The New York Times Magazine’s design approach is simple and straightforward, and although it doesn’t feature much furniture, it uses many of the same templates for stories so each issue is consistent with the next.
One element that is used throughout each section of the magazine is lines. Most times, these are thin lines used to break up columns of text or separate the folio from the body copy. These lines are occasionally thicker when used in certain pull quotes or cut lines, but the thinner lines are more consistent throughout each issue. They help guide the reader through the page and provide barriers signaling when to start and when to stop. The magazine could probably use thicker lines more often to offer some contrast on pages that are lacking it.
The magazine only uses drop caps in its feature stories, but they set the first few words in bold in each of the stories from other sections. This design choice isn’t used by every magazine and helps The New York Times Magazine set itself apart while maintaining a sense of consistency with each section and issue. That being said, at first glance, it can be difficult to sense where a story starts, and drop caps tend to help add character and break up bigger blocks of text.
Each article ends with a diamond shape to let the reader know the story is finished. This basic shape is consistent with the simple design of the magazine and helps guide the reader especially when there are multiple stories featured on a page. The magazine could afford to use more shapes or icons like this in order to better distinguish each section and add some variety to the pages.
Each story also features some form of white space surrounding the headline. Sometimes it appears above the headline (most commonly in the “First Words” section), but most often it appears below the text. The amount of white space varies depending on the photo featured in the article or the size of the headline, but making the amount of white space more consistent would make the design choice appear more intentional.