…That’s the short of what I’ll be blogging about this week. If you’re one of those people who like to be
utterly blown away pleasantly surprised when a new magazine plops on your doormat, stop reading now. If, on the other hand, you want to know why we decided to embark on an intense period of redesign, how those changes evolved and what the results will be when EON is sent around the world at the end of next week (and ends up in your hands a little while after), feel free to stick around.
When we sat down a short while ago at our Fanfest roundtable to discuss EON, one of the first things to announce and reveal was the redesign we were in the midst of. The first response from those in attendance was along the lines of ‘why bother?’ If the small group around us was in any way representative of EON’s readership, it seemed that you guys rather liked the look and feel of the magazine just the way it is… or rather, was. Then we passed around a copy of the new-look Testflight and the response was ‘oooh, nice.’
For the record the new Testflight pages aren’t a huge departure from the old, but just as you might grudgingly embark on repainting your walls at home even though the old colours remain vibrant and strong, sometimes a new lick of paint immediately freshens the place up. That may seem like scant motivation (especially if, like me, you have to be ordered to paint walls lest beer rights be revoked), but as soon as you break open some new colours and start painting, the fumes can really get to you and spur you on.
Of course the redesign hasn’t just been about new fonts, column sizes, slugs and other items of publisher porn that gets us in the office all lathered up; a lot of thought has gone into the content as well. Remember that it’s been six years since we sat down to plan the first issue, a time before wormholes or dreadnoughts; when the likes of Goonfleet were a distant drone and less than 50,000 people had EVE subscriptions. Since then the magazine has evolved a great deal as we’ve brought in new regular articles, quietly dropped others and tweaked the look of things, but we’ve never found the time that we could all sit down together and question every element on every page and why it existed, partly because, actually, we rather liked EON the way it was too.
The EVE community has also changed a great deal in six years. In 2005 EVE players were very much concentrated around the official site, especially the forum. There were very few dedicated EVE bloggers, just a handful of independent news sites and social networking was only just beginning to take a hold of the internet. We’ve made some attempts to accommodate the efforts of the EVE community, but I’ll admit we’ve been rather inconsistent at it. Now that we have Dogma on the team, we can start thinking about supporting the efforts of those who do a bit more for players that post across the
new old forums.
Truth be told, we perhaps should have thought about redesigning the magazine before now. Most magazines are refreshed and rebooted every two or three years. Maybe it’s testament to how really quite good EON has been that we kept it “ticking along” for so long. We’ve since realised of course that it’s time to turn off the autopilot and inch ever-so-slightly more into the unknown.