HOW’s Latest Issue

If you’ve laid eyes on HOW’s July issue, you’ve noticed the brand-new cover format: a simpler layout with a HOW logo that’s bold but not dominating. After five years of the previous cover format, we felt it was time to freshen up the magazine’s look.

If you’ve laid hands on the issue, you’ve noticed a not-so-welcome change: a lighter, thinner paper stock. A corporate decision to reduce manufacturing costs across the company’s magazines meant that the quality of this issue isn’t up to HOW standards. Immediately after the issue hit our desks, we began taking steps to restore the paper quality, so future issues will look and feel like the magazine you’ve known.

The award-winning editorial content of HOW remains strong: a solid mix of creative inspiration, business and career advice, and new tools and resources you need to create your best work. And the magazine remains an important part of the HOW brand, serving not only as a resource for designers but as a hub for all our other products: books, events, online seminars.

Visit HOWdesign.com to read HOW’s art director’s creative approach to the new cover format, and see how the magazine’s logo has evolved with the new look. We welcome your comments here.

0 thoughts on “HOW’s Latest Issue

  1. Daniel Donnelly

    I was happy to read that the current issue is a mistake and we won’t be seeing it again. It feels like a throw-away magazine and not on par with the years of back issues I have on my shelves. The thin feel it gives makes it seem like HOW is on the way out, something we don’t want to see.

    1. Tom

      I totally agree with Brad on this. I felt it was FAR easier to read this issue where getting through others in the past had felt like a Greco-Roman wrestling match. Of course, fewer paper stock adverts means less advertising revenue for HOW, but those things were getting a bit out of control.

  2. Glenda

    While the normal issues of HOW are weightier and good to keep in a library, I have to admit the lighter paper stock made it much easier for me to actually READ the magazine. I’ve always had trouble with the usual heavy stock vs. heavier paper samples and ads to get the pages to lay open.

    So I’m not saying don’t go back, but you can find a paper weight that fills both needs, that would be great.

  3. Michael Peters

    I liked the new weight. Call it the future. Conserving resources. Lead the way how and don’t apologize. You’re appealing to marketing people, just put it on the cover that you’re doing it on purpose and people will buy it.

    1. Elaine H

      I beg to differ. I’m not a “marketing” person – I’m a graphic designer. It’s my job to care about presentation and quality. The thinner, flimsy paper was chosen for shrewd reasons by the publishing company, and not HOW: to cut corners on costs. Having HOW pretend that it’s “to help the environment” would be dishonest and insincere.

      I have back-issues dating back 6 years – and they still hold up and are in great shape after years of re-reading, because of the better quality stock. The cheap paper version won’t last a month on my shelf. This is a prime example of real “sustainability”.

      1. Kevin

        That’s why Publishers and business managers exist Elaine. It’s easy to play the cutting corners card, but your comment acts as if they didn’t have the magazine’s best interest in mind.

        FWIW – I was disappointed with the lighter stock as well. I hope the newsstand version didn’t receive the change. It would be hard to justify spending $15 at the newsstand on it. I had thought they made the switch to a lighter stock to save money on postage.

      2. Elaine H

        Kevin: I’m not speculating on anything, nor am I playing the “cutting corners card” – it’s written directly in the Editor’s explanation: “A corporate decision to reduce manufacturing costs across the company’s magazines…”

        I already had a lengthy discussion about this on the forums, where Bryn first responded about the cheaper paper, and admitted how utterly dismayed the HOW staff were with the change. Does this sound like that the corporate suits had the magazine’s “best interest in mind?”

        But considering that the publishers had a change of heart and is allowing the old stock back, it’s a moot point now.

      3. Kevin

        Elaine: Yes – I do believe the “corporate suits” had the best interest of the magazine in mind. That would be in sustaining the business rather than closing the title down. I’m sure they leaned on the sales staff as well, but incoming revenue obviously isn’t as easy to control as costs. Maybe they should have taken a look at shaving 4 edit pages off each title, but that’s not what they did. I’d disagree about it being a moot point though. Just because they have made a decision to move back towards a heavier stock doesn’t resolve the reasons they were looking to cut costs in the first place.

        What I wonder is if they actually held a paper dummy before making the decision? They could have saved themselves some headaches.

  4. Karen Watson

    Let’s conserve paper and other needed resources to produce the magazine! I don’t mind the lighter weight at all. It is the same great content as always and I REALLY look forward to every issue. Keep up the great work HOW.

  5. B. Ray Valentine

    Sorry, HOW Folks – you goofed and I agree with Mr. Donelly assessment.

    It would like to add that I thought that the current cover is rather boring. The creative covers of the past few years were inspiring. PENTAGRAM created this concept for you back in 2005 – and the layout/design concept is still revelant and fresh in 2010.

    Also, for a typography issue – the typography and cover is dull.

    Don’t lose your audience 🙂

    Love,
    B. Ray

  6. Tom Michlig

    Too funny. I figured the new stock was a pro-environment change, so when I picked it up I said “way to go, HOW”. I still like it.

    Only a design publication would issue an apology for something like this 🙂

  7. Sarah Robinson

    I love the new design. I also agree with Michael and Karen, there’s also different resources, recycled, bamboo… Whatever paper you choose, it doesn’t alter the content we all enjoy so much. Being environmentally friendly is a positive approach.

  8. Beth

    As soon as I felt the lighter paper, I hoped it was an environmental choice and searched the magazine for a mention of the new recycled paper stock. Conserve our resources and go for FSC certified, 100% recycled!

  9. carol

    I do like the heavier weight paper, however, I would have hoped that the lighter weight paper choice was to conserve the environment and not to advance the profits of the Magazine. If the latter is the case, then pass on the savings to your readers. With unemployment at an all time high any savings is appreciated.

  10. Holly

    The new paper doesn’t bug me so much as it is easier to flip through BUT I know it won’t last as long on my bookshelf. Hmmmm…..

    The ALL CAPS cover design annoys me. Been a veteran designer for 20+ years now and ALL CAPS ISN’T EASY TO READ. But I love the font and the newly downsized logo. It was a tad bit large before (taking up half the cover).

    More importantly though it’s about the content. Your magazine is the best out there! It’s why after (I think 10 years) I still get it.

  11. NWDS

    Yikes! I freaked when the new issue came. Cut corners or whatever, just so the corporate hacks don’t send you the way of STEP and dinosaurs. The heavy, non-perforated paper samples would not be missed at all though, but if advertisers dollars bring back good stock for the rest of the mag, bring on the samples.

  12. linda

    The logo feels as if HOW is going backward in time instead of forward thinking. Don’t change for change sake.

    Different styles/textures/heft of paper is what makes HOW special. It provides by example the different choices print designers face and is an inspiration.

  13. Holly

    It was all I could do not to cry when I saw the thin, flimsy new how magazine that was just a shadow of it’s former self.

    Does this mean that the covers will not integrate the HOW logo anymore? I LOVED that. I will always remember the plants that formed the how logo… so creative. I’ll miss that.

  14. Susan M

    Designers need to have vision and be practical at the same time. I have seen so many quality magazines shutter in 2009/10. My preference would be for more affordable paper stock that will allow HOW to stay in business for years to come. By pumping up your online presence and not making the print issue so precious, you show you are evolving with the industry.

  15. Andres Sanchez

    I’m a new reader to HOW magazine and I’m so disappoint about the quality of the magazine :/. It just feel cheap and full of annoying ads that gets in the way when I try to read it. Just makes me wonder if a designer actually hold a final copy of the magazine and thought it was ok to have those annoying stock paper ads.

    I’ll cancel my subscription as soon as possible, this magazine is just not worth it

  16. Jill

    It is a challenge as designers to remain cost effective in a demanding environment. I would however, like to see my publication arrive in a protective wrapper. We utilize How as a reference for an extended period of time and take measures to keep them nice. The last issue arrived fairly roughed up, bent and scarred. Made us sad to think you may not be considering your readers.

  17. Paddymac

    I haven’t checked out the new issue, but then I often am months behind reading HOW because I can’t read it over breakfast (like I can with EVERY other magazine I get). Why? Because of the **#$*&Q#$ thick paper advertisements, the magazine just does not lay flat – you need to hands to hold it. It’s ridiculous. I think I’ll just stop subscribing because I just find it too hard to read.

    I know HOW needs the money from these ads, but couldn’t you come up with a way to send a package of paper one or twice a year directly to subscribers? I’d be more likely to store a nice neat stack of samples with my other paper samples. As it is, if I do like a paper ad, by the time I extract it from the magazine it’s usually shredded to bits (as is the magazine).

    When I moved house I went thru all the back issues and ripped out the paper ads. I reduced the stack of magazines from two boxes to one…

    As for paper quality, I’d rather see you use cheap recycled paper if it helps the environment. I don’t subscribe to HOW for the shiny paper (which also makes it harder to read anyway).

  18. Scott Allbee

    I didn’t mind the thinner stock. I was worried at first that I was getting half the content. Let’s face it, soon we will all be reading our publications on iPads, or feeding the digital content to our 40″ TVs and listening to the content in audio form. We can save our trees, our space, etc., and it will be easier to find old relevant articles without digging through old stacks of magazines. Save the fancy stock and printing for award issues. As long as we have a power source we will be good. My only gripe is next time get everyone involved and think it all through first. And if you’re going to make a big change, go all out and make the cover graphic more impressive too. Can you say boring?

  19. James Christopher

    Absolutely a terrible decision – HOW Magazine.

    However, it has been a good demonstration tool for our firm. We use your current issue as an excellent example of brand deterioration.

  20. Paddymac

    Finally got the new issue today. Have to say I couldn’t care less about the paper stock so long as the content is good.

    What I liked about it was that it didn’t have all those thick paper ads – it lays flat! I only had to remove two half-page thick ads and now it looks like a normal mag. It’s also lighter so I’ll be more inclined to stick it in my bag to read on the road.

    If it saves trees and money, I don’t see what the problem is.

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