(FORTUNE Magazine) – Do not adjust your set. The issue of FORTUNE you hold in your hand is indeed quite different from any you have seen before--in typography, color palette, organization, even size.

Faithful magazine readers often react to redesigns with a feeling not unlike the one you get upon seeing that your spouse has unexpectedly cut off all that long wavy hair you so loved. Yes, it's the same spouse, but holy cow! Give me a moment here, please.

Editors (and spouses) decide to redesign magazines (or cut their hair) for lots of reasons, not all of them positive. Sometimes, though, we make fashion decisions--say, buying a new suit--to show off our new toned-up bodies or to signal to the world that we feel better about ourselves; that we are loaded for bear. This particular redesign of FORTUNE is just such a case.

For the past 18 months we have been striving to do nothing less than reinvent the modern business magazine, trying to execute the elegantly simple mission statement handed to us by our boss, Time Warner editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine: to become "the best magazine in the world that happens to be about business." Toward that end, we have worked to increase the utility, the relevance, and the entertainment value of everything we do; we have broadened the scope of subjects we cover while honing our expertise in narrower areas of interest, such as information technology; and we have added a variety of voices to the magazine, from Rob Norton on the economy to Stanley Bing on the human condition.

We're succeeding where it counts most: with you, the reader. Our circulation, for example, has increased sharply. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, we are now the No. 1 business biweekly.

Our new design isn't just about style. The most important change is a commitment to provide significantly more editorial material in each issue. You'll notice a beefed-up Personal Fortune in the back of the magazine, devoted to helping you make better decisions about how to invest--and spend--your hard-earned money. Our new Smart Managing section will enhance FORTUNE's reputation as the premier place to discover the best management practices out there as well as practical information on how to manage your own career. The new Digital Watch section will stay abreast of the trends and products driving information technology, the most dynamic sector of today's economy. Plus, the whole magazine is organized in a far simpler way--four sections and a grouping of features--that will make it easy for you to find your way around.

The changes you will encounter are the fruits of a reinvention project undertaken nine months ago in collaboration with two of the industry's foremost design consultants, Milton Glaser and Walter Bernard of WBMG Inc. We believe the result to be in the finest tradition of FORTUNE--both editorially and graphically--which, upon its launch in February 1930, was hailed by the New York Times as "sumptuous to the point of rivaling the Pearly Gates." Should anything about the change strike you as far out or radical, think about this: FORTUNE was 12 years old before it stooped, in 1942, to promoting an article title on its up-until-then pristine art cover. More amazingly, it wasn't until 1963 that the first human being appeared on a FORTUNE cover: GM Chairman Alfred P. Sloan Jr.

Our first cover, however, foretold everything that was to come. It featured the wheel, a symbol of change. And progress. We hope you like your new magazine as much as we do.