Review of New Reader’s Digest Logo

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Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) is a global media and direct marketing company that educates, pharmacy entertains and connects consumers around the world with products and services from trusted brands. For more than 90 years, sale flagship brand Reader’s Digest, thumb the world’s largest circulation magazine, has simplified and enriched consumers’ lives by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting ideas from the publishing world.  [source:LinkedIn]. The company’s flagship print magazine is published in 46 countries and 35 languages, and is read by more than 25 million people. You can’t argue that Reader’s Digest is a magazine icon that is committed to its readers. Despite multiple bankruptcies and countless naysayers who claimed “print is dead,” RD keeps chugging away. In fact, just this year RD completely re-designed their flagship brand, including a refresh of their logo(below).

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Considering the long history of this brand, I think it’s admirable that they haven’t messed around with their logo too much in all these years. It would seem that they recognized the strong brand equity they had in their logo. Their loyal readers knew what “the Digest” looked like, and what it promised to deliver, and that is not something you should tamper much with.

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As you can see, the logo has featured an iconic large capital R for quite some time. The use of serif type certainly lends a classic, formal personality, representing authority and trust. By the time they reached their 1,000th issue in 2005, their logo was only slightly modified by using a semi-serif type. A few years later the design was completely overhauled and the logo made a drastic change as well – an emphasis on the word “digest” (not sure why) and the use of a modern sans serif typeface. I could never grasp the concept behind the use of the red triangle apostrophe, and its matching chunk chiseled out of the D. It seemed that Reader’s Digest was trying to look hip and trendy – and maybe try to shed its image of being “your grandparent’s magazine — and certainly they needed to attract younger readers if they were to stay ahead of the global decline in print magazine subscribers. This new look for Reader’s Digest was certainly ambitious, and represented a willingness to take big risks in order to stay relevant. But a brand is more than its logo, no matter how good (or bad) it is.

Reader’s Digest just recently released their January 2014 issue, completely redesigned from cover to cover. I am happy to see that their new logo is a nostalgic return to their roots. Even though it does not feature the large cap R, and opts for a lowercase “d” in “digest”, it does indeed look like a more modern iteration of their classic logo of the past. I really do like this serif font they chose (I can not determine it’s name, it may be proprietary); the large counters and x-height give it a friendly and approachable personality. It is looks fresh and current and yet it keeps a bit of old-fashioned charm. I really like the gentle sweep of the leg on the R and how it cradles the “e” next to it. It all feels very well conceived. A couple quibbles: I think the word “digest” is a bit too small, and it looks a little disconnected from the word above it. I tend to read it as “Reader’s…digest.” I would have preferred a better connection between them, maybe like this (below):

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Overall, I think this is a very smart and well-designed logo update, and I applaud Reader’s Digest for embracing their heritage. Not only does their new logo look clean and polished and fresh, but so does the rest of the redesigned magazine. If you haven’t picked up a Reader’s Digest issue in awhile, I encourage you to find their Jan 2014 issue. You will, I’m sure, be surprised to see just how alive and well they are after all these years!

Final Grade: B+

Written by on January 7, 2014

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