On the road to a magazine redesign, covers get a jump-start



When contacted earlier this year by Publisher Fawn Lopez about redesigning Modern Healthcare magazine (a Crain Communications publication), one of her directives was: “I want to do something about the covers. I know we are about the business of healthcare, but the covers don’t have to be dry and boring – our content is great, and I know we can do better than we have been doing.”

This is a frequent comment from my clients, and I always encourage them not to wait until the relaunch to try to work on improvements. Such was the case at Modern Healthcare, where a new art director, Pat Fanelli, was appointed a few months before the relaunch, and started spreading her wings as you see here. These covers appeared in October, just before the relaunch (which, in terms of the covers, fundamentally just updated the masthead and promo styles you see in the lower right).

Business topics in general can be difficult to illustrate. Money? Documents? Ugh. Medical stories can be the same: Medical implements? Press conferences or mug shots of health care executives? Ugh ugh ugh. I discussed with Pat our shared desire to go more conceptual and dramatic, and here she executes two hot stories of the moment with aplomb.

  • On the left is a terrific solution to what is undeniably one of the top several stories of the year, the launch of Obamacare and its imperiled website. Thank you, Pat, for not showing someone sitting at a computer, frustrated with the sign-up process! (I know it would only have crossed your mind only to immediately discard into the scrap heap of visual cliches!) This is what I call a “type attack,” (see additional examples), though it has a bit of visual embellishment in the form of the “waiting” icon.
  • On the right is a great example of how a simple font can combine with a dramatic headline concept and powerful, contrasting colors to grab the reader’s attention. Love it.

Kudos to Pat,  Editor Merrill Goozner and the MH staff for moving the publication forward with great strides.

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