Chicago Reader Goes Glossy

April 27, 2011 - 9:03 pm

chicago-reader-new-logoThe venerable Chicago Reader is going for a glossy cover and adjusted format, in an attempt to position the free weekly as more contemporary and perhaps less disposable than the familiar newsprint version.

chicago-reader-old-logoAs a part of this repositioning, the Reader has updated its brand signature in both print and online editions. The new wordmark retains many familiar elements from previous iterations; the reversed “R”, the double-lined letterforms, and the use of bold yellow and black.

Where the new mark differs significantly is the re-unification of the reversed “R” into the wordmark as seen in the original Reader logo, and the jettisoning of the most recent “R” as icon version. The new signature seems to convey a retro, almost art deco feel… perhaps a subtle nod to the New Yorker aesthetic. This direction would seem to support the goal of conveying more intrinsic value and sophistication. The approach seems like a safe bet, perhaps too safe. It will be interesting to watch how the new identity is applied to other contexts like advertising, livery, and curbside ‘vend-o’ boxes.

The new mark is not a huge change but instead is an evolution, or a de-evolution, of long standing and well respected Chicago brand. Taken together with the format changes at the paper and online, this upgraded identity may be just the tonic to reinvigorate the flagging Chicago free weekly.