For New York‘s Adam Moss, Good Things Come in Small Point Sizes

magnify.jpgWhat’s the secret to surviving in the rapidly shrinking world of print media? Very tiny type. New York magazine has taken to sprinkling its cover with ultrasmall headlines akin to those wee quotations that sneak their way onto the front of Vanity Fair. John Koblin, writing in this week’s New York Observer, describes the point size as “somewhere between the size of a grain of sugar and a grain of kosher salt.”

After the cover line, the rest is “garnish,” according to New York editor-in-chief Adam Moss, and readers’ palettes are far too sophisticated for the design equivalent of parsley:

“There’s a certain texturing,” he said. “Texturing? Is that a word? A texture object that has to do with the design of the cover. We have very large type and very small type. It’s impossible to describe graphic design, but you want to create a visual tension on the cover. We want you to see a big word that excites you. And then it’s like someone who speaks very softly and you lean in to hear them.”


But the real key to the magazine’s conceptual covers, like the famed Eliot Spitzer‘s brain” cover that earlier this week won yet another honor (Bravo’s A-List magazine cover award)? Subscriptions, lots and lots of subscriptions. Koblin notes that with newsstand sales accounting for only about four percent of the copies of New York that end up in readers’ hands, the magazine doesn’t need “to dump a celebrity on [the cover] every week.”