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 Up Front With Martin B. Deutsch

martin DO YOU KNOW US?

BY MARTIN B. DEUTSCH

March 1, 1984 -- There’s nothing as certain as change in this universe, except maybe death and taxes. (Not very original, but I couldn’t recall the exact quote or who said it.) Sooner or later, no matter how much things remain the same, things will change.

And although we’re the new kid on the magazine block, so to speak, we keep changing and maturing. Frequent Flyer is only 43 issues old this month, a monthly magazine with a mission that won’t quit: our dedication to become the voice of the airline passenger, particularly the frequent traveler, that full-fare passenger who is the backbone of today’s airline industry.

Like any other youngster of three-and-a-half years, we are curious, innovative and bursting with energy. And in the normal course of these events, we are also growing and changing.

That’s why you’ve undoubtedly noticed the difference in this month’s cover—there’s a dramatic new Frequent Flyer look starting at as you unbundled that March packet with the Pocket Flight Guide. The look is not only new, we think it’s greatly improved. In the world of magazines, identity is a valuable and hard-won asset, certainly not something you tinker with at a moment’s whim. Nor did we think we were too young for a facelift, although admittedly three-and-a-half is an unusual age for cosmetic surgery. But not when you consider the precarious life expectancy of new magazines in this country.

A logo is a publication’s signature, no more, no less. As a magazine that prides itself on lucid and finely-honed editorial content, we felt that we needed a different signature, one that was even more modern and streamlined and clean-cut than the original start-up version.

When we decided to redesign the cover six months ago, we turned to the New York firm of Murtha, DeSola, Finsilver, Fiore. Nor necessarily a quartet of household names, but a company that is probably the world’s most respected creator of corporate images. You already know the firm’s work: they designed such familiar logos as those used by ITT, Metropolitan Life, the American Stock Exchange and Dr. Pepper. They also created the logo and corporate signature used by our parent company, the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation.

The people at Murtha DeSola spent two months pouring over back issues of Frequent Flyer and profiles of our average reader before initially presenting at least fifteen possible design approaches. From this selection, we narrowed our sights to two designs. Weeks of discussions and design alterations later, the new Frequent Flyer logo was ready. It’s not often that everybody at a magazine—management, editorial, advertising, production—agree on anything, but the staff at Frequent Flyer was unanimous in its belief that we had discovered the right presentation.

The comparison of the old and new logos on this page probably says about all that needs to be said. The new look is clean, sophisticated and entirely appropriate. Out hats off to the talented people at Murtha, DeSola, Finsilver, Fiore, especially Charles Finsilver for the personal attention he gave to our project.

You will also notice some changes inside this issue of Frequent Flyer, beginning with this UP FRONT page. While the logo experts were putting the finishing touches on the new exterior, our art director, Eve Cohen, was busy redesigning our departments and columns. We think that she has give our inside pages a fresh appearance that complements the sleek new front cover.

There’s at least one change in this issue we would have preferred not to make. INTELLIGENCER, you will note, has a new name: CONNECTION. It seems that Rupert Murdoch’s New York Magazine has won the trademark to the exclusive use of the world intelligencer as a column title. Apparently we could market toothpaste called "Intelligencer," but not a magazine page. While New York Magazine sought to register the title well after we began using it, they did use it first, and we agreed to make the change. Be assured, however, that CONNECTIONS will continue on behind-the-scenes travel developments.

Packaging is important, of course, but image and graphics are secondary to content in a magazine that wants to be taken seriously. With our redesign work completed, at least for now, we’ll be giving total attention to improving and refining our editorial product. The most recent addition to the magazine is a new series on TRAVEL LAW. That’s a department that can only grow in importance as deregulation shifts basic consumer issues from CAB (which is going out of business) to the courts. In January we launched a combined DFW/HOUSETON REPORT. And there’s more to come. That new cover is just the frosting on the cake.

If you have an opinion on frequent Flyer’s new look that’d you like to share with us—or anything else for that matter, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

This column originally appeared in Frequent Flyer magazine.

Copyright © 1991-2007 by Martin B. Deutsch. All rights reserved.