Monday, March 17, 2008

bon appétit

how do you get foodies in a tizzy? redesign bon appétit, that's how.


some comments swirling around out there:

quotes from readers at chowhound

"I'm not crazy about the layouts, and I've never liked mixing serif and sans serif typefaces, which the new BA does relentlessly."

"The bottom line is, I just plain hate it. As I was reading (or trying to read) the Febuary issue, I thought to myself, this magazine has been Rachel Rayed..."

"Their new logo looks like "Microsoft 1992". The graphic artist that created it must have been trapped in time at some Starbucks with WiFi access."

from readers at al dente:
"The new masthead is now in a lowercased font (shocking!), and this crosses over into the inside too, where titles of articles and recipes are also lowercased. The inside of the magazine also seems to have a bit of a personality disorder, with different fonts employed in different areas."

"Does the general public care about fonts and lowercasing? Did you even notice?"

"I am not a fan of the "new look". I agree with the previous comment: the old version of the magazine was classy and looked like a magazine for the serious cook.
Not so with the new look, it suffers from, well, just being sheer ugly."

In addition to the issues with redesign, many readers are complaining that it is jumping on the Food Network band wagon of dumbing everything down. I know Patrick feels that way about the Food Network. Don't mention Rachel Ray at our house, please... I'll have to find out his opinion about magazine trends too.


Alannah said...

I'm really glad you posted this because, as a longtime subscriber to Bon Appetit (or should I now write "bon appetit?"), I noticed the new layout right away and was immediately put off.

Some of the new changes might be construed as "dumbing down" but they could also be seen as "instructive" a la Cook's Illustrated. I kind of like how they had illustrated instructions on how to core an artichoke this month, for instance. One thing I do NOT like is the big focus on kitchen redesign. Can we please keep it about food? Leave the kitchen redesign stuff to House Beautiful or Home and Garden or something.

Anonymous said...

I don't like it very much; I like the focus on food, something to make me salivate. The cover is much too busy--text everywhere. We want food.

marty said...

i think with the redesign there is bigger difference seen between what you get at the news stand and what you get if you are a subscriber. we subscribe, so our new cover is only the cupcake tower and the title — no text on the sides. in that state, it's actually pretty and the focus remains on food. the news stand version though is way too cluttered.

i'm wondering if peoples "dumbing down" commentary is about the instructions or about the commercial feel? i like the instructions too, alannah.

gretchen Rinnert said...

i am so rachel-raying my next potluck. Patrick will roar. it might be funny. i can do a dish that jumps from serif to san serif...he've seen me cook!

kelly said...

i was intrigued that none of the feedback mentioned the audience. i wonder who the redesign is targeted to? i wonder what segment of their readership they are catering too (or trying to grow) and which they have offered to sacrifice (or assumed would stay regardless)? a critique of the product should consider the goals. right? and from the looks of it, the visually savvy give it a thumbs down. i wonder how that compares with the design goals …

kelly said...

… finishing my comment. (hit send too soon) if the segment they were reaching out to was the same as the suburban middle class cook ready to step up dinner to DIY fancy and that same person watches Rachel Ray and loves the "anyone can cook" mentality, they may have hit their mark.


Anonymous said...

don't let pork mention rachel-ray-hating at kevin's house...