Inside the GPS World redesign with VP of Design Pete Seltzer

pete_seltzer_cropPete Seltzer has more than 20 years of experience as an art director and has spearheaded dozens of magazine and brand redesigns since he began working in publishing. He sits down with NCM Insights’ Bethany Chambers to talk about his latest project, the redesign of GPS World magazine and related properties, which launched last month.  

Q: Before you get started on a redesign, where do you look for inspiration?

A: We base our redesigns on reader and advertiser research. Using the research results in combination with industry expertise provided by our staff, we affirm the brand essence. The brand essence identifies the audience, their key need, our value proposition, proof of that value proposition and the personality of the brand. Visual cues reference all of these aspects. Additionally, one of the questions we ask readers is what consumer magazines do you read on a regular basis.

Q: Why do you ask this, and what did you find out?

A: This gives us a feel for what they like, both from a content standpoint and an aesthetic one. GPS World readers also read Scientific American, Popular Mechanics and The Atlantic.

Q: Once you have inspiration, which elements do you start with for a redesign?

A: Creation of the logo is the cornerstone for the redesign. It should project the brand essence, personality and tone for the overall redesign.

Q: The new GPS World logo is drastically different. What stands out about it to you, and how many iterations were there in the redesign process?

A: What’s key about this is how we arrived here. Typically a tagline is something that is added after the logo development and is not necessarily essential to the logo itself. The tagline in the GPS World logo is not a tagline really; it’s part of the logo. It’s the brand guideline to never use the logo without it. These are the key sections we cover.

Q: So to say there were more iterations than usual would be correct?

A: Absolutely.

Q: How do you pick colors/themes for the design?

A: Creation of color palette and themes are born out of the editorial strategy for a brand redesign. Colors/themes should support and reinforce editorial approach, as well as personality of the brand. Special consideration should be made for the audience demographics.

Q: The new color palate of GPS World has earthier tones as opposed to the previous bolder, more saturated colors. What does the new color palette say about the brand and the audience?

A: I would describe the colors as more muted but still masculine because a good portion of our audience is male. This is more sophisticated and reinforces the technical feel of the brand.

Q: What would you say is the most important element of a redesign project?

A: I would rate selection of fonts as one of the most important elements. Ease of readability is a core function, while finding the right combination of display and text font families that work well together is also key. The fonts’ secondary purpose is to further reinforce the personality of the redesign.

Q: What stands out to you about the new GPS World fonts?

A: The display type has a technical flair and the body copy has an ease of readability.

Q: What makes this design more effective than the previous design?

A: By definition, a redesign updates the presentation of the brand—that in and of itself is window dressing. However, by also conducting research and re-examining the brand essence in an effort to serve our audience (which is readers and advertisers both) to the best of our ability, we are confidently providing a more effective design presentation.