The In-House Type: The Hollywood Reporter


"In my experience, learning and enhancing typography skills comes fairly organically from working on pages for the magazine every day," says Kelsey Stefanson, Assistant Art Director at The Hollywood Reporter. "It's a fun 'learn the rules before you can break them' environment."

Kelsey Stefanson
Kelsey Stefanson

Typography is truly integrated with the business of editorial design, because your goal is to create interaction with the reader. That's why TypeEd spoke to Stefanson about how The Hollywood Reporter keeps typography fresh in their work.

After receiving her BFA in Art and Design at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Kelsey Stefanson moved to LA and began working as an art director in the entertainment advertising field. While she learned a lot, she realized that it wasn't what she was truly interested in, which had always been typography. She decided to start working at The Hollywood Reporter.

At The Hollywood Reporter (THR) Stefanson works both with a design and photo team in the art department to put out the weekly magazine. The design team works with the editors and writers to lay out pages according to the information that needs to be conveyed, from breaking news to fun pieces about the latest Hollywood fashion trends, to in-depth feature stories. Stories can range from single, pre-formatted pages to multi-page stories that require design from the ground up.


Typographic Approach

"The foundation of what The Hollywood Reporter's Creative Director, Shanti Marlar and, by extension, Chief Creative Officer Janice Min, looks for in terms of typography starts with the templates we have for every section and page of the magazine that were set up when THR was first transformed into a weekly edition a few years ago," Stefanson says. "When someone is new to the design team, she'll start with pages of the magazine that are very templated and work forward with feedback from our creative director and design director Peter Cury to learn how to take those fundamentals and apply them to more complicated pages."


She clarifies, "the more complicated a page (i.e., a ton of charts or multiple stories with sidebars), the more we have to focus on typography and hierarchy."

Staying Inspired

One of the best ways is just to witness the work the people around are creating is inspiring enough to do equally great work. "It's always inspiring to see what other magazines are doing creatively, too. We're also encouraged to change things up at THR so that the design of the magazine doesn't get stale week-to-week. And Pinterest! Natch."

Adhering to the Brand

"The brand of THR as a magazine varies in looseness based on what section of the magazine is being worked on, and what type of story is being presented. The 'loosest' would be a feature story, which will hopefully be something completely new to the reader, while still feeling like THR because of the use of the same set of typefaces and similar photographic style," Stefanson explains.

"A page's design is always a conversation between multiple people: the designer, creative director, editor, editor-in-chief, photo director, and sometimes others. All contribute to the final outcome of the look of the page."


How The Hollywood Reporter Keeps Looking Great

  1. First, it starts with the designer, who will design their page(s) according to what the edit side requires.
  2. After being approved by all parties involved, the art production staff works through every page to double-check that the elements align with our design guidelines.
  3. This back-and-forth happens simultaneously throughout the week as the layout and story is updated, finalized, and finally shipped.
  4. "The Wall" is where miniature versions of every page are displayed, to see how all the pages of the magazine are coming together as a whole. The creative director always has an eye on how pages work together, and the team is encouraged to think about that big-picture as well, so the reader has a nice and cohesive issue to read.

If you know of any in-house types you'd like to hear about, please leave a comment and let us know.