Canadian Magazine Industry News
6 June 2012,     TORONTO
Creative director boldly kicks off lineup at MagNet conference
The word on the street is that revenue of New York-based magazine Bloomberg Businessweek shot up 65% after art director Richard Turley took over as creative director.

He came to Businessweek from London's renowned Guardian newspaper, where he was an art director. He moved from London to New York in 2010 for the Businessweek redesign.

Richard Turley during his MagNet address
Richard Turley during his MagNet address

But you get the sense that Turley, who came to the magazine from the UK, is not very focused on numbers. He's clearly all about the art. "I'm not sure where the 65% came from," he said frankly when asked a question about his impact during his marquee address at MagNet in Toronto on Tuesday evening.

But while he also shrugged off a question whether his unique approach to design has boosted ad sales for the magazine, he did have some words about the industry in general. "I don't think we're thinking about content enough," he said to a packed room at the Courtyard Marriott. "We've become very caught up in the distribution side."

Turley said it's usually 'all about the type or all about the picture' - in this case, it's both, he said
Turley said it's usually 'all about the type or all about the picture' - in this case, it's both, he said

Turley and his team have stripped down the covers of Businessweek, tossing out coverlines at the top (he compares them to broccoli), often leaving the viewer with just a photo or illustration and the banner. "The cover is sometimes the least important (element of a magazine)," he said. That being said, Bloomberg's inside spreads often leave hardly a square inch of white space in a sea of text, infographics and other visuals.

He invites publishers to ditch the traditional way their magazines are designed and try something completely different — "do it once a year, in summer when no one's buying the magazine," he said. He said publishers are afraid to try new things because they don't want to "rock the boat" and lose readership.

A cheeky cover about an airline merger
A cheeky cover about an airline merger

The art department works closely with editorial at Businessweek — literally, he said, noting the art directors sit next to the editors. "Art gets involved early in the process," said Turley.

"I try to make our stuff as interesting as possible, but also to make reading it quite easy," he said. "You try to do a magazine that you'd be interested in buying."

See more of his work here.
— Jeff Hayward
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