Venerable technocapitalist cheerleader (or apologist) Wired has undergone a sobering redesign, in which quite a few changes have taken place. Gone, gone, gone, are the Wired Index (which is messed up: watching how tech stocks fare in a downturn is MUCH more interesting than watching them in a giant boom – wait, maybe they canned this a while ago) and the Ticker, that long, multi-page, one-line thread of text that was used as a divider in the opening profiles and news nuggets.
Also, apparently gone are the multipage visual introductions to features. The most subtle change I noticed was the abandonment of Wired’s house font, Wiredbaum, for body text.
In a flash of creativity (not), they’ve gone all out in the search for the most radical, challenging, forward looking font family that could possibly use for heads, subs, captions, and body copy and determined that the font which most fervently matches today’s zoom-zoom techno-conomy is…. Helvetica, a font which first came to prominence in the late 1920s and last saw truly universal employment in design during the recession of the 1970s.
Uh. Maybe this, like the well-known skirt index, is a sign that the current economic downturn will be a long one.
On a positive note, this was the first issue in a long time that I did not throw across the room in irritation at least once. I loved the first two years of Wired; but once they started running covers featuring 60-year-old money managers, I knew my love affair was over.
For the last few years Wired’s editorial direction was driven by the lust for dough and no longer the lust for technoutopia, no matter how hard they tried to convince their readership that they were the same thing. They ain’t, never have been, and shouldn’t be. The more they played up that neoclassical global capitalist cheerleading claptrap the more my stomach hurt from reading the damn thing.