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The “new-look” journal: does it give the right impression?
  1. David F Mayor
  1. David F Mayor, 86 Handside Lane, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6SJ, UK; davidmayor{at}

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I have just had a browse through the “new-look” journal, which — as always — I have found useful, informative and thought-provoking. However, there are a couple of points I would like to make on presentation.

I know we shouldn’t dream of recycling a journal like this, which may well remain in dusty archives long after we have all rotted away, but personally I do dislike plastic-coated covers. The smooth, slippery feel of the new journal is much less attractive than the straightforward look of the old version. Being more slippery, in an informal observational study (n = 1) I found that it is also more difficult to manage on the sloping knees of even 50% polyester trousers (although, paradoxically, maybe in my guise as a tweed-clad traditional acupuncturist I would find this less of a problem).

In addition to being slippery, the cover is now much more shiny, with the contents printed in black on blue. This makes it really difficult to read, and is a poor choice for a high-calibre journal that wishes to attract a wider readership.

Indeed, I find the “new look” altogether less attractive than the old. The page size has been cut down, the paper is thinner and more grey, the typeface used is smaller and less definitive. As well as making the contents of the journal more difficult to read, this smacks of subservience to the corporate image rather than individuality, of a profession (medical specialism, if you prefer) allowing itself to be taken over rather than standing proudly on its own.

I hope that those who design the journal will heed any feedback you receive on the new format, and improve its looks to do justice to the steadily improving quality of its contents.

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  • Competing interests: None.

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