Behind the Scenes of the Air Canada enRoute Redesign


How we rebuilt Air Canada enRoute from the ground up.

Each month, a new issue of enRoute appears in your seatback pocket on every Air Canada flight you take. This month, you’ll notice we’ve changed – with a list of fresh contributors, new sections, bold typefaces, a new grid, a rich paper stock and more photography than ever before. For the past six months, the enRoute team has been reimagining what an inflight publication can be. enRoute is no longer just the magazine you read at 30,000 feet – it’s a hub for new ideas and voices. It’s a community that lives in print and online. Digital editor Stephanie Mercier Voyer sat down with editor–in–chief Jody Sugrue and art director Stefanie Sosiak to talk about the process and the ideas behind the enRoute redesign.

July 1, 2019

enRoute Can you talk me through the reasoning behind the redesign? What did you feel wasn’t quite working and needed updating?

Stefanie Sosiak The magazine and the website hadn’t been updated in years. We wanted to find new ways to tell stories and reach a more travel – and content–savvy audience.

Jody Sugrue The old website didn’t allow us to create the kind of multimedia storytelling we wanted. We also wanted to make it easy for readers to find the type of content they were looking for. Air Canada was keen to update the brand, and we were excited to get the opportunity to build on the success of the magazine.

Section openers of enRoute magazine display large numbers against a red background

ER How would you describe the artistic direction of the new enRoute?

SS Minimalist and visually conscious.

ER What were some of the main considerations you and the rest of the team were thinking about behind the scenes?

JS One of our main goals was to continue raising the standards of what an inflight magazine is. We didn’t just want to make a better inflight magazine – we wanted to make a great magazine that can live anywhere.

ER Air Canada and enRoute have a rich history together. When it came to the redesign, did you try to pay homage to that or ignore it?

SS We totally paid homage to it. For example, we use Air Canada’s iconic red as pops of colour throughout the book. We also incorporated the Air Canada rondelle in the new logo, but set it apart from their other brands by giving the typeface a sleeker feel.

An image from the Moshe Safdie interview within enRoute's Canada Issue

ER Can you tell us a little more about the new typefaces?

SS The typography choices were inspired by aviation. Each section of the magazine opens with a striking double page with large numbers influenced by airport signage typography. The font we use for sidebars, slugs and page numbering also pays homage to classic flight manuals.

ER Making way for more arresting photography was one of the objectives of the redesign. How will the redesign not only of the magazine, but also of the website and social platforms, allow this idea to expand?

JS Even before launching the new enRoute, our social platforms had allowed us to collaborate with new voices, experiment with surprising ways to look at the planet and build out our creative community. The magazine will be building off of that, and we will continue to work with photographers and artists we know and love, while making room for new voices with different styles and perspectives.

SS In the magazine, we introduced more white space to really allow the content and photography to shine through. The new website will now allow us to infinitely expand our photography offerings by sharing a larger selection of images that couldn’t make it into the magazine for lack of space.

An image from the Moshe Safdie interview within enRoute's Canada Issue
An article about Damas from enRoute's Canada Issue lying open on a royal blue armchair

ER What are your personal favourite changes in terms of design of the magazine?

SS My favourite touch is the red spine and the uncoated cover stock. It really gives the cover a rich tactile feel. It feels like you’re reading something special.

JS I love that design is only seen in certain moments – it really comes down to the great visuals and storytelling.

ER What are your personal favourite changes in terms of editorial direction?

JS Launching the print magazine around themes. It gives us an opportunity to explore travel in fun and surprising ways.

SS I like that the stories have something thoughtful to offer the reader instead of being straightforward travel features. We’re now able to explore the nuances of travel.

The table of contents from enRoute's Canada Issue

ER How do you want people to feel when they pick up the new enRoute in their seatback pocket?

SS Intrigued, and that they learned something new about the world.

JS I want them to feel like curling up and diving in. I want them to get off the plane and tell friends about something they read in it. And then I’d also love for them to feel like going to our website and becoming part of our community on social!

ER How would you describe the difference between the magazine and the website in terms of purpose and the types of content they provide?

JS The magazine focuses more on timeless stories, while the website and social will offer resources and stories for readers looking to plan a trip. I’m especially excited for people to discover our new city guides – they’re beautiful!

ER What do you hope people will take away from visiting the enRoute website?

JS I hope they discover the range of stories we are telling, from the highly informative pieces to the thoughtful narratives. I hope they decide to come back to see what’s new every week!