Letter to Maclean's

Dear Maclean's,

Since your fax number (416-764-1332) does not ever pick up and since I'm not going to go through voice mail hell, here is my answer to why I won't renew:

I am not renewing because the graphic redesign is the most piss-poor thing I have ever seen and makes the magazine difficult to read. The design turns the physical act of reading into a marathon course. Too much visual distraction, hard-to-read fonts, too little white space, poor contrast between fonts (and the addition of bold "Q"s and "A"s to the Question and Answer feature just makes it worse; this feeble attempt at correcting the contrast doesn't make it easier to distinguish between questions and answers -- if you really want to do that, make the whole friggin' question bold. Oh but then that would be like the design under the former editor, and we can't have that!).

I'll reconsider subscribing when you hire a real graphic designer who understands what makes a magazine readable (just wondering, did you Kenneth Whyte hire your best buddy's kid for this important job?) and redesign the magazine so it's as easy to read as the previous design.

Now stop sending me notices! Thank you.



inquiringmind said…
Can't stand those subscription notices, eh? Bet'cher none too happy about that Goooooogle ad for Maclean's right smack under this posting.

btw - totally agree with you on the non-contrasting-fonts point.
Marc Bernard said…
Amen. I cancelled as well. The graphic design was one thing, but the descent into "National Enquirer" land was the final straw. The cover stories in Macleans used to be well written, interesting, and real journalism. Now I get to read all about Paris Hilton or nasty divorces among the rich and famous? Please.

talk talk talk said…
Inquiringmind (like your name BTW!): I read my posts on the main page of my blog, so there's no Google ad here!! Guess it's too far down the page. :)

Thanks for your support about the fonts. And thank you also to Marc -- it's nice to know I'm not alone in my frustrations!

The thing is I've always been proud of Maclean's, that this newsmagazine has persevered in presenting a Canadian face and Canadian news to us the Canadian readers. I didn't get into that part in my letter, but in reading the headlines in the Q&A section, I noticed a distinct change. This section had become one of my favourtie features. Through it I got to learn about my fellow Canadians and their accomplishments, something I never would've without Maclean's. Then Whyte took it over and now as a reader I got to become a slavish elitist to the American trendy people of the moment. Bleh! Who cares about American editors -- I'm far more interested in Canadian ones -- I WANT to know more about who's who in Canada -- or American celebrities. If I was interested in the latter, as you said Marc, there's the National Enquirer for that.

Also shock covers only work for so long, then they get as stale and boring as, well, stale and boring covers. I'd started to gloss over the covers at the end of my subscription. Then after a few weeks of not receiving Maclean's, I picked one up at the store to see if they'd fixed the design problem (nope, put it back), and this time noticed the cover. In other words if 1 out of 4 or 8 covers was shocking, and the rest serious, then the shocking ones would continue to shock. You'd think newspaper professionals would know this!
Sean Tisdall said…
At least Paul Wells was kind enough to back handedly claim that you're the exception the proves the rule... nice layout by the way.
talk talk talk said…
Hence my "big thank you" post to him (see
>A Big Thanx
)! I'm still amazed at his linking to me and very grateful.

Thank you for the compliment on the layout. :)