Not Robert Cumberford

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A failed car designer tries to make sense of a flat design world.

Things get ugly at Car magazine

Car magazine has long been one of my most cherished and revered sources of car news, photographic inspiration and cutting-edge design. Published in the UK, I have been spending my hard-earned cash on the import-priced glossy loveliness for almost 20 years now. Not anymore. Car has gone and done the unthinkable—they’ve dumbed down the design to blend in, rather than stand out, from the crowd.

Just a few years removed from one of the most stunning and gorgeous magazine redesigns I’ve ever seen, they’ve basically reverted to clichéd tacky Euro auto-weekly style. Busy covers, red box around the logo, smaller size, cheaper paper and nasty typography have replaced the lusciously high-end look of the past two years, bringing a tear to my eye. They’ve even gone and done the same thing to their website, one of the most intricately laid out sites around.
Is it the new depression’s fault? Maybe. But the price hasn’t gone down with the quality, so I somehow think that if this is a cost-cutting measure it’s well on the road to massively backfiring. Will readers forgive and forget? Maybe, but longtime lovers and subscribers like me probably won’t, and the last thing a high-end monthly publication needs now is losing subscribers. When you start stating that you the “World’s best car magazine” right in the header, it’s a sure sign that you’re not anymore.

Tim Pollard, the editor of the magazine, has been campaigning hard for the new look, saying that it’s simply “in response to reader feedback.” Judging by the hundreds of negative comments on the website I’d say they may have asked the wrong readers, and it seems they’ll be losing some lifers with the change. Maybe he’s ok with that, or maybe it was forced on him by the mag’s new owners, but either way, it’s a sad day when a design beacon sells its soul for sales. A sign of the times I suppose, but I won’t be renewing my subscription.

Bring back the design edge Mr. Pollard, and I’ll gladly drop the £65 to re-up my subscription and put Car back on my coffee table where it belongs.

Gorgeous previous redesign of Car

Gorgeous previous redesign of Car

Newly redesigned Car magazine

Newly redesigned Car magazine

Category: Design

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