It has now been two months since we unveiled the new look for Crisis. In that time, I’ve received a lot of constructive feedback. The vast majority of it has been positive—that the magazine is far more readable, the color attractive, and the new design eye-catching.
Of course, no change comes without some criticism. That’s a good thing—a sign that readers genuinely care about the magazine. The most frequent question I’ve been asked is how we’ve managed to add “white space” to the pages while remaining at 64 pages per issue. Are we skimping on article lengths? Actually, no. We had to reduce the column length a bit to give each columnist his own page, but the article lengths remain, on average, the same. While we have shorter articles, like Anthony Esolen’s piece in this issue, we run them alongside longer pieces, like Ben Wiker’s cover story.
The secret to making Crisis less visually crowded was actually found in selecting a new font for the body text. With it, we’ve been able to add a little extra room to the page while maintaining the same word count. We think it’s a good way to make the magazine more readable without sacrificing the content of the articles.
One other style change I wanted to address is the new title design of Crisis. As you’ll notice, it’s now both lowercase and in a different font. In choosing this, we’re not making some kind of subliminal statement that we’re pulling back on the hard-hitting reputation we’ve earned. Actually, we were addressing a complaint we’ve long heard. Many readers have told us over the years that the all-caps “Crisis” seemed to be shouting. Some went even further, claiming that the name itself was enough to keep them from wanting to pick up the magazine (“Too reactionary,” they’d say). While we will certainly not be changing the name of the magazine—there is a crisis in our Church, after all—we did want to make the title bar more attractive and compact. Tastes differ, and good people may disagree over whether or not we’ve achieved the goal.
But the look and layout of the magazine isn’t the only thing that has changed. As Deal mentions in this month’s “Sed Contra,” next issue’s column will be his last. And we also bid a fond farewell to columnists Ralph McInerny, Michael Uhlmann, and Robert Royal. All have contributed greatly to the quality of Crisis over the years, and we’re sorry to see them go.
There’s good news as well. In this issue, we’re introducing two new columnists. On page 13, David Warren offers his first installment of “The Idler.” A popular columnist and rare Canadian conservative, Warren’s work appears in the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, and on his Web site at www. davidwarrenonline.com. He has lived throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and brings Crisis a well-rounded international perspective. He is also a recent convert to Catholicism—and considering the state of the Church in Canada, a very brave man as well.
Furthermore, fans of the venerable Thomas Howard will now find him on the final page of each issue in “Ashes to Ashes.” Howard was for years a leading Protestant writer and thinker. (His critique of modern secularism, Chance Or The Dance?, is considered a classic.) When he converted to Catholicism in 1985, it caused such an uproar in Protestant circles that Christianity Today, the flagship publication of American Evangelicalism, carried a feature article addressing the scandal. In the 20 years since, Howard has been a seminary professor, a popular speaker, and the author of several books. We’re honored to have him join the magazine as a columnist.
While there’s much that has changed at Crisis, our commitment to faithful Catholicism, and our mission to transform the culture through it, will not.