July 29, 2022
The New York Review has always been defined by text: black print on white broadsheet. The first review, in the very first issue, was in such a rush to meet its readers that it started on the cover. The design of the magazine could feel defiantly like an afterthought, the columns a mere container for the vital ideas on the page. But little by little the Review developed a style, four columns per page, illustrated with caricatures by the brilliant and astringent David Levine and drawings by masters like Grandville or Gorey.
In the new issue of the Review, you’ll notice a subtle redesign. We have opened up the often cramped Table of Contents, to include article titles and to give more space to the writers and artists we are proud to publish. We have altered several small elements of inside pages, introduced abstract art to enliven them, and moved our image credits. Most importantly, we are introducing two new typefaces.
For this project, we worked with the designer Matt Willey, who taught himself to draw as a boy by imitating the David Levine caricatures in his father’s back issues of the Review. Matt collaborated with the typeface designer Henrik Kubel, who peered through the archives of the late Lord Mayor of London Robert Besley, the creator of Clarendon, our longtime headline font. Henrik drew two new typefaces, based on Figgins and Century and the first issues our cofounders, Barbara Epstein and Robert Silvers, put out, but with flourishes that feel very present-day. We implemented the changes with the help of the creative director Lisa Naftolin. Each of them collaborated closely with Leanne Shapton, our first-ever art editor, who has helped us publish beautiful and energetic covers and brought in a thrilling variety of new illustrators.
Last week, working from homes across the boroughs and from our office on Hudson Street, we shipped to the printer our first redesigned issue—the Summer Issue—on a fittingly sweltering day.
In making these changes, we aimed at greater elegance, clarity, and legibility, while keeping the essential character of the magazine the same. We very much hope you like the result.
Thank you for reading,