Poetry Magazine Redesign
This new year the print edition of Poetry magazine gets a fresh interior design by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut. Extra special thanks to associate partner Laitsz Ho for her meticulous work and Tess McCann for coordinating everything. Coincidental with the redesign, we thought I’d name a few particulars and share a preview of Poetry’s new look in the slideshow above. (For a detailed account of our typographical history, see Paul F. Gehl’s “100 Years of Poetry: Designing the Magazine, 1912–2012.”)
Readers will find Poetry at its same distinctive trim size but with a lot more room for art and poetry (it’s bigger on the inside!). The primary reason we embarked on a redesign was to solve the problem of poetry outgrowing our pages—longer lines, hybrid works, and “poetics of space” made it necessary to make room for what’s new.
The new design will better accommodate poets whose work, as contributor Jorie Graham describes it, are “working with lines that acquire momentum as they move down the page, yet need to carry that momentum across shifting distances of breath and attention.” It will also enhance the presentation of the texture and detail in work by poets whose visual poems you will see in issues to come.
We’ve achieved this by introducing a more accommodating page grid featuring tighter margins and zero ornamentation—we bid farewell to our beloved tapered rule after decades of valuable service. We’re also departing from the old-style Bembo and Pietro serif fonts, which have typified Poetry for over half a century (look for an article on its usage forthcoming from former Poetry magazine art director Bob Williams). We set the “quotidien” typeface Untitled Serif in its place—which is based from Untitled Sans and drawn from the old-style genre of types, and “related neither by skeleton nor a traditional aesthetic connection, but by concept only.” Here is a rundown of the typeface from the Klim Type Foundry itself. This, we feel, gives us less font and more poetry.
We love our new design and what it brings forward—which is, quite simply, the best poems being printed today.