Inside The Atlantic's March Issue, Featuring a Cover-to-Cover Redesign

The Atlantic Unveils a Redesigned Look That Highlights Its Commitment to Provocative Ideas

New Format, Editorial Features, and Logo Are Among the Magazine's Changes

Inside This Issue: "The Robot Will See You Now," by Jonathan Cohn; "Saving Kids From Bullies," by Emily Bazelon; "How Anthropologists Sell Vodka," by Graeme Wood; and Much More

Washington, D.C.--The March 2013 issue of The Atlantic, out today, reveals a redesigned look, cover to cover, that is a powerful visual statement of the magazine's commitment to provocative ideas. Only nine times before has the 155-year-old magazine undergone such a thoroughgoing transformation, this time led by Creative Director Darhil Crooks.

"Darhil has brought the kind of imagination and intelligence to bear on our design that The Atlantic's writers and editors have always tried to express in our stories," James Bennet, editor in chief, said. "At the same time, our whole staff has pulled together to dream up stimulating, idea-driven features. The result is an incarnation of The Atlantic that is even truer to its editorial mission, one that will give our readers even more to think about and argue with."

In addition to revealing a new visual identity--from more image-driven content to a modernized colophon to updated fonts--the reimagined magazine debuts a new structure and format that place greater emphasis on innovation and creativity in design. The three sections at the core of the magazine are:

  • Dispatches: Ideas and provocations from The Atlantic's roster of writers and contributors. Among the recurring features in this section, including several visually inspired editorial elements:
    • Wordplay: A monthly exploration of our living language
    • By Design: A full-bleed photograph that showcases an inspired invention
    • Sketch: A profile of an intriguing public figure or celebrity
    • Chartist: A complex idea or problem broken down into a revealing set of charts, graphs, and illustrations
    • Study of Studies: A meta-analysis of research studies that highlights some of the most informative and entertaining results, and how they complicate one another.
  • The Culture File: The Atlantic's signature culture coverage--book reviews, film and pop-culture criticism, food, drink, travel, and more--expands and moves toward the front of the book.
  • The Feature "Well": The rich, deeply reported journalism that most distinguishes The Atlantic.

The last page of the magazine is now devoted to a feature called The Big Question, posed to a variety of experts and public figures. For this redesign issue, the question is: What day most changed the course of history?

When Bennet asked Crooks to redesign the magazine, he said the only element off-limits was the logo. But Crooks wound up changing that as well, making subtle yet visually striking modifications. He also introduced a newly interpreted colophon, the image of Poseidon that has appeared on the magazine's pages on and off for more than 100 years. The modernized emblem leads off Dispatches and the Culture File, serving as both a visual cue to readers and a nod to the magazine's rich history.

"The goal was to do something that was fresh and engaging, while maintaining the spirit and legacy of The Atlantic," Crooks said. "Readers can expect a new visual approach that works just as hard as the thought-provoking, idea-driven journalism that The Atlantic has been doing since the beginning." 

More about the columns, essays, and features in this issue:

  • Dispatches:
    • Ta-Nehisi Coates contends that the reelection of the first black president matters even more than his election. (Read More)
    • Megan Garber explores why episodic storytelling--from literature to appointment television--is flourishing. (Read More)
    • In the magazine's Sketch, Jeffrey Goldberg sits down with Sally Oren, wife of the U.S. ambassador to Israel, and perhaps the only person who links Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Bibi Netanyahu. (Read More)
    • In this month's Wordplay, Jen Doll investigates why there are sooooo many extra letters in our texts and e-mails. (Read More)
    • Study of Studies: Can you ever be too beautiful? The Atlantic's health editor wades through the plethora of research studies on the subject. (Read More)
    • By Design: We profile GravityLight, a potentially revolutionary idea for the 1.4 billion people without access to electricity. (Read More)
    • Chartist: Nicole Allan and Derek Thompson tackle the myth of the student-loan crisis in pie charts and graphs. (Read More)
    • What's Your Problem?: Back by popular demand, Jeffrey Goldberg confronts a reader's dilemma in his typically candid, hilarious way. (Read More)
    • Plus the Business and Technology columns, this month written, respectively, by Derek Thompson, who examines the hazards of the incredible shrinking ad on mobile phones, and Alexis Madrigal, who interviews Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake. (Read the Business column and the Tech column)
  • The Culture File:
    • On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Groundhog Day, James Parker recognizes the beloved Bill Murray comedy for what it is: a profound work of contemporary metaphysics. (Read More)
    • Wayne Curtis explores the drama (and danger) of the flaming cocktail. (Read More)
      • Digital exclusive: How to make America's original fiery beverage, the Blue Blazer
    • Christopher Orr charts the slow decline of the romantic comedy. (Read More)
  • The Feature "Well":
    • The Robot Will See You Now: IBM's Watson--the same machine that beat Ken Jennings on Jeopardy--is now churning through case histories at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, learning to make diagnoses and treatment recommendations. This is one in a series of developments suggesting that technology may be about to disrupt health care in the same way it has disrupted so many other industries. In the cover story, Jonathan Cohn asks: Are doctors necessary? And just how far might the automation of medicine go? (Read More)
    • How to Stop the Bullies: The angst and ire of teenagers is finding new, sometimes dangerous expressions online--precipitating threats, fights, and a scourge of harassment that parents and schools feel powerless to stop. In fresh reporting for The Atlantic, Emily Bazelon has the inside story of how experts at Facebook, computer scientists at MIT, and even members of the hacker collective Anonymous are hunting for solutions to an increasingly tricky--and dangerous--problem. (Read More)
      • Digital exclusive: Bazelon discusses online bullying with Atlantic Digital editor Bob Cohn.
    • Anthropology Inc.: Forget online surveys and dinnertime robo-calls. As Graeme Wood reports, a consulting firm called ReD is at the forefront of a new trend in market research, treating the everyday lives of consumers as a subject worthy of social-science scrutiny. On behalf of its corporate clients, ReD will uncover your deepest needs, fears, and desires. (Read More)
    • The Hanging: The body of William Sparkman Jr., a 51-year-old census worker, was found in 2009 in an isolated cemetery in the Appalachian region of Kentucky. He was hanging naked from a tree, hands bound, the word FED scrawled in black marker across his chest. Sparkman's death made headlines: to some, it seemed to implicate our polarized politics; to others, a region long known for its insularity. And then the case disappeared from national view. Here, Rich Schapiro uncovers the story of what really happened to Bill Sparkman, a complex man few people truly knew. (Read More)
  • The Big Question: 
    • What day most changed the course of history? Director Oliver Stone, comedian W. Kamau Bell, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and others weigh in. (Read More)

These articles and more are featured in the March issue of The Atlantic, available today, February 21, 2013, on, mobile devices, and newsstands.

Find out more about the redesign in Bennet's editor's note and in a video conversation between Scott Stossel, editor of The Atlantic magazine, and Crooks.  

About The Atlantic
Since its founding in 1857 as a magazine about "the American Idea" that would be of "no party or clique," The Atlantic has been at the forefront of brave thinking in journalism. One of the first magazines to launch on the Web in the early 1990s, The Atlantic has continued to help shape the national debate across print, digital, and event platforms. With the addition of its news- and opinion-tracking site,, and now on global cities, The Atlantic is a multimedia forum on the most-critical issues of our times, from politics, business, urban affairs, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. The Atlantic is the flagship property of Washington, D.C.-based publisher Atlantic Media Company.