If you look closely at the pages of this magazine, you might notice something different. It’s very subtle, but also important. And if you worked with us here at the office, you’d really notice a change. Do you give up? We have a new design director, J.R. Arebalo, Jr.

J.R. has been working with American Airlines Publishing for almost five years, most recently as the design director for Southwest Spirit (betcha didn’t know we also publish the onboard magazine for Southwest Airlines). In his time there, he developed a reputation for his incredible creativity and wealth of ideas. And despite the fact that he was accustomed to working on a monthly magazine, he’s slowly adjusting to our grueling two-week schedule and deadline-oriented Type-A personalities, while we’ve been adjusting nicely to his loud, boisterous spirit and messed-up sense of time (it takes a procrastinator to know a procrastinator).

So look again at the blockbuster designs that J.R., Betsy, Carrie, Charles, and Marilyn (that’s our whole art staff!) are knocking out. How do you like that Ray Romano cover, or those illustrations in “10 to Watch” and “A Shopping Revolution”? And how about the conceptual art on the Nike story? All of the designers have been doing a phenomenal job of updating our look and making it fresher.

Better yet, this is just a taste of what’s to come. We’re all hard at work on giving the magazine a bit of a face-lift. So with each passing issue you’ll notice small tweaks, and (hopefully) by this summer, you’ll see all sorts of new and exciting stuff.

When you’re done looking at all the pretty pictures, spend some time with the words — they’re good! Ray Romano’s tour of San Diego is classic Ray, and our story on outlet malls in Europe is a shopper’s dream. We take you inside Nike Golf’s research lab in Fort Worth, and since it’s not open to the public, this is as close as you’re going to get to seeing what the pros see. We also do a little future predicting with our story on the 10 businesspeople we believe are most likely to have an impact this year. Take a look at our picks and see if you agree. Only time will tell how right we are.

In upcoming issues we’ll have Billy Crystal talking about Hawaii; a special health and fitness section to help you get in the best shape you can be; a great story on a really cool new multimillion-dollar development in Tokyo; and, if we can get him to sit still long enough, an interview with Andre Agassi. So stay tuned. There’s all sorts of great stuff headed your way. In the meantime, drop J.R. a note at J.R.Arebalo@aa.com and congratulate him on his new job. He loves e-mail.


Above Right Photo: Meet the new kid on the block.