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Communications of the ACM

Publisher's corner

The Softer Side of Communications

Scott E. Delman

They have worked tirelessly over the past year to develop a pipeline of high-quality articles that will keep the magazine at the level you have seen over the past few months. But there have also been other significant changes with the magazine. Among them is Communications' completely new look.

If you have not already noticed, please pick up a few issues from the first half of 2008 and compare them to any of the issues appearing since July, including this one. What you will see is the result of a carefully planned redesign that involved a partnership between ACM staff, the internationally recognized design firm Pentagram Design, and the magazine's new art and composition team Andrij Borys Associates.

The first thing you may notice from a design perspective is the striking cover of the magazine, including beautiful artwork, new text typography, and the generous use of white space. The combination of these three elements creates a cover design that is fresh, modern, uncluttered, and easily identifiable. The cover art itself is carefully selected or created by professional artists who in many instances are also computer scientists using complex programs and algorithms to generate the art. While we will deviate from this convention, we thought it was appropriate for the magazine to showcase work from within the community. Moreover, there is simply no denying the striking beauty of many of the images we saw from these artists.

Every effort is being made to keep the integrity of the magazine's graphics at a consistently high level.

For those of you interested in typefaces, we now use a combination of Foundry Gridnik, Arnhem, Flama, and Klavika. Foundry Gridnik is used for headlines throughout the magazine, including the cover logo. Arnhem is the typeface for the body text. The many colored decks and pull quotes throughout the issue are set in Flama type and Klavika is the typeface for tables and figures. Each of these fonts is unique and I would encourage anyone interested to learn more about their history. For example, Gridnik was originally created by Dutch designer Wim Crouwel in the late 1960s in Holland as a single-weight typewriter face and a version of this font appears on low-value stamps from the Dutch Post Office. The font was aptly named Gridnik for the designer's devotion to grids and systems.

To improve readability, we have moved to a three-column format for nearly all sections of the magazine and decreased the font size of article text from 11.5 to 9.5. This new format and point size allow us to publish more words on each page than the traditional two-column format, which has become increasingly important in an age of swelling printing costs and verbose writing, while at the same time not compromising the readability of articles. It is a careful balance, but I believe we have gotten it right.

Where possible, we will use images, photographs, and artwork provided by our authors, but every effort is being made to keep the integrity of the magazine's graphics at a consistently high level, so our art and composition team maintains diligent control over this process. In addition, unlike many scholarly publications, Communications magazine will alter figures and tables for improved visual affect. We work closely with a company called SPi Global Solutions on the typesetting of our full-length research papers. SPi has extensive experience working with the scientific and scholarly community and is among the world's largest providers of typesetting services to the journal publishing industry. The result of this collaboration can be seen throughout the Research Highlights section (beginning on page 85) reflecting a format that is as appealing as any scholarly journal in existence today.

All of these changes work together to create what we at ACM believe is a more appealing magazine for our readership. We hope you will agree.


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©2008 ACM  0001-0782/08/1000  $5.00

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