Friday, February 27, 2009

How Much Is Esquire Worth?

Sometimes you can't give your money away, at least not to magazines.

After picking up the February issue of Esquire because -- like everyone else who picked it up -- I liked the bold Obama cover, I saw the blow-in subscription card that featured an extremely inexpensive offer. One year (12 issues) of Esquire for six whole dollars. I figured if I buy just two issues of the magazine a year at the cover price of $3.99, the subscription would more than pay for itself. Then I noticed that I could get two years for $11 -- obviously, the math was even better. So I sent in the card, asking them to bill me.

All well and good. This week, then, I received my invoice. As I was preparing to fill out the form and include my check for a measely $11, I noticed a checkbox:

"Double My Savings! Send me an additional 24 issues for just $11.00 more."

Naturally, I figured the math was still on my side, so I was all set to take advantage of 48 issues of this odd little magazine when I saw another option on the invoice: For faster service, it promised, I could pay online, and it gave me the URL.

So I went. But after typing in my credit card info, the next screen did not give me an option to subscribe for 48 issues; I had to settle for just 24.

Now, I still got an incredible deal. I'm not complaining. I'll get each copy at just 45.83 cents. Think about that: The very first issue of the magazine, way back in 1933 (see photo), had a cover price of 50 cents, and that was before decades of inflation. And if I'd gotten four years on my subscription instead of two, the per-copy price would have been exactly the same as the 45.83 cents that I am getting.

But I wouldn't have the out after two years, which I in fact exercised the last time I did a two-year stint as an Esquire subscriber. (I have a love-dislike relationship with the mag.) Even if I had renewed, the mag would still have to pay to send out renewal alerts and reminders.

So why offer one deal on the printed invoice, then not have that deal available on the online payment system to which the invoice directs me?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Condé Nast Hit Hard

The usually high-flying Condé Nast publishing empire has hit some severe turbulence as its stable of luxury goods advertisers cuts back on spending, reports the New York Post's Keith J. Kelly. With Portfolio and Wired both down about 60 percent in advertising (the industry norm lately is much less), things are serious.

Quoting publishing people who say Condé's "overstaffed and overpaid," Kelly notes, " Much of the problem rests with Condé's policy of never discounting off the rate card.'Advertisers are finding that they can buy around them,' said [a] former executive."

It is, of course, pretty easy to change a policy about rate card negotiation -- assuming there's not a big mental block on the matter among the company's leaders. But serious economic times have a way of changing things.

San Francisco Soon to Be Chronicle-free?

The word today is that Hearst may sell or close the San Francisco Chronicle if it can't drastically cut costs over the next few weeks. So discussion among the media set is that San Francisco could become the first major U.S. city without a real daily paper.

But essentially that's what we've got. Whether the paper goes through a Sam Zell-like shrinking in stature and status, or it closes up shop altogether, the show's over. The amount of staff reduction would have to be so large (up to 47 percent, according to Newsosaur) that the paper that would remain would be a shell of its current self. Which ain't exactly a grand paper to begin with.

The "city without a paper" isn't quite true, of course. SF has the Examiner, a small daily that is distributed free. It is not a paper to revive one's faith in journalism. There are also free dailies down the peninsula, as well as free weeklies and a slew of online news and opinion sources.

What we might get -- and a tip of the hat to my Commonwealth Club news intern, Steve Tavares, here -- is a multiplicity of small, localized news publications, in print and online. The good news is that it would multiply the voices represented, as well as give dedicated reporting for certain locales that aren't adequately covered by the giant newspapers we've all grown up with. But I think the downside is that we'll lose those deep pockets of the news giants, the huge budgets that allowed them to do long-term investigative reporting, to take on controversial subjects and withstand the backlash, and to enforce standards of professional conduct.

Show's over. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Penton Experience: More Cuts

Today, Folio: reports that Penton has laid off more employees.

I've been there (literally and figuratively), having been laid off by Penton Media when it shuttered the U.S. edition of its Internet World print magazine, so my sympathies to those who just lost their jobs. When I worked there in 2000-2003, the company was public. Going through an economic crisis at a public company can be very brutal, for pretty much every quarter, the company has to offer up human sacrifices to show Wall Street that it Understands the Seriousness of the Situation. Now, Penton is a privately held company. I hope future quarters don't bring further bad news from there.

Magazines Online: Starlog Spins a New Web

After several months of absence from the World Wide Web, Starlog magazine has returned with a new site, and a welcome sight it is.

It's clearly built on the template used for the new site of its sister publication, Fangoria. But what it lacks in originality it makes up for with some smart content, such as weekly lists of comics available at comics shops (keeping alive its claim to the Comics Scene name and brand), or reports on the Academy Awards. As they build up the site -- I hope, adding blogs, podcasts, and much more -- it will definitely bear watching.

Starlog as a brand has to rebuild its online presence, having slipped way off the first page of Google search results (instead, you may learn that there's a phone system called Starlog). But every journey begins with one step, and I think they've made a good one.

One question: With the recent change in its logo, why does the new site use its old, classic logo? A mistake? A place-holder? Or are they switching back?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Playboy for Sale? Not so Fast

So I was correct in suspecting it was just a "since you asked" response and not a move to begin bidding. The Washington Post reports that the company says, well, it's always open to acquisition interest; just nothing's been enough to interest them yet.

Personally, I hope they don't sell, or at least don't sell to the typical MBA-run brand maximization and strategic planning emulsifier (I ran out of business jargon words) who would just as easily turn the magazine into a pornographic rag as turn it into a copy of Esquire. I think Playboy the magazine is on the right track these past few years, and if the new editor's stated desires are followed through, then it'll continue to be a magazine to be proud of.

The Post article notes that people hoping for big change were heartened by the recent exit of CEO Christie Hefner, but now the big "obstacle" that remains is founder/editor Hugh Hefner. (Audio of Christie Hefner addressing The Commonwealth Club.)

Frankly, I'd put more store in the decisions of the man who created a miracle magazine and expanded it into a worldwide brand and movement and symbol of quality than I would trust the trading-desk opinions of some business geek who sees this as another company that can be bought and flipped or torn apart and sold for scrap. But then, I'm a magazine person, so my bias is obvious.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Distribution Denouement? Time and Source Interlink Shake Hands

Time Inc. and distributor Source Interlink capped their high-stakes confrontation about distribution and pricing by inking a new multi-year deal. Folio: reports that Time will not have to pay the 7-cents per-copy surcharge Source had put forward recently.
So America will get its Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions. But I still think it's all whistling in the dark for periodicals distributors.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


So, as magazines close shop, lay off and scale back, perhaps it's a good time to think ahead to the golden years. The years of plenty, surplus, of rebound and growth and unicorns and elves. Whatever.
So what will the promised land look like? This world where we've gone through a brutal shaking-out of the publishing industry. Who will survive? Who will still put words to paper (and to pixels)? Who will be reaching millions of readers with ideas and art and entertainment?
We can make some safe assumptions. Some of you won't be there. If you work at a big magazine with giant expense accounts, huge budgets for photo shoots, people who bring snacks around on a tray -- get used to living like the rest of us. Figure out how to do a photo shoot with the office digital camera. Go get your own damn twinkie for a mid-afternoon snack. If you work for a small business-to-business magazine or association magazine, you already know what it's like to do the work of three people. Keep it up.
Maybe the future will hold personal helicopters and teleportation. Seriously. I'm a geek. I like that stuff. It could happen. Perhaps the magical elves and pixies will bring you coffee in the afternoon and you can use your newtype powers (and you get viel extra points if you knew the reference without clicking through to the Wikipedia definition -- I said I'm a geek) to conjure up story ideas and limousine rides to the publishing awards dinner. Maybe.
But I seriously think the next couple years will involve a lot of pain and re-evaluation by publishers. The folks who are still around will be either very perceptive and smart or very stupid. I always prefer the smart people. But money doesn't always follow smart (how else do you explain Maxim?). How can you survive? How can you launch and expand a publication in this new world?
Jokes aside, I think it's possible and I want to be one of the folks who's still standing, still publishing and still commenting on the editorial world several years from now. So watch this blog for further postings on this topic, and share your thoughts.
There will be magazines in the future. Will you be part of it?

Vanity Fair Gives up in Germany

Vanity Fair launched its German edition in February 2007 to much fanfare. The weekly (as opposed to the monthly VF in the U.S.) magazine drew about 200,000 in circulation, but that wasn't enough -- certainly not in these awful economic times. Vanity Fair is closing its German edition and shutting its offices there, according to English-language German news site The Local.
What's important here is a note in the article that a Conde Nast executive "had said as late as December ... that the fashion and lifestyle magazine with a weekly circulation of 200,000 would power through the global economy crisis."
Yep. Things are moving that fast. Even in December, it was clear to anybody who was really paying attention that we're in no ordinary recession and that it was going to be long and ugly. So in December, Conde Nast thought its German edition could squeak through; now they're throwing in the towel.
That means this is very bad. Is anyone still an optimist?

Playboy for Sale?

No, this isn't a Playboy-focused blog, though it may seem like it lately. Just a lot of HefCo-related news these days.
That includes this whopper. Everybody's reporting awful news in the magazine industry, so the fact that Playboy reported a very bad quarter ($156.1 million) isn't a surprise. What was surprising was the comment that the company would consider a sale and/or a big change in its flagship magazine. According to Reuters, "The company, which posted a net loss in each quarter of 2008, also said it would be open to discussions about an outright sale of the company, or changes in the strategic direction of the flagship Playboy Magazine."
Okay, Folio: says the sale option was announced in response to a question from someone on the conference call with the company's CEO, Jerome Kern. So it isn't quite like they raised the for-sale flag on their own. But it's a sign that nothing seems to be off the table.
Just when I thought they were on the right track with the mag. This recession is getting vurry, vurry ugly.
I could have much fun, being a big magazine geek, expounding on what I'd do if I could buy Playboy Enterprises, but I'll hold back. For now. Wait until a rainy day with no other magazine news to report.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oh, Spare Us the Justification

Sigh. Almost every time a newspaper or magazine does a story on Playboy and/or its editor/founder Hugh Hefner, the writer seems to feel required (by snarky editors? by their own internal anxiety about sexuality? by something else?) to play judge and jury about his lifestyle, and also to issue their half-baked verdicts on his company's future.
So was the case with a new article on Hefner by the Houston Chronicle's Louis B. Parks. Before we can get to the heart of his interview with the 82-year-old editor, we're treated to a smackdown: "Hugh Hefner's once-mighty empire is battered and struggling for relevance. His longtime stature as America's premier self-made hedonist borders on self-inflicted caricature. Playboy magazine and the Playboy brand no longer boast the great wealth, influence and cachet they once enjoyed."
We get more of the same later on, with Parks first telling us that Hefner and Playboy have lost their relevance, then telling us (without apparent acknowledgment of the contradiction) about their continued relevance. A new Playboy Club, a hit TV reality series -- and he didn't even mention a flourishing international publishing empire, a flourishing international brand licensing operation, and much more.
Yes, we know the circulation has dropped from its unsustainable highs in the 1970s. Yes, we know advertisers have been scarce. Yes, we know many people disapprove of Hefner's ideas and his lifestyle.
But would it kill the writers to note the decline of most other big, mainstream magazines? How many times has Life magazine died, been reborn, been re-died, and been reborn only to die again? Didn't Newsweek just lop off 1 million (!) in circulation from its rate base? And didn't the Reagan administration under that noted intellectual, Edwin Meese, wage a well-publicized campaign with the Religious Right to go after Playboy's advertisers and distributors?
It doesn't mean that the writer has to agree with Hefner or like his magazine and media empire. But putting things into context would increase the reader's faith in the writer's understanding of the topic and would deliver an article that has actual worth.

Ads? We Don't Need No Stinking Ads

Oh, to only lose 20 percent of your ads, what a glory that would be! Such must be the thoughts of more than a few publishers, as they reviewed how their magazine's ad pages stacked up against the rest of the industry. Executive summary: It was a very bad quarter.
Magazine industry publication Min Online reports the results of its survey for the first quarter of 2009, and the carnage is widespread (year-to-date 2009 vs. 2008):

Architectural Digest
: -46.91
Atlantic Monthly: -18.14
Blender: -60.76
Conde Nast Portfolio: -59.79
Esquire: -25.21
Smithsonian: -32.91
Wired: -56.78

Read the complete results.
There were some gainers, including Successful Farming (up 9.47), Sports Illustrated Kids (29.65), and Family Circle (5.42). But the red ink definitely dominated the scoresheet.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter, the world's greatest food (or food ingredient; depends on how picky you are), is being pulled off store shelves around the country.
Sure, this country trashed the world economic system, gutted the Constitution, waged (poorly) two foreign wars (one of them on questionable grounds), and debased our political discussion. But peanut butter ... that, sir, is too much!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Magazine Distribution Chaos Continues

The lawsuit by magazine distributor Source Interlink against competing distributors and major publishers has passed its first hurdle. A judge granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting the defendants from withholding their magazines from Source's pipeline, according to Folio:. Source claims the defendants were trying to force it to sell itself at bargain prices to competitors; the whole brouhaha follows a failed attempt by Source and other distributors to raise the fees they receive for distributing the magazines.
Now, whether there was actual collusion going on or whether Source is just playing hardball with the industry, I don't know. That will, with luck, be decided fairly by the courts. But I think this is pointing up the reality that the economic and technological changes we've gone through are less a challenge to publishers (which it is, just relatively speaking here) than to distributors.
I've written before that technology is already doing an end-run around print distribution and its costly model. Print publications can still survive; but they'll be getting their wares to the subscriber or the newsstand seller electronically rather than through delivery trucks and over-printing. (Similar things are happening to movie theaters receiving films to play.)
If Source Interlink wins, its victory might be a useless one in the end.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Magazine Views: Making Good Plans

One of the two oddest moves that Playboy magazine made a decade ago was moving its main editorial office from Chicago to New York when it hired new Editorial Director James Kaminsky. (The other oddest move was hiring James Kaminsky.) The magazine undid one of those moves after a couple years, replacing Kaminsky with Christopher Napolitano. Now, in the midst of an economic downturn that's savaging pretty much every business in every country in the world, Playboy Enterprises is undoing the other move and is moving its offices back to Chicago.
That's a good move. There are too many national magazines that are published out of Gotham, and they tend to take on a similar world view and become less distinctive in the process.
In the process, they're making another change that gives one pause. Napolitano won't be making the trip, reportedly because of family commitments in NYC, but he will be staying on as editor-at-large. One never knows how long those "editor-at-large" gigs last; they're often a way to give someone a place to hang their hat until they find another job. But whatever it is, Napolitano has done a fine job as editorial director for the past six or so years, so one wishes him well.
But the eyebrow-raising move is the handover of the editorial director's title to Jimmy Jellinek, who has been heading up the magazine's digital content and will now oversee both print and online. That combo is being seen elsewhere, too. The question is whether Jellinek -- like Kaminsky, a veteran of crude-boy title Maxim -- is right for Playboy. Forbes raises questions about that, noting his past statements and actions that are more suited to a college humor magazine than a magazine that has housed John Updike and William F. Buckley.

But I'm heartened by Jellinek's stated intention with the magazine. As Forbes reports:
What he plans, he says, is "a return to our golden age," producing a magazine like "the Playboy of the 1960s, which occupied the political and moral high ground." There will be more columnists and the same classic interviews with leading thinkers like economist Paul Krugman, whose interview will appear in a upcoming issue.
Jellinek says his competition is not adult magazines or online porn but the New Yorker and Vanity Fair. "We want to be a magazine of ideas that leads the national conversation."

He's got the right aim, if that's his target. I'd bet that the vast majority of Americans who know anything about Ayn Rand or Sarte can attribute that familiarity to interviews the two thinkers gave to Playboy in the 1960s. A mix of fun and thought -- that's a great combination, and it gives one reason to expect a lively magazine and web site even in these brutal economic times.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Improve the World with Cooler Postage Stamps

This has only tangential relationship to the magazine industry, which is the main focus of this blog. Nonetheless: I ordered some back issues of magazines from Germany, and they arrived wonderfully packaged and with some truly beautiful stamps on them. I'm not a stamp collector, but I thought these stamps were quite interesting, so I'm posting them here. Enjoy.

A Bad Day for Magazines

Magazines that rely on newsstand sales received some pretty depressing news today. Some industries might have leaders who can ignore the news when they want, but from my experience, magazine publishers and editors tend to be news hounds who avidly follow goings-on.
Newsstand sales (single-copy sales) fell by 11 percent in the second half of 2008, reports Reuters. Particularly hard hit were women's and celebrity magazines, such as Life & Style and Us Weekly. (Those magazines apparently didn't learn the lesson to put Barack Obama on the cover as often as possible to boost sales.) Richard Perez-Pena, writing in The New York Times, notes:

In the crowded field of celebrity magazines, In Touch Weekly’s circulation tumbled 29.3 percent, to 899,000, and Life & Style Weekly fell 30.7 percent, to 472,000. Star magazine fell 10.3 percent, to 1.2 million, and the National Enquirer dropped 11.2 percent, to 891,000. OK! Weekly fared better, slipping 2.7 percent, to 910,000.
But sales of People, which only loosely fits the celebrity category, increased 2 percent, to almost 3.7 million, and even single-copy sales rose slightly. Its nearest competitor, Us Weekly, dropped 1.3 percent, to 1.9 million, despite a drop of more than 200,000 in single-copy sales.

News weeklies also were hard hit, but as Perez-Pena notes, some magazines did well. The Economist, The Week, People, and Domino all recorded gains (though Domino was closed in January).

But the bad news doesn't end there. Magazines have been in a death-match squabble with newsstand distribution companies as the distributors have tried to increase the money they get from publishers. And now they've taken their squabble to the American Thunderdome: the courts. Source Interlink, which tried to charge an extra 7 cents per copy to publishers (an action that sparked a revolt among publishers), has given up on the 7-cent extra charge but has decided to sue some distribution competitors and a number of publishers for allegedly conspiring against it; those being sued include Time Inc, Bauer Publications (the folks who bring you -- a dwindling number of you, apparently -- Life & Style and In Touch Weekly), and more.
Who will win? Will anybody win? Will 25-year-old straight guys get their copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition? Only time (and probably Time Inc.) will tell.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Galactic Flip-Flopper on Pluto?

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke at The Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco last night. Following his very entertaining and enlightening discussion of the debate he himself sparked over whether Pluto should be classified as a planet, Tyson was asked by moderator Brian Hackney about a previous book of Tyson's in which he seemed to take the opposite view of Pluto, a view that would have saved him a lot of hate mail from third-graders.
This was a return engagement by Tyson at The Commonwealth Club. As always, he was brilliant, funny, friendly.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Magazine News: Sit Down and Shut Up

The biggest mistake made by people who think magazines should be more like online products is that the things that make a magazine work as a media form do not work well online. The biggest mistake magazine publishers and editors make in responding to the online critics is trying to continue doing in print what works better online, instead of focusing on the strength of a print publication.
In short, no print publication can compete with online sources for immediacy of news and opinion. When big news happens, I don't wait a week for The Economist or Time to report it; I am reading the news on the web sites of The New York Times or Time or CBS News.
But, when I want depth -- either detail and background on a serious issue, or just the detail and style that an in-depth feature article can bring to an issue, serious or entertaining -- then I prefer to read it in a magazine. I want to lie down on the couch or put my feet up on my desk while I read it and think about it.
John Loughlin, executive vice president and general manager of Hearst Magazines, said as much in a speech to Primex 2009 magazine conference. He called magazines a "lean-back" experience, reports Folio:.
Exactly. I'll gladly read short pieces online -- on a web page or in an e-mail newsletter. But for longer pieces, I want to spare my eyes from staring at a bright screen, and I also want the visual experience designed for me by the magazine's staff of professionals.
So, glad to see Loughlin recognizes the strengths. My greater worry is that there are so many people who don't realize what they're losing by not reading a 10,000-word article and instead reading a 600-word summary. I think that the great tragedy of the decline in newspapers is that the papers no longer have the cash to retain expensive investigative reporting teams and publish pages of background and detail. When news becomes bullet points and generalizations, then it's not much different from opinion. We're missing both the hard news and the enjoyment of long-form journalism.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Free Commonwealth Club podcasts

Podtrac Player

Click on the button above to get a feed of all available programs from The Commonwealth Club of California's famous podcast of speakers. A new window will popup (do you have a popup blocker?) with the list.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Obama Cat

Put my li'l cat through the Obama-izer, and out came this.
I'd vote for that cat!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Changing Logos: Why They Do It

Why do magazines change their logos? Logos are their calling card, whether on newsstands or just when the magazine plops on a subscriber's desk or is dropped into their mailbox. Unless the logo is a disaster, should it be changed?

Some magazines like to change their logos. See my earlier postings on Out, Starlog, Fangoria, Männer Aktuell, Fantastic Films, The New Republic, National Lampoon, and Fortune.

Some magazines do not change their logos. Heavy Metal, for example. Or Der Spiegel.
Other magazines have not changed them so much as tweaked them, altering the size or spacing of the letters. Playboy, for example (see photos). Time, for another. Or National Review.

What must go through the minds of a magazine's managers to make them change a logo in which they've invested years and dollars worth of promotion and goodwill? Is the publication flagging? Is newsstand competition heating up? Are they reacting to new developments in the logos of other publications? Are they just trying to make a change for change's sake? Have they lost their minds?
I've already said what I think about the change in Starlog's logo. But I've been through the process twice before on magazines for which I worked, having seen one magazine change its logo from a distinctive design to a fairly boring one. More recently, I had the pleasure on my own magazine of changing a nice-looking logo (that was difficult to make visible on many cover images) to a bolder text that has cleaned up our covers immeasurably.
In the latter case, we had to worry about what our readers would think, but we heard no complaints. So it was a good change. But what, for example goes through the minds of people who change a logo that's been in use for three decades?
"If it ain't broken, don't fix it" is generally a good rule. But when a magazine changes its long-standing logo, it should keep in mind and try to balance its need to be fresh and interesting to its readers (the new ones and the old ones) with its need to be familiar and communicate its quality (and qualities) through its established trademarks.

And, of course, publishers do sometimes make a change – and then change back. Warren's Creepy magazine did it. National Lampoon did it. Will Starlog do it? Should it?
What do you think?

Changing logos #8: Starlog

Starlog, the magazine that has covered science fiction films, television, books, games, and live attractions since 1976, recently changed its logo design for the first time. A brave move, considering the long-lasting status of its original design.

Though I prefer the original, the new design does have some strengths, such as stretching all the way across the cover (the original design in the late 1980s shrank to the center of the magazine's top to allow for more cover promotion of inside articles) and the box around the logo, which allows it to stand out against vairably colored background images.

Changing logos #7: Fangoria

Fangoria magazine, which has covered the world of horror films, books, television, and games for about 30 years, recently unveiled the next iteration of its logo (see bottom). It coincides with doing away with the filmstrip that ran across the left-hand side of the magazine for several decades.

In all of its versions, Fangoria's covers have remained colorful and attention-grabbing, but I was always more of a fan of its original version (see "The Shining" cover). But the newest version is an evolution of the previous one, and I think it works quite well.

Changing logos #6: Männer Aktuell

M or Männer Aktuell is a German gay magazine that not only changes its logo every five or 10 years, but it changes the entire magazine's design, tone, and focus.

Changing logos #5: National Lampoon

National Lampoon, the humor magazine that ruled the newsstands during the 1970s but died away during the late 1980s and 1990s, changed its logo from the soft-edged original version to a more modern-looking one, but it eventually changed back to its original.

Changing Logos #4: Out

Out magazine has changed its logo a number of times during its life. The gay lifestyle and personality magazine benefits from a nice, short name, which makes it easier to do all kinds of logo treatments – though I can't claim to like the space-out, chunky logo of the Melissa Ethridge cover.

None of the logos are exactly attention-grabbers, but then, when you're putting a speedo-clad hunk on the cover, who cares what the logo looks like?

Changing Logos #3: The New Republic

The New Republic has changed its logo many, many, many times, and none of them seem to work. Though this was my bible during the 1980s, I must say, design has not been its friend.
Strangely enough, the latest version (with President Obama photo, bottom) is the worst of all, seemingly lost against almost any cover illustration or photo. It looks desktop-published and cheap.

Changing Logos #2: Fortune

Fortune magazine has changed its logo many times, and the changes have been complete -- no simple evolution here. Not all of the logos are represented here, such as the one-letter-per-box version that I remember when I was in high school in the 1980s. Anyway, their readers are billionaires and I'm not, so what do I know?

Changing Logos #1: Fantastic Films

Fantastic Films, a magazine published out of Evanston, Illinois, from 1978 to the mid-1980s, changed its logo three times. It went from the logo shrinking in size as it went across the cover (ugh) to the logo that focused on "Fantastic" (probably best) to the nondescript logo that ran for the magazine's final few issues before it closed up shop. (The publishers continue to publish the well-regarded Filmfax magazine.)