Dear Dwell (and the Redesign you rode in on),

You had it all. and you threw it all away.

Dwell, as a magazine, you were a force of content meets form, the likes of which had never been seen before. Clean typography, brilliant adherence to the grid, huge, well-composition-ed photographs, clever design evolution from issue to issue without ever straying too far from the core of what made you so awesome. I waited anxiously for every new issue to see the ways your designers would change the simplest elements and introduce small alterations that were simultaneously subtle and completely fresh. More than any other source, you were my biggest design inspiration on a consistent basis for YEARS.

And then I pick up the February 2008 issue.

Your redesign has viciously thrown you from the pedestal you so rightly deserved. You made the logo bigger, much to the detriment of the cover. Your typographic choices look amateur and forced (what’s going on with the y-height on some of your header text? It’s so exaggerated.) The dotted lines throughout the interior layout read quick and easy; the show instead of implying. (Am I supposed to cut your layouts out now? You forgot the little pair of scissors graphic.) The new grid is cramped, with hardly any of the breathing room that made your past issues refreshing in the sea of cookie cutter, thoughtlessly-designed magazines on the newsstand. And while I applaud the motivation behind switching to recycled paper, the magazine FEELS wrong now. It feels cheap. Especially the cover. It feels like everybody else, and you were NEVER everybody else.

Please, correct me if I’m wrong. This is like the moment where the pupil feels like the teacher has made a misstep: he clearly sees it as a wrong move, but he desperately doesn’t want to be right. He loves and respects his sensei far too much. I still want to feel “At Home in the Modern World” with you. It just seems like I’ll be doing so for the content only now, and not for the design inspiration anymore. 

Very, very sad,