Mansueto Giving Fast Company a Boost

A year after making widespread cuts at Mansueto Ventures, owner Joe Mansueto is pumping money into flagship Fast Company.

With the February issue, Fast Company will get fresh typefaces designed to give it a greater sense of urgency. The magazine hired three new Web editors to build out the site’s design, ethonomics (Fast Company’s term for corporate social responsibility) and technology channels while putting more focus on aggregating news from elsewhere.

Finally, the company is spending money to grow circulation (now at 732,230) through an expanded presence at airports and Barnes & Noble.

“Joe’s giving us more money to invest,” said Christine Osekoski, publisher of Fast Company. “It’s in the seven-digit numbers when you look at print and digital and consumer marketing.”

The changes come as the business news category is going through convulsions. Bloomberg LP is poised to name a new editor for BusinessWeek and give it an Economist-inspired revamp. Forbes has made major layoffs and Fortune is cutting its frequency while preparing for layoffs of its own. Fast Company editor Bob Safian said his changes are in keeping with the magazine’s editorial focus on progress and innovation in business, though, not in response to others. “It’s something we’ve been talking about for a long time,” he said.

Fast Company’s ad pages fell 30.8 percent to 426 this year, but in a sign of better days, February’s ad pages are expected to be up at least 10 percent. Like much of the magazine industry, Mansueto Ventures has been in contraction mode. In October 2008, it laid off 20 people, merged print and digital functions and scaled back various expenses in response to the softening ad market. And in April, John Koten stepped down as CEO after sending a series of strange e-mails to staffers.