Redesign Trauma

For anyone who has ever worked at a magazine that has gone through a redesign, I think you will be happy to hear that it's not just your company that does things within a compressed time period. Romenesko posted this memo on his Web site from the editor of the Chicago Tribune to Trib employees about the paper's upcoming redesign--which will take place in a 90-day time period.

Here's what the timeline includes: "We are committed to determining the basic architecture and sectioning of the paper within 30 days; deciding on paging (how many and where) within 45 days; understanding our staffing levels throughout the paper in 60 days; and being ready to launch a rethought and redesigned Tribune within 90 days in mid-September."

I'm curious what people think a good timeline is for the redesign of a product, in order to ensure that the quality is top notch and the thinking behind the changes are sound.

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12 weeks for a complete overhaul is tough, but doable. I had 12 weeks to redesign The Examiner newspapers in San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore and carte blanche to make sweeping innovations.

What worries me with the Tribune's approach is the speed at which committees operate. Someone has to take the lead to cut through the inherent politics and fog of war make clear and life-changing decisions.

Design by committee? The editor of the paper has established three committees to rule the redesign.

It will be a great case study for crisis management in either case.
# posted by Blogger Robb Montgomery : June 21, 2008 at 6:06 PM
I'm the brand-new editor of a monthly B-to-B magazine that's undergoing a major redesign, both graphics and editorial. Our staff (my publisher, managing editor, art director and myself) has been working with an outside graphics consultant for the past several months and have targeted a September rollout.

Since the book hasn't had a facelift in a long time, I'm pretty jaked about the process, and it's teaching me a lot about the interplay between editorial and design.

It should be interesting to see what the Chi Trib unveils.
# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : June 23, 2008 at 10:10 AM
Nikki (and anyone else reading this):

You might also be interested in yesterday's post on print redesigns from Ryan Sholin's Invisible Inkling blog. His main point can be summed up by this quote from his post: "... try not to mistake fresh design for fresh content."

And he argues:

"A print redesign — or an online one, for that matter — needs to be accompanied by training for the whole newsroom, especially if you’re designing using different story forms."

Certainly that would take longer than 90 days.
# posted by Blogger Martha Spizziri : June 25, 2008 at 1:28 PM
Life changing and potentially job-threatening decisions, too!
# posted by Blogger Nikki Golden : July 1, 2008 at 3:22 PM
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