The Atlantic hired Darhil Crooks as its new creative director as it seeks to inject more innovation and drama into its somewhat somber pages.
Crooks was most recently creative director at Ebony magazine, where he led the first end-to-end redesign in the title’s 66-year history. Before that, he was the art director for the risk-taking Esquire, where the iPad app he helped design was a finalist for best mobile edition by the American Society of Magazine Editors in 2011. In his new role, he’ll oversee The Atlantic’s art direction across print, Web, mobile and tablet devices. He’ll also be in charge of design for online offshoots The Atlantic Wire and Atlantic Cities.
The Atlantic’s last substantial redesign, by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut, was in 2008. Then, the magazine added briefer stories, a concession to shorter attention spans, and launched a campaign that encouraged readers to "Think. Again." Since then, the Richard Turley-redesigned Bloomberg Businessweek and provocative covers by Newsweek and Time have raised the bar for magazine design in general.
“I think we do need to raise our game,” said James Bennet, editor in chief of The Atlantic. “Design is a very, very powerful way to create new ideas. If ideas are core to what The Atlantic is, we need to do a much better job of crystallizing that.”
The last person in a comparable position at The Atlantic was Jason Treat, who left about a year ago. Pentagram has been handling art direction since then.