A Custom Typeface and More Diverse Voices
Bon Appétit magazine has been redesigned and rebranded. Behind the new identity is design studio MCKL , and Bon Appétit’s Creative Director Arsh Raziuddin, who came together to bring elegance to the brand — drawing inspiration from 50s & 60s cookbooks, the phototype era, apéritifs, and more. The team focused on “keeping the playfulness but stripping the noise.” The logo has been updated to feel more elegant and contemporary and a custom typeface named Aperitif has been created.
Explains MCKL founder Jeremy Mickel: “We started with the logo, and knew we would be making it a little smaller on the refreshed cover. We were inspired by Arsh Raziuddin and Bon Appétit’s Design Director, Caroline Newton’s iconic bold and image driven approach to cover design and the nostalgic wink of the 50s & 60s cookbook photography style. This made us think of the phototype era, which had a softness to the edges of everything, a pre-digital time before everything was pixel perfect. The type is slightly rounded, which gives the logo a warmer, more organic feel. We also wanted it to feel elegant and pretty, which is accomplished through the juxtaposition of high contrast strokes and fine details like the small ball terminals and flourishes like the subtly curved acute accent on the ‘e’.”
Mickel continues: “Inside the magazine, we took a similar approach to the custom typeface, appropriately named ‘Aperitif’. We wanted a custom font that would be versatile, expressive, and unmistakably Bon Appétit. While the logo is fairly wide, Aperitif is condensed and tightly spaced. We took inspiration from BA cookbooks from the 60s-70s, and the final versions of the fonts function as a survey of the greatest hits of the ITC and Photolettering catalogs. We’ve envisioned it as a large family with a range of widths and weights. There’s a bit of ITC Garamond, Caslon Graphique, and in the extreme weights it even goes American Typewriter (monoline and technical) and Souvenir (super rounded and chunky). An Aperitif is served at the beginning of the meal — and we think the new logo and typeface are symbolic of a new era and vision at Bon Appétit.”
The branding had another goal as well. Back in 2020, Bon Appetit was accused of being a closed and toxic workplace where stories of diverse cultures were killed and people of color were treated as “second class employees.” Editor in Chief Dawn Davis, who took the helm two years ago, was tasked with restoring confidence in the tarnished name by modernizing it, welcoming diverse voices and perspectives, and serving the audience in a holistic way. Thus, in addition to the aesthetic changes, the relaunch is embracing a commitment to equity – including a highly diverse group of illustrators and photographers that more accurately reflect the audience and expanded culture-focused content, which is now shared across multiple channels.