Meet Ben Kiel, the Man Behind The New Yorker's Recent Typeface Redesign

Categories: The New Yorker

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Dan Berkman
Ben Kiel

Note: This was originally published by our sister paper in St. Louis, The Riverfront Times

There's been a minor media brouhaha over the fact that The New Yorker just launched a redesign for the first time in 13 years. The news was featured in the New York Times, New York magazine, tech blog Gizmodo, and various other design-centric blogs. The 88-year-old magazine itself produced a lovely little video with its creative director explaining to readers what they can expect to see in their next issue.

What all these accounts do not mention, however, is that the most "significant" component of the redesign--the fonts, or typeface--were worked on by St. Louis' Ben Kiel.

"I had not seen The New Yorker until today, I finally found one," he tells Daily RFT. "It looks great."


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Aaron Swartz speaking at a protest against SOPA and PIPA bills in New York City.
Phillip Stearns via Compfight cc
It's at once terribly exciting and infinitely sad: This morning, the New Yorker announced the arrival of Strongbox, a new tool for receiving sensitive documents and messages from readers. Commissioned by Kevin Poulsen, the investigations editor at Wired, Strongbox was one of the projects that Aaron Swartz had developed before he committed suicide in January.

Swartz and Poulsen met in 2006, when Swartz, along with the other co-founders of Reddit, sold the online platform to Condé Nast and took root in a conference room at Wired's headquarters. Swartz wrote a piece for Poulsen about Kahle v. Gonzales, one of Lawrence Lessig's legal battles in the larger fight for copyright freedom, after which Poulsen asked Swartz to develop a secure-submission tool.


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"It was great," Mayor Mike Bloomberg told reporters on Thursday about a new cover of The New Yorker, which mocks him. "I thought it was cute looking into the mirror." Barry Blitt's "Bloom in Love" features New York City's long-time mayor gazing longingly at himself, hands coyly resting on his chin, while champagne and chocolates sit by his elbows on a vanity. "It was a Valentine idea before it was a Bloomberg idea," the artist assured the New York Times' City Room blog. But we're still proud of the guy! He should tag himself on Facebook.

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Anne Hays is not happy with her subscription to The New Yorker. Hays, a Brooklyn resident, Sarah Lawrence MFA graduate and the founding editor of Storyscape Journal, posted yesterday, as a Facebook note, a letter she sent to the magazine's editors at 4 Times Square, complaining of a gender imbalance in recent issues and demanding a refund or replacement. "You may either extend our subscription by one month, or you can replace this issue with a back issue containing a more equitable ratio of male to female voices," she wrote. "I plan to return every issue that contains fewer than five women writers." Check out the full text after the jump. (Plus an update from Hays below.)

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