Canadian Magazine Industry News
9 July 2010,     TORONTO
Toronto Life celebrates 43rd birthday with new look
St. Joseph Media-published Toronto Life is celebrating its 43rd birthday with a new look inspired by the history of the magazine itself.

A copy of the old design of Toronto Life (left) and the new look (right)
A cover from the old Toronto Life design (left) and the new look (right)

“The starting point for the new magazine was the old magazine, we wanted to be inspired by Toronto Life,” says art director Jessica Rose. “I grew up with the magazine in my house and had an ideal version of it in my head. We went way back, looking at every re-design done over the years and identifying the changes made each time.”

Editor Sarah Fulford says the process of redesigning the book was slow and thoughtful, having started the process almost two years ago. “We wanted to do it both because we saw ways of adding more content to the magazine and to do that we needed to make some changes,” she says. “Also, because the book has a new-ish editor and art director and sometimes when you inherit things you find they don’t have the same purposefulness they once did.”

Included in the changes is a new section on culture, a tightened front section, a new columnist, Jan Wong and a larger Food and Drink section. Overall, says Fulford the magazine is easier to navigate thanks to subtle design and colour changes between sections.

The Toronto Life flag was re-imagined by looking at old incarnations by London design firm A2/SK/HK, says Rose. “We decided to continue the tradition of the logo and work with older visual elements and build on those,” she says. “The issue with Toronto Life is we cover a variety of content. There needs to be a framework on the cover that you can see a million miles away. So we brought back the red box in the logo, except its not solid, has a transparency like a piece of film that sits on the cover.”

Rose says the magazine has also changed the way it treats advertising, working with it rather than against it. “The way we work with advertising is really thought out now beforehand,” she says. “A lot of other publications act like advertising is a bad thing, not working with it so neither the advertising, nor the editorial looks good. We are looking at from the standpoint of ads are awesome, they belong in magazines. How can we work with them to make them better for everyone?”

The new Toronto Life includes more to read, says Fulford who thinks magazines provide a respite from readers technology filled lives. “Some people are cynical about what technology has done to our culture but I think there is a hunger for good writing now as much as ever before,” she says. “Perhaps more than ever before, our world is more complicated, magazines help people understand the world in which we live.”

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