Tate Etc magazine redesigns to have an “independent voice”

By Aimée McLaughlin

Tate Etc has been redesigned to “restate the independence” of the contemporary art magazine, which is published three times a year by Tate but is editorially independent from the institution.

The new design looks to stop the magazine from being confused with Tate’s in-house promotional material, according to London-based Studio Ard, which was commissioned to work on the project by Tate Etc editor Simon Grant.

“Since its creation, the magazine was always willing to have an independent voice to compete with other independent art magazines. The challenge was therefore to detach the new design from the Tate identity while staying in line with the house attitude,” says Ard co-founder Daniel Nørregaard.

The studio has ditched the existing Tate identity previously used throughout the magazine and created a new logo based on late 19th century grotesque typeface RH Inter, also switching from all capitals to lowercase lettering.

Cover design

Ard worked with Swiss type designer Robert Huber to redraw the typeface, adding features such as straight and rounded angles that nod to the Tate identity. Two weights of RH Inter are used throughout the inside of the magazine.

Ard was also briefed to make Tate Etc more accessible to its audience and give it more newsstand presence in order to stand out from other art and design magazines.

The cover is designed to look more like a mainstream magazine by using portraits for the cover image, adding more information about the content inside and giving the pricing more prominence.

At the front of the magazine the design has been kept simple in order to reflect the journalistic nature of the content, but becomes more experimental towards the back as the features focus on more niche subjects.

“Brings rhythm”

“We’ve differentiated the three different sections clearly by gradually moving from a quite classic and bold approach in the front section, through to a more playful attitude in the back. This brings rhythm but also helps the reader to navigate the magazine,” says Ard co-founder Guillaume Chuard.

Tate Etcentury – a typeface based on Century Schoolbook Monospace and created in collaboration with Swiss designer Julien Mercier – is used for headlines and captions, and is incorporated throughout the entire back section. The body text is set in an early 20th century typeface called Century Schoolbook.

Ard says the design of the magazine will continue to evolve in the future and the studio is planning to introduce custom-made typefaces for each issue, which will be created in collaboration with different designers.

The first issue of the redesigned Tate Etc magazine is now available from retailers internationally. Readers can also subscribe online, and the magazine is available for free for existing Tate members.

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