Fortune Redesigns for Changed Economic Climate

Time Inc.’s Fortune is keeping its name, but a redesign aims to reflect a time when many of its readers have less of the prosperity that the name suggests.
The next issue, which hits stands March 8, has new sections like Career and Venture that will offer advice in uncertain economic times. Leisure Pursuits will take the place of Life at the Top, a lifestyle section that was launched when luxury marketers were spending more freely.
Meanwhile, in a time of ignominy for business titans, readers will see fewer CEOs gracing the cover. Case in point is the cover of the redesigned issue, which features soldiers in uniform, illustrating an article about companies hiring military elite.
“We’re not going to not put CEOs on the cover, but we want to understand the times in which we operate,” explained Fortune’s editor Andy Serwer.
John Korpics, who became Fortune’s new creative director in September, worked with Serwer on the redesign.
Fortune also is aiming for a more high-end feel, with a switch to heavier paper stock. The changes come as the magazine drops its frequency to 18 issues from 25 issues.
The new issue also displays more of the cross-pollination of edit staff that’s been happening between Fortune and sibling pub Time magazine. Michael Elliott, Time’s international editor, will be writing a column for Fortune, while Fortune’s Nina Easton will start contributing to Time. Also in the issue will be a piece by Time staffer Stephen Gandel.
Serwer said the sharing isn’t about a shortage of resources but about making the most of the titles’ talent.
“It’s more like, hey, there’s some guy down the hall with some incredible expertise, and we’d be stupid not to tap into it,” he said.
Mark Ford, president and group publisher of Time Inc.’s News Group, described the new Fortune as reflecting a positive outlook toward business.
“We’re going to be about the celebration of business,” he said. “It doesn’t mean if someone is doing something wrong, we won’t nail them to the wall. We will. It’s about, business is cool, business is good, and we’re excited to be part of the category.”
It remains to be seen how the redesign will go over with ad buyers, who have questioned the relevancy of business magazines in a 24-7 news cycle. The category also has been battered by declines in spending by endemic categories like financial, tech and auto.
The category is starting to show signs of recovering, though. Fortune’s ad pages edged up .98 percent to 150 this year through March 1, while the category as a whole was down 4.8 percent, per the Mediaweek Monitor.

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