Consumer Reports targets new readers with redesign

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In a bid to attract and retain a new generation of readers, Consumer Reports (CR) has undergone a redesign by Luke Hayman of Pentagram Design, the firm that also recently revamped the Atlantic Monthly.

CR currently boasts 4.3 million subscribers and average monthly newsstand sales of 190,000. Editor in chief Kim Kleman said that a majority of readers are men in their 50s, but this redesign is expected to attract more women and younger readers.

“I hope this will attract a new generation of CR readers because the design is more sophisticated and more contemporary,” she said. “It's not a men's magazine — it's a magazine for people who want value and like to research the products they buy.”

Changes, such as newly organized sections, updated rankings, more photographs and a Q&A section, debuted on newsstands September 2. Kleman conducted a series of roundtable discussions with multiyear subscribers before beginning the redesign, and again in the final stages, to vet the changes before they officially rollout.

“We tried to make the magazine inviting to new readers and better to people who already subscribe to us,” she explained. “CR has always been a magazine with a lot of information per square inch — it can be dense — so the purpose was to make it look simpler and more contemporary.”

Kleman added that CR's broad range of coverage should help the magazine attract readers even in a down economy, pointing out that, while people may buy less, they want to make sure they are getting the most for their money on everyday products.

The CR Web site has adopted the magazine's new logo and icons. Another redesign of consumerreports.org will debut in the fall. The site has 3.2 million paid subscribers as of July 2008.

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