Matt Willey gives the Paris Review a minimalist makeover

“The design was inspired by the minimalism of older issues of the Review – among them no. 56, published in 1973, which I have been carrying around for the past few months,” explains editor Emily Stokes in a blog post on the Paris Review’s website.;

Images courtesy The Paris Review

That’s not to say the mag’s to be handled with kid gloves. Stokes emphasises that “we want you to have no qualms about stuffing it into a pocket or handbag, and cracking it open wherever you happen to be”.
“This summer, when our designer, Matt Willey, first visited the Review’s Chelsea office, he and I were immediately drawn to issue no. 56 as an object,” she continues. “We liked the book’s trim size, small enough that you could hold it open in one hand, and the type, which though not big was surprisingly legible, dark and fat. The paper felt intimate – textured in a way that seemed to ask to be dog-eared, or even scribbled on.” The redesign is the latest in a long list of editorial projects from the Pentagram partner and Port magazine co-founder – who’s also been busy launching new title Inque and redesigning the Big Issue.
The Paris Review has cycled through many styles over the years – more on that here – and been home to artwork by everyone from Keith Haring and David Hockney to Leanne Shapton and Chip Kidd. This era of Paris Reviews is markedly different from its recent covers, which have been busy with type and image. Willey’s approach is far calmer, bringing back some of the mystique of the title’s 70s editions, and creating a fresh canvas for artwork.
This latest redesign adopts a far more minimal approach than its previous incarnation, replacing the magazine’s former serif masthead and side strip. Klim Type’s Founders Grotesk sans serif now sits on the cover, while body copy is set in the foundry’s Heldane Text. A pair of cherries, painted by British artist Rose Wylie and chosen by art editor Na Kim – who’s previously spoken to CR about her approach to book design – breaks up the expanse of the cover.

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