The logo was spruced up, just a little, for the 1980s when Michael Kinsley and Hendrik Hertzberg exchanged editing duties:
And it was changed again in the 1990s when Andrew Sullivan was running the magazine:
There was also this hilarious logo complete with an old-timey western feel the mag used during the 90s under Chuck Lane:
It's also not the first time it was sans-serif, either. They ditched serifs in the mid-2000s, too. We forgave them, though, because everyone made horrible fashion decisions in the mid-2000s and media people weren't addicted to Twitter:
TNR trotted out Dick Barnett, their creative director, to give an interview to
a very respected media or design critic their tumblr to make sure everyone stayed calm through the de-serifing. Of course, it would have been nice if the interview didn't play out so much like a press release, but, anyway, here it is, with emphasis added for the most shameless self-promotion:
When Dirk Barnett joined our team at The New Republic a few months ago, he brought with him a vast experience designing for major publications, an impressive breadth of design knowledge and history, and a keen eye for fresh, original concepts. Our new logo—the creation of Dirk and his team—is a work of art unto itself. We sat down with Dirk this week and asked him a few questions about his design process and the creation of the new New Republic.
Interviewer: This is a big, bold logo. What made you decide to create such a forceful design?
Dirk Barnett: When Frank and Chris first brought me on board, there was a lot of conversation about balancing what The New Republic has been, and what it can be. While there were many logo iterations that delved into a more serif-based, elegant approach, in the end we decided to break out of The New Republic's heritage and create something fresh and new. We have one shot at stopping people at Hudson News, or the iTunes store, or in their Google Chrome browser, so we wanted a logo that stands tall, and demands a presence, without being too in-your-face. Given who we are and our 98-year history, there is definitely a level of authority and elegance you want to maintain, but also a need to bring it forward to hold the interest of our current readers, while attracting new ones.
So Barnett's big idea for a new logo is to completely ignore the history of a magazine on the eve of its centennial year in print, then design a logo almost indistinguishable from every other sans-serif magazine logo? Well, at least it was already reminding us of the logo at The Daily, Rupert Murdoch's iPad-only newspaper that... failed miserably. Though, Poltico's Dylan Byers notes the font is the same used by other riveting reads, like The Hollywood Reporter and Golf Digest.
The reaction has not been overwhelmingly positive, but it's not all bad, either. Indeed, the logo critiques seem to have divided into the following groups: