Hitting Refresh

Hitting Refresh

An updated approach for the way we work today.

This month, we’re releasing the 335th issue of Twin Cities Business, which marks the start of our 30th year of publishing. Flipping the page on a new decade got us thinking about how we want to present TCB in its 30s: modern, dynamic, accessible, flexible. And a bit trimmer around the edges (because who wouldn’t relish the chance to shed an inch or two as they mature?).

Twin Cities Business debuted in August 1993 as an oversized book. It towered over other business magazines on the newsstand (and sometimes was relegated to a lower shelf because it didn’t fit). “It was a differentiator,” recalls Gary Johnson, the recently retired president of TCB’s parent company MSP Communications. TCB debuted in a crowded market, with four other local business publications. “We needed to be bold.”  

We still have that gutsy ethos today, even though we’re no longer the underdog. Our updated look is designed to reflect that evolution—not just ours, as a magazine, but that of the business community we serve. If our old size was tailored for a boxy briefcase, the new, sleeker profile will tuck into a bike bag or tote. Because work happens everywhere today, in lots of different ways. 

Here’s a quick tour of highlights before you dig in: 

  1. Agenda. We’ve renamed the front section of the magazine and refocused our coverage. “The Ask” answers questions we know people are buzzing about—or will be, after they read it. We’re also prioritizing work culture advice and design—not only the places we work, but how we work. We hope you come away with conversation starters and inspiration—a book or podcast to try, a startup to follow, an expert with whom you want to connect on LinkedIn.  
  2. TCB Insights. We’re introducing a new sponsored content section where professionals from a variety of sectors can share their expertise and perspectives on current industry trends. 
  3. A perfect-bound publication. Allow me to reveal my inner publishing nerd long enough to share how delighted we are to move away from staples to a perfect binding for the hard copy of the publication. Technically, that means we’re now held together by adhesive. Functionally, this is the stronger option for our magazine, which has grown in pages since we combined months. Aesthetically, it gives us added polish. As TCB’s publisher and tireless champion Shelly Elmore says, “It’s going to look beautiful on bookshelves.” 

Every font, dash, quote, and illustration on these pages is the result of hours of consideration and debate. You might not notice many of the updates—that, too, is by design. If you spend some extra time with the magazine, display it a while longer on the coffee table, or share it with a colleague, then we’re doing our job. Our new look is the reflection of deeper, internal work—an exercise vital to any team. This process pushed us to consider our priorities. It forced us to think about the purpose of a print publication in 2022: no longer the only product we produce, but rather the cornerstone of a content constellation—website, newsletters, panel discussions, awards, events, podcasts, social media—designed to keep you informed and connected with our multidimensional business community and to dive deeper than the headlines for context, opportunities, and solutions.

Our new look is the reflection of deeper, internal work—an exercise vital to any team.

The redesign work also brought some of our team back together at the office for the first time in two years. There, we pinned pages on walls and stood side by side, analyzing and discussing. It reminded us that we’re at our best when we collaborate.  

This project benefitted from the discerning eye of Cities Media Group president Jayne Haugen Olson, a true master of the small touches that make a big difference, and a vigilant keeper of our company’s legacy and point of view. Creative director Michael Norseng elevates every photo, every layout he touches, and always with an eye toward storytelling. We benefit from collaboration with our sister publication Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and appreciate deputy creative director Kelsey Heads expertise. But much of what you’ll see here is the handiwork of TCBs talented art director Mike Novak, who has spent countless hours mocking up ideas and interpreting editorssuggestions. I think he sums it up best: “A good redesign has form, function, and beauty. It has compromise, care, and thought. A redesign is alive. Will it be perfect on the date it prints? Nope. But it will evolve as living things do.”

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