Breaking Down the New NY Times Mag

It's mostly good!

The New York Times Magazine has finally unveiled the full scale of its new look and content. Our (extremely early) assessment is that there’s plenty to like and just a few things that seem off.

As for the appearance, it’s a whole new ballgame. Times Mag editor Jake Silverstein charged his creative team with revamping everything. Art director Anton Loukhnevets altered page layouts; typographer Henrik Kubel created a slew of new fonts for the magazine; and designer Matthew Carter updated the Times Mag logo.

Inside the Times Mag there’s plenty of new content. Here’s the breakdown, plus our quick takes on each:

  • First Words. The opening essay will be penned by a rotating group of columnists — including Amanda Hess, Michael Pollan, Colson Whitehead and more — writing about language. [Eh, not sure about this. Language can be awfully dull.]
  • Search Results. A twice-monthly column on whatever’s hot on the Internet, written by Jenna Wortham. [Could be good, if you haven’t already read about it… On the Internet.]
  • Sunday Funny. A comic strip by Tom Gauld that will alternate with Search Results. [Sounds good to us.]
  • The Ons. Four columnists writing critical essays on photography, money, clothing, and nature. [Teju Cole is penning the photography essays, so we’re excited about this. The rest are equally intriguing.]
  • Poem. A weekly poem from Natasha Trethewey, the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014. [Swing and miss. This is not a good idea. A revamp should not include anything your grandfather enjoys. You’re trying to get people excited, not lull them to sleep.]
  • Letter of Recommendation. Each week a different writer will endorse anything that their heart desires. [This is our favorite new section. Looking forward to this.]
  • Lives. The new Lives column will shift from a primarily written article to an “as-told-to” section. It will also include a more diverse selection of Lives. [Another smart move. Lives is a great column, and expanding it is a logical next step.]
  • Puzzles. Three new puzzles are part of the new Times Mag. [Everyone loves puzzles, so yes, this is a welcome addition.]