Most of the furniture that TIME Magazine uses is in the form of lines, carrots and boxes. Beginning with the table of contents, TIME uses lines to separate content, boxes to group similar elements together and carrots to draw the reader’s eye to the top or beginning of an element.
The combination of lines and boxes allows the reader to visually separate an element from others on the page and also aids in breaking up the monotony of just using lines. On the Verbatim page, for example, TIME uses thick and thin lines and gray boxes to set different quotes apart from each other. Within stories, TIME uses gray boxes to draw the reader’s attention to a sidebar or something supplemental to the main story, that’s often placed in between columns of the story. This element helps the reader figure out that that element is supposed to be read separately from the story.
Carrots, or arrows, are used mostly in the front and back of the book to let the reader know where the start of the element, or to connect a caption to its photo. Most of the time, captions are either on top of the photo or set in a way that otherwise breaks the layout of the page so the reader knows that that copy is for the photo and not part of the story. Seen here, the caption is inside the column, in the same font as the rest of the copy, so there’s a red arrow to let the reader know that it’s a caption and not part of the story. Compare that with this caption, that breaks the grid, so it’s evident visually that it isn’t part of the main story, so a carrot isn’t necessary.
TIME’s overall approach to design is simple and straightforward, so it makes sense that the furniture of the magazine is plain and subdued: black lines, differing in thickness; subtle gray boxes and carrots in the publication’s signature color, red.