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Behind Smashing Magazine’s New Design – The Font

The recognized Smashing Magazine has been around for a very long time, and during this time, there has been quite a consistent design approach to it. In fact, I can only remember one design prior to the current one from 2012 to 2017.

I liked the old design a lot. To me, it was very organized, minimal yet reader-friendly. If they had sold that theme after they have switched their design, I would’ve been among the first people to buy it. It is no exaggeration that it is one of my favorite website designs of all time.

In this article, we’re going to cover the new design, with the font selection in focus.

The Old Smashing Magazine Font

Proxima Nova, probably one of the most popular premium web fonts out there was in use on Smashing Magazine.

No wonder that if we search for “Proxima Nova”, one of the results on the first page will have ‘free alternatives’ in the title. Yes, I’m guilty too. I was looking for free Alternatives in the past as well, just to learn that there are no real free alternatives.

Most sources mention Montserrat – a free Google Font. Montserrat is not an alternative for Proxima Nova as far as I see it.

The beauty of Proxima Nova is that it fits perfectly with any type of design. The text flows effortlessly with this font. Not many fonts can say the same about themselves if any.

The Redesign of Smashing Magazine and its New Font

In late 2017 the new design was rolled out. With the new design came a new set of fonts.

Say hello to Elena.

Elena is also a premium font, that fits in pretty well with SM’s current look, but I do find it less readable to the eye than Proxima Nova.

From my perspective, the previous design was unique, it stood the test of time and was strongly associated with the Smashing Magazine brand.

We all need a design that speaks about our brand instantaneously.

The New Look or the Old Look?

For me, certainly the old look was more appealing.

Looking at the fonts only, Proxima Nova was a clear success in the site’s history. For anyone looking the answer to the question above, I’d recommend going with Proxima Nova.

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