Bierut redesigns Billboard

Pentagram partner Michael Bierut has redesigned music industry trade magazine Billboard, creating a new identity, a new editorial format, and new-look chart-rankings pages.

Prince on the front cover of the redesigned Billboard
Prince on the front cover of the redesigned Billboard

Distributed internationally, US-based Billboard was established in 1894 and claims to be one of the world’s oldest trade magazines. It has carried its signature ‘Hot 100’ chart rankings since 1958.

Over the past decade it has moved from being a trade newspaper to taking on a colour magazine format, and Bierut was brought in to redesign it in this format, working alongside Billboard creative director Andrew Horton, editorial director Bill Werde and editor Joe Levy.

A spread from the redesigned Billboard
A spread from the redesigned Billboard

Bierut has created a new identity for Billboard, which is set entirely in lower-case, and drops the coloured circles from the previous logo (although these are still used on the Billboard website and in marketing).

This is intended to make the print version look immediately more ‘serious and grown-up’ according to Pentagram.

New identity (colour version)
New identity (colour version)

The previous identity
The previous identity

Inside the magazine, sections have been reorganised and restructured, and page layouts are opened up, with graphs, pull-quotes and other data appearing in the margins.

A major part of the project was remaking the magazine’s showcase charts, to be more easily understood.

The new Hot 100 chart
The new Hot 100 chart

Bierut says, ‘For me, helping to redesign the Billboard charts was the ultimate information design challenge.’

The charts have been redrawn to appear at a larger scale and across more pages. Black and white replaces the previous colour-coding in the charts, and more spacing has been introduced to make them easier to read.

The previous Hot 100 chart
The previous Hot 100 chart

Weekly record rankings have been reorganised, with earlier rankings moved to the left and coloured grey, leading up to current rankings in black. A new ‘Coda’ information graphic charts movement and other trends.

The new Billboard is launching with its 26 January edition, featuring cover-star Prince.

A detail of the new Hot 100 chart
A detail of the new Hot 100 chart

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