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Departments: First Word

 

  
   

Quality Digest v. 5.0

We've got a new look for our 25th year

by Dirk Dusharme

 

 

Don't worry, you are indeed holding a copy of Quality Digest magazine, the same one you've been receiving for months or years. No, you didn't accidentally subscribe to yet another magazine for quality professionals (three should be sufficient).

Periodically, so to speak, magazines feel the need to change their look. This is always a scary thing and never taken lightly. The logo and overall look of a magazine is its identity, so you want to make sure there's a good (or at least rational) reason for changing it.

In our case, there were three reasons. First, reader feedback indicated that you wanted information to be easier to find and stories to include more real-life examples. Second, the existing look was more than 10 years old and, like an old sofa, it began to feel a bit lumpy. Third, well, frankly, we just got bored of looking at it and wanted to do something new. No offense to those of you who devote your life to this topic, but publishing a magazine on quality is not quite as exciting as publishing one on, say, exotic travel or chocolate, so we've got to get our kicks somewhere--hence the new look. By the way, everything that's good about the new look is due to our overworked art director Caylen Balmain. Anything bad is probably because we ignored his suggestions.

We've already been sneaking in some of the content changes over the last few months. You may have noticed the "Know & Go" section at the beginning of each article--a bulleted list of key points. Also, we're trying to include real or hypothetical case studies in most stories to help illustrate the topic--part of our overall goal of humanizing our content. There's no reason why articles on standards or the latest measuring tool shouldn't have a human element. We haven't completely succeeded in this goal, but hang with us; that's the direction we're taking.

The most noticeable change is the new logo on the cover. It's not only cleaner but also helps with the cover layout. Most of you probably don't know that the U.S. Postal Service requires mailing labels to be a certain size and appear in a certain place on a magazine. Between the label and our former square logo, we didn't have much room for pretty pictures.

Speaking of change, in November Quality Digest will release a special edition to commemorate our 25th year. We'll be going through our archives and highlighting favorite articles and authors from the past quarter-century. We're proud to have had Ken Blanchard, Steven Covey, Phil Crosby and Tom Peters as a few of our past columnists. And trends? Does anybody remember benchmarking, zero defects, TQM or quality circles (hey, that's where we got our start)? How about lean or reengineering, two hot topics from a decade ago that lasted about as long as a black widow's love life, but have recently resurfaced.

Then again, some might argue that in 25 years, there's been no change at all, just a repackaging: quality circles, total quality management, Six Sigma, The Next Big Thing. Past dire predictions: "ISO 9000 is just a fad."

We'd like you to help us write the November issue of Quality Digest by letting us know your favorite Quality Digest article ("Banana Thinking," anyone?), or your favorite quality fads that have passed into oblivion. Send your reminiscences to the e-mail address in the "Comments" box below.

And don't worry--we may have changed our look, but we're still dedicated to bringing you relevant, up-to-date information on all aspects of quality.