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Bloomberg Pursuits relaunch

Bloomberg Pursuits relaunch

This week Bloomberg Pursuits, the quarterly sister of Bloomberg Businessweek, is relaunched with a new design by BBW creative director Rob Vargas. Rob joined the BBW team alongside then creative director Richard Turley in 2010, helping develop the multi-award winning redesign of that title. Before joining the Bloomberg team he worked for Blender, New York and Details.

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It looks like you’re having great fun with the design aesthetic of the Bloomberg Pursuits; can you describe it?
It started with a memo new editor Emma Rosenblum wrote. The idea I got most excited about was approaching luxury in a way that wasn't so serious and self-important. Some magazines targeting the luxury consumer seem to have an antiquated picture of who that is. They aren’t all flying around in private jets, wearing tuxedos and ball gowns, and clinking champagne glasses! The archetype of a successful person is broader than it’s ever been before. People are creating their own definitions of what success looks like, as opposed to abiding by some homogenous standard, and I think that's a great thing.

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So to bring it back to the design and photography approach, we avoided things like pouty photoshopped models in baroque settings and fonts that have been deemed fashion appropriate. We actually have no models in our shoots and went for a looser approach to the typography. It's meant to be more accessible, and a little more reflective of what the experience of spending money well can feel like, which is fun.

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How long have you been working on the redesign, and is it produced by the same team as Bloomberg Businessweek?
Initial conversations about the redesign started at the beginning of 2015, but most of the work started around March. The photography director, Clinton Cargill, and I have the same roles at Businessweek as we do at Bloomberg Pursuits. Additionally, we have Ben Bours as our art director and Leonor Mamanna as our photo editor. That’s the core Bloomberg Pursuits art team. But having so many smart creatives within arms reach, it would be a waste not to occasionally cross-pollinate. So, some of the Businessweek staff, like Meagan Ziegler-Haynes, Alis Atwell, and Braulio Amado have contributed to Pursuits, and Ben has designed for Businessweek, too.

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Pursuits was previously quite different to Businessweek, yet the new design brings a BBW-ish ironic design style. Is there a master plan for Bloomberg mags being developed?
There are certain things that Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Pursuits share on a design level. Pursuits has definitely adopted some of the free-spirited nature of Businessweek, but I don’t think we mean it to necessarily be ironic. What we sometimes do at the weekly is create a design where the typography screams “This is awesome!!!!” but we’re actually talking about stock prices or something. It’s a way to get energy in and also poke a bit of fun at our world.

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But with Pursuits, if the design is saying “This is awesome!!!” we actually mean it. It’s a completely different world. There are no political circuses or wars or financial crises in the world of Pursuits. It’s meant to be an escape — pure pleasure-seeking. I realize it could be a bit confusing at first since they share some visual similarities, but we think that once readers become familiar with the editorial voice of Pursuits the difference will be clearer.

The DNA of Businessweek has definitely influenced other parts of the media group, including the websites, but we approach every design challenge on a case-by-case basis. The closest thing we have to a formal overarching philosophy is to make our products as surprising as we can.

Bloomberg Pursuits Cover1 cover 2
Bloomberg Pursuits, covers before and after the redesign.

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