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  • Opinion

    Notice Anything Different?

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    Richard P. Mills, MD, MPH

    By Richard P. Mills, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Editor, EyeNet

    With this issue, EyeNet has reached a milestone—Volume 20—but that’s not the reason for our new look. Neither is the new look occasioned by my stepping down as Chief Medical Editor after February. Instead, it is part of the Academy’s new brand initiative, launching this month. If only my family and I could have waited 20 years, as the Academy has, before going shopping for new clothes, to change our look from the “so-90s!” The EyeNet redesign is the work of our art director, the incredibly creative Carey Ballard, and the Academy branding team led by Renaldo Juanso, Vice President of Communications & Marketing. My unbiased opinion is that there’s a new openness and airiness to our magazine, and I hope that you agree.

    If you are like me, when your spouse moves the furniture in the living room, or the artwork on the walls, and then asks, “What do you think?” you need to stall for a bit before replying so you can figure out just what she or he is talking about. I need help seeing the changes even though they are right there in front of me and I am looking at them. (I have the same sort of problem when searching for the mayo in the refrigerator or the Westcott scissors on the Mayo stand.) So, I figure you could use some help identifying the changes around here. EyeNet has a new cover design that clearly identifies the publication with the Academy. That’s appropriate, because the Academy stands behind the reliability of the clinical content inside. Speaking of which, there will be essentially no change in the emphasis we place on balanced clinical reporting. We strive to include at least 2 contrasting points of view, since the “truth” is often difficult to ascertain until the future plays out. The typeface of EyeNet on the cover, and of the section heads inside, is brand-new. Each of the magazine’s sections can be easily identified by the color of the semicircle at the top of the page and the color of the heading for each article: Red is for clinical content; blue is for viewpoints, like letters and moi Opinion; and purple is for nonclinical content, like Academy Notebook, Practice Perfect, and Savvy Coder.

    But the new look is not confined to EyeNet; in fact, it is Academy-wide. We are creating a new brand identity to consolidate all the disparate programs that did not always show a clear connection to the Academy. Those among you who doubt that a brand identity is critical for success can search for the forward arrow in the FedEx logo. (Hint: It’s in white between the bottom of the E and the x.) It’s on all their trucks and packages; it’s not accidental, it’s a brand, and it implies the urgent delivery of your parcels.

    The rollout of the new Academy brand is occurring this month, and many of you saw a preview at the annual meeting in Las Vegas. Central to this brand is the new Academy logo, a purple circle with a small central pupil full of light and multiple radii. We also have a new tagline: “Protecting Sight. Empowering Lives.” If that doesn’t describe you as an ophthalmologist, what does?

    In addition to this logo, you will see a lot of circles, connoting an eye, as a unifying design element throughout Academy products and programs. These circles may be large—for example, on publication covers or photo insets—or small, like the semicircles that appear at the top of EyeNet pages. They won’t be intrusive, so they won’t disrupt the content, but they will subtly suggest the importance of what we do. When the logo appears, “American Academy of Ophthalmology” will be printed on the right side of the logo.

    I am sure that some of you are muttering, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” You might have been perfectly happy with the multiple names and brands across the Academy’s portfolio—like Focal Points, EyeSmart, ONE Network, IRIS Registry. But the proliferation of these individual identities, which occurred gradually over the years, has made it difficult (even for Academy insiders) to identify them with the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Now, thanks to the new brand initiative, they will be more strongly linked with the AAO both in name and logo. So, back to moving the furniture at your house. Hang in there; you will get used to it.