explains publisher Tony Herrington. “So shifting the title from its outsize format to A4 was the best solution, as it would cut around 10–15% off the print bill.”

The new size meant that Chuard – who as co-founder of design consultancy Studio Ard previously helped to revamp Tate’s magazine, Tate Etc – would have to revise many elements of The Wire, including the masthead, grids, and typography choices. This is why Herrington believes it’s the magazine’s “most far-reaching redesign” in over 20 years. His description might seem jarring to some, given the magazine’s new look is almost brazenly toned down. But the new identity and art direction are a riposte to today’s music media outlets, according to Chuard.

A spread showing The Wire's new magazine design with a double page spread headlined 'Soundcheck A-Z'