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Am Fam Physician. 2004;70(1):9

If you are looking at this issue of AFP and think you are seeing things, you’re right. AFP has undergone a transformation, and maybe you’ve flipped to this page to find out what’s happening. AFP has reached a new level “in design” with this issue. Readers who are curious about graphic design may be interested to know that AFP is now being put together with a different page layout program, called In Design, using a style created by a local artist/graphic designer. But it may be enough for you to know we’ve updated the pages of AFP with some design changes and some changes in editorial concept.

One significant change you’ll note is a reorganization of the table of contents listing for departments. Rather than being listed in numerical sequence, the departments have been organized into categories that describe the purpose of the content, and they have been listed in order of priority. You might now find your favorite departments by browsing through the following sections of the table of contents: “Keeping Up to Date,” “Answering Clinical Questions,” “Commentary,” “Medicine and Society,” and “Readers Services.” Each category has a color-coded bar over it that will match the color bar on the cover pages of the departments in that category. If you are looking for clinical updates, for instance, you can find Keeping Up to Date departments by skimming through pages with the matching blue color bar. Or, if you know generally where the departments fall in the issue, you can go straight there, because the order of the departments has not been changed.

If you are looking for “Clinical Briefs,” however, you should know that they have been merged with the related department “Practice Guidelines,” and you will no longer see the “Clinical Briefs” title listed in the table of contents. The short news items will follow at the end of the longer reports. Along a similar line, “Cochrane for Clinicians” will now present the traditional longer summary followed by shorter summaries so that more topics are included in each issue.

Other changes you will see include a redesigned cover and new layouts for articles and departments that create a more standardized, updated look for the journal. Perhaps you’ll notice that we’ll no longer be distinguishing most articles series with special banners, including “Practical Therapeutics,” “Problem-Oriented Diagnosis,” “Office Procedures,” “Clinical Pharmacology,” “Radiologic Decision-Making” and “Caring for Common Skin Problems.” The journal will still have the same article content and the same contributors, who will be acknowledged at the end of each article, but without the series labels in the table of contents and without the banners as a graphic element.

The end product is the result of a six-month redesign process by a design team under the oversight of Robert L. Edsall, who is editorial director at the American Academy of Family Physicians, and also editor-in-chief of AFP’s sister publication, Family Practice Management.

Christine Schneider, who serves as the art coordinator for FPM , was selected to conceive the new AFP design. In fact, you might observe in AFP some design elements reminiscent of FPM , which Christine updated several years ago, and Annals of Family Medicine, which Christine designed before its launch in 2003.

Christine Schneider is an artist who lives in Lawrence, Kan., and is an author and illustrator of children’s books. Some of her creative talents are reflected in the icons that now set apart the cover pages of AFP’s departments. For more samples of Christine’s work, go to

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Copyright © 2004 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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