Field Notes Week 3 – Rolling Stone Typography and Language


Whenever you think of Rolling Stone the immediate colors that should come to your mind are red, black and white. These three colors are a part of the iconic logo and also make up the cover caption colors as well as the table of contents.

While the logo makes use of curling its lettering the rest of the publication uses sherif font typically using all caps in heads and lower case in decs. The font plays with different levels of boldness but is always narrow between letters.

The specific fonts used are Parkinson and Titling Gothic FB  and throughout the publication the magazine puts an emphasis on the head of content and body.

What is also interesting is the way they organize their departments by placing it in a red color and significantly smaller size than the head. However what this seems to do is make the content not have to compete with the paper’s organization. In other words the department heads serve as guidelines for stories and once you land on the page you are seeking your eye goes to the head and dec and puts the department title out of prominence.

The consistence of font and color unifies all the sections of the paper and even though each page has a different feel they are all framed in the same manner to give consistency.



What makes the content of Rolling Stone most distinct however is their use of language. Their word choice throughout is edgy and does not edit quotations with explicit material. Their word choice makes much of their political coverage more engaging for readers especially those who find political issues dull.

Overall the headlines are pretty punctual and straight to the point. Sub heads can get a little wordier but overall there is little ambiguity as to what a story is about.

Pull quotes are always central to story and may raise questions about what prompted the response

Similar to the headlines the department heds are straight forward and all contain the same color components to their design. However there is a slight difference when it comes to the section heads. The ones centered around music just use font design, entertainment sections use a box to highlight the department text and politics places the font on a banner that slightly resembles a flag. Again while the department heads are very similar these slight differences aid in informing the reader that the topic they are engaging with is different.

Throughout their history Rolling Stone has had a very similar tone and language guiding their reporting and editorial work but in recent years it seems that they have brought more cohesion to their typography and design to better organize and display content.