As you have probably already noticed, American Family Physician has a new look and a new feel. This issue represents the culmination of a year-long redesign process. We began by gathering information through questionnaires, focus groups and brainstorming sessions to pinpoint what our readers liked and disliked about our current design. At the same time, we searched for a talented designer who would be committed to sorting through a wealth of opinions and finding effective ways to improve the look of the journal. In the end, we hoped to freshen things up a bit and improve readability while retaining the journal's integrity.
Our research revealed room for improvement in several graphic aspects of the journal, including the cover, the table of contents, the type style, the overall page layout and the styling of tables and figures. The new cover, while retaining familiar elements, has been made more distinctive through a refined logo and the dramatic addition of a color block. A touch of color adds visual interest to the inside pages as well.
Readers indicated that they would prefer to review the table of contents at a glance, so the contents has been simplified to fit a two-page format in most issues. In the process, the listing of “Tips from Other Journals” has been moved to the opening page of the department, with titles grouped into categories so that subjects of interest are easier to locate.
There was also a general feeling that the type style of AFP had become dated, so the designer selected a modern, elegant type style. Going hand-in-hand with the new typeface are revised page layouts that are reminiscent of the old design yet more graceful. Tables and figures also have been refined. And, since we've had frequent requests for more reading aids in articles, a new design element has been added: key take-home points of an article are now highlighted and placed in easy-to-scan boxes set apart from the text.
A new department also appears in this issue: “Photo Quiz” (see page 107). Coordinated by Marc S. Berger, M.D., C.M., of the Reading (Pa.) Hospital and Medical Center, the department will challenge readers on their ability to make a diagnosis based on photos, radiographs or other figures, along with a brief history. A short explanation of the correct diagnosis follows.
Apart from these changes, you'll probably notice that AFP has a slightly trimmer feel. This is related to our efforts to keep the journal at a manageable size with the change in frequency to 20 issues—also starting in 1998. We're looking forward to the new year with our new look, and we hope you will too.