Magazine redesign needs help

theobear's picture

My client is combing two magazines with 2 different sets of demographics. 20-40 women and 55+ They want to retain the lifestyle magazine look of the younger magazine, but bring in the older set. The font size was 9.5/13 Jansen which is obviously not going to work for the older set.

To add another challenge the format is going down from letter size to 6"x9"...

What text font would you recommend? I'm assuming I'll need to go with 11-12pt size. I'm thinking something with a narrow x width, to make up for lost real estate (maybe?)... but it needs to be readable.

I'm using whitney sidebars etc.

Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer!

Chris Dean's picture

What have you tried so far?

theobear's picture

I tend to always default to garamond, sabon or caslon for body text.

Chris Dean's picture

Have you tried anything else for this context specifically? I think we’ve determined that something than the afore mentioned would be appropriate.

I can empathize with your struggle;

Client: “Make it young and hip, but appealing to seniours. Modern, but traditional. Corporate, but humanistic. Square, but round…”

I would start by thinking about fonts with larger x-heights.

theobear's picture

I like the look of Skolar from TypeTogether but I wish there was a font vender that let you set a page of text instead of just one line.

hrant's picture

> I'm thinking something with a narrow x width, to make up for lost real estate

Narrowness doesn't necessarily result in economy, since paragraph
breaks waste much of the lateral savings; a wider font can be set
smaller and save space every line no matter the paragraph breaks.
So it depends on how "paragraphy" the writing is.

That said, I believe that narrowness is feminine and classy, which
fits both your demographic sets. But it can also be harder to read,
especially for older people...

To me it sounds like you need a somewhat narrow font that works
well around 12pt. And it might be good if it were a bit "expressive".

hhp

Aaron Thesing's picture

I can't recommend a certain typeface, but don't assume sizes. All faces are not equal at 9.5pts (Compare Utopia and Caslon.)

Also, maybe I'm just a young whippersnapper with relatively good vision, but I don't think the 55+ demographic has that much trouble with 9-10pt type. They've been reading that (or smaller) their entire life. Am I way off base on this?

(Have you seen the 'Download PDF' link on Type Together's Skolar page?)

JamesM's picture

> I don't think the 55+ demographic has that much
> trouble with 9-10pt type. They've been reading that
> (or smaller) their entire life.

As we get older, changes in the eye make it more difficult to focus on objects that are very close (like a magazine). That's why many folks start using reading glasses or bifocals when they reach middle age.

But even with proper glasses, reading for extended periods may be more tiring. And not all folks get proper glasses, due to vanity or cost or reluctance to see an eye doctor.

And among folks a little older than that, you can get cataracts, macular degeneration, and other medical problems that can make reading even more difficult.

If your magazine is aimed at 55+ folks, maybe around 11 point would be more comfortable. You might want to do some readability tests with folks in that age group.

Nick Shinn's picture

Aaron, Agnes was made for you.

Aaron Thesing's picture

Thank you James and Nick for that info. Admittedly, my understanding of readability can stand for more empathy.

Back to font suggestions, have you looked at Juliana?

hrant's picture

What we need is a font search engine based on
parameters like width, contrast, x-height, etc.

hhp

hrant's picture

I just remembered one of my old-time favorites that might work: Octavian.

hhp

theobear's picture

Juliana and Octavian both look intriguing. Neither of them have a bold... of course I wouldn't need it very often, but for those times when the editor insists...

Nick Shinn's picture

Aaron, I'm sure some fonts will be fine at 10 pt.
It's not that you don't have empathy, but the idea that because someone has been reading a certain setting all their life means they will have no problem with it at 55+, is wrong. The Agnes glasses would demonstrate that, I presume.

Why not produce a variety of settings in different fonts, set some sample pages, and conduct a focus group?

Chris Dean's picture

@theobear: I started a thread — Font vendor lets you set a page? — in response to your comment “…I wish there was a font vender that let you set a page of text instead of just one line.”

David Brezina's picture

Re Skolar: I would suggest to contact TypeTogether to get a temporary test license or use webfonts (e.g. Fontdeck allows you to use the fonts on your web before it goes public) to have the basic testing done.

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