Mother Jones 40th Anniversary Redesign Is Inside Job


To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Mother Jones decided to redesign the print and online products inhouse. The editors explain: “These days when a magazine overhauls its look, the process normally works something like this: A new editor or creative director walks in, decides whatever came before was crap, hires an outside design firm or three, commissions a custom typeface or maybe 10, gets a team of web designers and app developers to translate that vision to the digital space, and lines up some celebrity buzz, and many, many months later, voilà! A redesign is born.


“We did pretty much the opposite. First, except for the inspirational input of Luke Shuman, who helped our brilliant creative director, Ivylise Simones, design our new logo, we did this all in-house. We did it with the resources at hand. We did it in a few all-too-short months, amid our already awesomely hectic jobs. And, though we are over the moon about the new look for both the magazine and the site you are now on, we reverse-engineered the typical process, beginning with article pages on our mobile site and working back up the food chain, as it were, to the home page of and then on to the print magazine. We did it that way, in part, because for far too long these three ‘products’ looked nothing like each other; they’d each grown uniquely fusty. And we did it that way because every month 9 million people read our journalism — multiple new stories each day — via their desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones…

“We are also obsessed with our new favorite color, orange. We’ve used it to make links and other text easier for you to spot. And we are thrilled to be using a new display font called Mallory, from the Frere-Jones Type studio, that, in the words of the designers, ‘was built to be a reliable tool, readily pairing with other typefaces to organize complex data and fine-tune visual identities.’ Our body font is Calluna.”