Sporting Women: Trying to distinguish itself from big brother SI, Sports Illustrated Women is punchier, but the denser design creates confusion and clutter rather than clarity - Face Lift - magazine product information - Brief Article
SI for Women has struggled since its inception with the same problem--how to ride the coattails of mega-brand Sports Illustrated while presenting an entirely new and different magazine. The original logo had the look of a supplement, retaining a large SI logo, while adding "For Women" underneath. In the new logo, the original SI logo is gone, replaced by a small generic "Sports Illustrated," making it look like a magazine called "Women." Neither one is successful. The new cover, though, is an improvement. Bolder, more masculine type and small inset photos give the impression that this is a tough magazine about women's sports with a lot going on inside. The big head photo on the issue I saw contrasts the small inset pictures well.
The new magazine is much denser, with the editors probably getting in twice as many pieces, so a direct comparison really isn't fair. On some pages, like "Hey coach," this density is handled well, controlling all the different elements while still presenting a unified-looking page that's not too hard to break down and read. In a few instances, though, there are just too many things being jammed onto a page. An unexpected benefit is that when a picture does run full page, it catches your attention in dramatic fashion, looks great in the mix, and pulls you right in. Unfortunately, that happens only a few times.
Ultimately, the old magazine was more accessible to the reader, mainly because there was less information on the page. Because of that, they were able to lead the type out, put space between items, and design three items to a page instead of six. In the redesign, there just isn't any air--so it's tougher to digest. I think the designers have made an effort to control this massive amount of information, but ultimately it proves to be too much.
Overall, I think the redesign has made this magazine a lot punchier and more masculine than it was, but the amount of design that's going on is making the look more confusing than it has to be. With all the exercise and equipment charts, sidebars, recipes, work out regimens, bios, stats, etc, this magazine is already offering plenty to look at and take in. The design should take a step back and get out of the way, sometimes, and avoid adding to the clutter.
RELATED ARTICLE: MANAGING EDITOR Susan Casey
ART DIRECTOR Mimi Dutta
PUBLISHER Paula Romano
MISSION To reflect the energy found in women's sports with fresh, larger-than-life-images.