A New Chapter

The Atlantic’s New Look

with our december 2019 issue, “How to Stop a Civil War,” we’re introducing the most dramatic overhaul of The Atlantic’s visual identity in its 162-year history. The new visual identity, led by creative director Peter Mendelsund and senior art director Oliver Munday, retains the heritage and sensibility of the magazine while giving as much weight to the design as has long been given to the words.

Among thousands of design changes, the most noteworthy is to the logo: The Atlantic nameplate that’s consistently topped the magazine for a century and a half has been updated to a simple and declarative A. The Atlantic commissioned a bespoke typeface, Atlantic Condensed, which was inspired by the type chosen by the magazine’s founders in 1857. The new design also marks the start of a wholesale redesign of the website and iOS app, beginning with a simplified design and user experience.

“We’ve rethought everything about the way we present The Atlantic to the world, helping readers better understand our words through clarity in design,” says editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg. “The resulting work makes The Atlantic visually arresting, classically informed, and radically modern, all at the same time.”

A Brief History

From 1857 to Now…

the first step in defining a new visual identity for The Atlantic began with an archeological undertaking; combing through the archives to better understand the magazine’s original architecture.

To look back at issues from those founding decades through the 21st century is to see the entire history of American design unfold. The first issue of The Atlantic featured a simple and powerful design. As the magazine’s flag, typefaces, layout, and artwork evolved over the years, eras of design decisions began to overlap.

Creating a clear, cohesive new visual identity for The Atlantic was largely an exercise in returning to the historical roots of the publication, while striving to stay true to its radical origins. The result is bold but classical, beautiful but spare, and respectful of the reader. Its mission is to elevate the ideas that have long powered the Atlantic brand.

Design Details

A NEW ICON

The A, in various forms, has served as a marker for The Atlantic since its inception. This newly drawn A harkens back to the classical roots of the magazine, while also serving as a unifying mark for the institution across all platforms.

A NEW TYPEFACE

In the first issue of The Atlantic, published in 1857, the founders chose a condensed serif typeface to carry forth their message of abolition. The typeface has been redrawn by Jeremy Mickel, based on period specimens and reapplied for an era when The Atlantic is read in print and on smartphones, heard in podcasts, and watched in documentary form.

EMBLEMS

First appearing in The Atlantic in 1910, the Poseidon emblem has served as a visual mark for the magazine for more than a century. In a return to the original engraved style, a family of nautical emblems will populate the magazine as a nod to its history.