Nip & Tuck

Editor Kurt Chandler’s monthly letter to our readers.

We’ve had some work done.

Our talented team of graphic designers has completely overhauled the magazine, section by section, page by page. They’ve redesigned layouts, changed fonts, reworked the nameplate, resized photos and articles, and more. As you can see by my new picture in the magazine, nothing was spared from the face-lift.

Redesigning a magazine is a huge endeavor. It took us more than a year to perfect it.

So why did we do it?

“We needed to refresh the brand and content to keep readers engaged,” says Kathryn Lavey, the magazine’s art director since 2011 and maestro of the redesign. “Our goal was to uphold our mission to be informative, literate and entertaining. But we wanted to ensure we were moving the magazine forward, staying relevant to our readers and city.”

One notable change is a new section called Culture. We moved our arts and entertainment coverage to the front of the magazine and carved out more space for stories that reflect the area’s cultural events, trends, styles and personalities. Meanwhile, our Insider section remains the go-to place for short newsy articles on such topics as politics, business, the media and technology.

In making these changes, we considered our readers’ views. In a recent survey, subscribers gave us very direct advice on what they’d like to see in these pages: “More historical articles,” said a subscriber. “More ‘good’ stories, if you can find good news,” said another reader. “How about a profile and rating of Milwaukee strip clubs,” suggested yet another reader, a woman no less. (We will give it some, ah, serious thought.)

A majority of subscribers said they value our coverage of food and restaurants, and many said they wanted more. So we’ve expanded our Dining section by two pages, and culled our restaurant listings to reflect not all eateries but the best options in the area, as recommended by our dining critic, Ann Christenson.

Readers also said they were especially drawn to our long-form stories, the hallmark of this magazine. Taking the encouraging feedback to heart, we’ll do our best to produce in-depth features, investigative articles and service packages that are original, impactful and well-told.

Overall, I think the redesign is terrific, a fresh look and feel that’s been a long time coming.

“The magazine underwent a series of smaller tweaks in 2009, 2010 and 2011,” Lavey points out. “But for this redesign, we went beyond new typefaces. After asking tons of questions, creating endless mock-ups, tweaking and retweaking, the art department is finally able to see a real issue come to life. It’s a little terrifying.”

Of course, we won’t know if it’s a success until it’s in our readers’ hands. Please let us know how we did.

Join us (for free!) on Thursday, July 30 at Anodyne Walker’s Point Café as we celebrate our magazine redesign! Get the details here.

‘Nip & Tuck’ appears in the August 2015 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.
The August 2015 issue is on newsstands August 3.
Purchase a copy on newsstands at one of 400+ locations throughout Wisconsin.

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Kurt Chandler began working at Milwaukee Magazine in 1998 as a senior editor, writing investigative articles, profiles, narratives and commentaries. He was editor in chief from August 2013-November 2015. An award-winning writer, Chandler has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, editor and author. He has been published in a number of metro newspapers and magazines, from The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Minneapolis Star Tribune, to Marie Claire, The Writer, and He also has authored, coauthored or edited 12 books. His writing awards are many: He has won the National Headliners Award for magazine writing five times. He has been named Writer of the Year by the City & Regional Magazine Association, and Journalist of the Year by the Milwaukee Press Club. As a staff writer with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and chosen as a finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Award. In previous lives, Chandler worked construction, drove a cab and played the banjo (not necessarily at the same time). He has toiled as a writer and journalist for three decades now and, unmindful of his sage father’s advice, has nothing to fall back on. Yet he is not without a specialized set of skills: He can take notes in the dark and is pretty good with active verbs.