Archive through August 16, 2002

Miss Tiffany's picture

For a very long time now I have been a great lover of magazines.* Upon
entering design school I obviously had new reasons (and excuses) to continue
with this obsession, or if you like, fetish. Over the years since I have
witnessed great magazines and/or great design, come and go with the tides.
Remember _Interview_ when Tibor Kalman was in charge? It was an amazing
example of great magazine design. And what of _Rolling Stone_ before
Photoshop and Illustrator made some things too easy? Or _Vogue_ during the
height of Supermodeldom? Not to mention anything that Fabian Baron touched,
or so it seemed, in the nineties?

Perhaps my references show my love of a more traditional time, but I really
have many questions and I'll wager others would like to hear a serious
discussion about magazine design and typography. And perhaps while we're at
it we could list out favorites and least favorites. In view of the forum we
are on the list should include both creative director and the typefaces
used.** This discussion, or my guilt, are born out of two recent redesigns
and one wish for involvement in a redesign.

First, _Harper's Bazaar_. I love the magazine, I love Didot, but ... ***

Second, _Fast Company_. I only just recv'd this issue in the mail today, but
Ty' fa is gone The design IMO is still strong, the content not gotten weak.
I suppose when I saw the flag I was a little depressed. I like it, in an of
itself, but there are so many business magazines with sans serif screaming
from the top. I suppose I should hold judgement until I go the bookstore and
see for myself.

Last, what ever happened to _Vogue_?

QUESTION: Do type foundries ever approach publication houses with the
desire to change the look? Or is this considered arrogant? Is it any more
arrogant than a design studio approaching them?

*It is an addiction I picked up very early on in my life starting with my
stacks of _Seventeen_. ** Perhaps a pattern could be shown? *** The word I
have in mind is overkill.

hrant's picture

> Or _Vogue_ during the height of Supermodeldom?

You mean it's over?! Dang. Who won?

So what do you think about "Business 2.0" magazine?

> Do type foundries ever approach publication houses with the desire to change the look? Or is this considered arrogant?

Arrogant? I think it usually seems desperate, which doesn't make it a bad idea for a yet-to-be-established operation. Unless you go in saying "your magazine looks like crap - pay me to fix it"... Morison *did* pull that off, but he was one charming snake.


Michael Surtees's picture

strategy+business is a really tight magazine design wise in consideration to who their target market is. their grid concept is easy to navigate and read. production wise, the cover is two colours, it stands apart from anything that is beside it and saves money for the publisher which is a bonus. i bought their first issues (1+ years ago) that had the new design and i think it mentioned that pentagram did it.

as a side note i'm still very sad that critique is no longer available...


hrant's picture

Still, huh? Me too.
It was too smart for its own good - not enough boobs.


Michael Surtees's picture

what amazes me is the amount of money paer companies put into promotions that end up being thrown out. you would think that one those communication people would say "this year, instead of creating a bunch of meaningless things, let the editorial board of critique go nuts with our paper and make it look good, then we'll send it out with our paper reps and give designers something they can use"...

one of the more recent issues of graphis had an interview with marty of critique, but i felt that it was too brief.


graficartist's picture

>i bought their first issues (1+ years ago) that
>had the new design and i think it mentioned
>that pentagram did it.

Considering that the staple colors are red, black and white I think that is a guarantee that Pentagram did strategy+business. *wink


hrant's picture

> red, black and white

Heil Pentagram!


Michael Surtees's picture

thanks Joe, amazon makes it way too easy to purchase stuff like that

hrant's picture

And what do you guys think of Matiz?
To me it's one of the very very few "postmodern" publications that makes any sense. (Or is it my infatuation with Hispanic/Spanish culture?...)

Paolo, are you coming to the upcoming ATypI conference in Rome? You can meet a lot of good type designers there - maybe you can convince one of them to make a custom font or two for your magazine.


hrant's picture

BTW, Tiffany, wassup with that "Discuss"?! You think you're in your classroom? ;-)


paolo's picture

Hrant, I'd loooove to come to ATypI Rome but the price for registering (considering the Euro/Pound change) is a little too steep for me. :-(
Are you guys going? I tried to talk the big suits at my daily job into paying for my going to Rome, but of course they don't see the point. (I am sooooooooo ready to quit!) Maybe I'll convince them.
Mmmmm, missed Matiz. I'll check the magazine store. The only other Spanish magazine I am currently aware of is Neo2, which is ok, nothing too great. What do you guys think of Details? I used to like the new version when it came out a year ago, but it has a very strict formula, verging on the boring now (always better than Arena, though, which is a ghastly Details rip-off).Do you guys know that Tyler Brule is leaving Wallpaper? Oh well, that's another magazine I'm growing tired of.

hrant's picture

> the price for registering (considering the Euro/Pound change) is a little too steep for me.

OK, you have to move quick: get married to somebody going to the conference and sign up as a "partner". Except you'd have to act like you're not into type. "Hey, that's a cool font, huh?" (Pointing at a Souvenir setting...) We'll all think you're really cute.

Yeah, it's really too expensive - but usually worth it.


paolo's picture

Hrant, I am so very tempted to come to Rome. Is there a deadline for the registration? Mmmm, maybe instead of saving for buying a new typeface for my magazine I'll only use Helvetica and come to AtypI. What the hell.

hrant's picture

> maybe instead of saving for buying a new typeface for my magazine I'll only use Helvetica and come to AtypI.

I don't think anybody should expect a sacrifice of that magnitude.


beejay's picture

I have chronic M.A., too. The first magazine that I sought to find out *what's the typeface* was Esquire. I found out it was Village (FB, berlow, goudy). That face, especially the italic, was simply captivating.


paolo's picture

bj, I can only sympathize with you. It's not simply an obsession, it definitely is an illness. And it provokes alarming reactions in other people. What about the puzzled looks of non-designer friends (not to mention partners) when you keep on ranting about that spread in Matador or the effectiveness of Champion Gothic in Woodward's issues of Rolling Stone?
Oh, and even more frustrating: try to utter the word BRODOVITCH to a bunch of snowboard-obsessed "new media" designers like I did once at work!
Talking of favorites, here's another one: Vince Frost, for his covers of The Independent's supplement and his work on Big Magazine. Beautiful. Is this guy still working on magazines? Last thing I read about him was his redesign for Laurence King Publishing's identity.
Should we talk about books about magazines, too? I have quite a few, maybe you guys have some more to recommend?

Michael Surtees's picture

Paolo, when mentioning matador, are you talking about the record label or something different? if so do you have a url.


Miss Tiffany's picture

> You mean it's over?! Dang. Who won?

I would say Tatiana did.

> "Business 2.0" magazine?

Clean, Simple and straight-forward. No "tricky-feathers" (to quote a former teacher).

> I really liked Paula Scher's redesign of Metropolis.

Although I really am guilty of loving the over-sized magazines, especially when they are typographically amazing, the re-design has kept much of what was good in the first place. It seems to have all-around been proportionally scaled. Ergo, same ratio of positive to negative space.

> strategy+business

This one is nice as well. The writing is a little too heady for me, but the typogrpahy is straight-forward and doesn't make the reader perform too much to find the info.

> critique

I was lucky enough to be purchasing this as it was published. My favorite of the issues was that on mentoring. It was a great tool for teaching as well. My students really enjoyed the bits of info put before them and were able to digest it and use it.

The paper suggestion, Michael's, is a good idea. Some paper companies do try to combine education and promotion, such as Sappi.

> Considering that the staple colors
> are red, black and white...

Pentagram is not the only company guilty (although I don't think it such a bad color combination) of using the holy trinity of colors. A study of all the magazines which Roger Black and Danilo Black has been involved with will quickly show that he is probably even more so. Guilty that is. Although Pentagram is more Sans and Transitional and Black is more Egyptian and Oldstyle.

> aware of Fernando Gutierrez

Didn't he work with Roger Black at one point?

> wassup with that "Discuss"?!

;-) my mistake. ;-)

> Naw, not school teacher...

Joe, that would make a good handle. :)

> I have chronic M.A., too.

I'd bet most people with any involvement in typography probably have to go to border's for at least a weekly fix. i love shopping online, but the feel of the paper and the smell of the ink, now that is a rush!

Seriously. Esquire is great. (doesn't hurt that Jude Law is on the cover. An amazing example of taking a face that perhaps is intended for body text and using it in a dynamic way for display purposes. Although it is a display version of the face. I also enjoy Town & Country's use of Requiem. In general, this is a well thought out magazine.

For all of you helvetica nay-sayers. Does anyone remember Michael Koepke's work on Creme? He truly pushed that typeface into new directions.

> Vince Frost

That's right. That magazine is so... refined, sterile, great judgment (pick a word).

> try to utter the word BRODOVITCH to a bunch
> of snowboard-obsessed "new media" designers

;) Right! Have you seen the Book? The book itself is a perfect addition to anyone's library. I've used it in publication design class to show great use of composition. Cipe Pineles is another example of great design BM (before macintosh). And you can't forget the work of Paul Rand either.

Does anyone remember Details before it became a men's magazine? It was a who's who and what's what of Manhattan life. I coveted those. Why oh why did I throw them away? Does anyone know who designed those? Or what about TAXI? Sheesh my age is showing again. Egg was pretty cool too. It had to have been one of the first magazines to try a square format. Flaunt is really good for straight-forward (but with a wink) typography. Although I have a feeling it is more of a men's magazine. Hrant would like this one! ;) The latest issue is all about Italy, how timely for those of us going.

Admittedly I'm more old-school. But is this such a bad thing? Isn't design about discovery and re-discovery? Especially with type. I suppose the urge to design type comes from not wanting to use what is there already. But for magazine design this is not always feasible, therefore you find yourself on a road of discovery. Asking questions and looking for answers from what is there. But trying to take the answers and use them in new ways.

Magazine design isn't so different from building a house. The structure's skeleton (grid) must be strong enough to hold the rest. If you have a wonky grid then everything else will never hold strong or make sense.

Miss Tiffany's picture

> everything else will never hold strong or make sense.

That said. What about Ray Gun. I mean before David Carson left. I'll admit I kicked against the pricks when it came out, that and Emigre. I was a holier than thou helvetica worshipper. But I still bought them. I still looked at them. And I still tried to emulate them. I tried because I wanted to see what was inside of them. Where was the structure. Some of those designs although on the surface seemed free of rhymne and reason really did work and make sense. But, is that because sometimes, in art, it just works? If you follow the rules of composition it will work won't it?

paolo's picture

No Michael, I'm talking about the Spanish magazine designed by Fernando Gutierrez. It comes out once per year, it has an unusually large format and each issue is typeset in a different typeface (only one). It really is a beautiful magazine.
Unfortunately, I don't think it has a URL. You could order an issue from the Magma Bookstore in London, though (
There was a great article about Gutierrez and Matador in Eye Magazine issue 36, summer 2000. Ciao

hrant's picture

> doesn't hurt that Jude Law is on the cover. An amazing example of taking a face that perhaps is intended for body text


> Flaunt is really good for straight-forward (but with a wink) typography. Although I have a feeling it is more of a men's magazine. Hrant would like this one!

Off to Borders again...


graficartist's picture

>Pentagram is not the only company guilty
>(although I don't think it such a bad color
>combination) of using the holy trinity of colors.

'Holy Trinity'...that's funny...

It must be an effort to extend their own brand - a kind of visual association. I think I actually read once that their principals and associates get a bonus if they convince their client to use those colors.

mart's picture

The magazine I'd most like to subscribe to but can't afford is FMR:
Click on the second image on the right - a front cover from 1982 - to see more of the magazine.

The DesignBoom site is one of the best design sites I've found. Nothing but sheer enthusiasm.

(And while you're there you might reward yourself by clicking on the Fornasetti link. One of my heroes.)

designalchemy's picture

Hi Martin. YesI agree, FMR is amazing, my girlfriend 's father gave her a subscription and I love looking at this magazine, one of the best publications on antiques and art.

Joe Pemberton's picture

I really liked Paula Scher's redesign of Metropolis. The
requirement was to take this monumental format and
trim it back to something more reasonable
(economical). The solution, with the cropped masthead
is great. I also liked how she was able (at least in the
first issues post redesign) to maintain a healthy amount
of white space

Joe Pemberton's picture

Yes, a moment of silence for Critique.

Joe Pemberton's picture

There's a good, but brief, piece from Marty on the
rise and fall of Critique in Steven Heller's recent book,
The Education of a Design Entrepreneur.

anonymous's picture

Tiffany, you had a wonderful idea, starting a magazine design discussion!
I share with you a chronic case of M.A. (Magazine Addiction). Living in Milan, Italy, I have easy access to almost all American and European magazines. Being not only a magaholic, but a graphic designer also, I especially buy design publications, but also quite a few "lifestyle" magazines (and many more, not on a regular basis). After a few years of working mostly on web sites (I still work for the italian office of one of those very large - and very, very worried - web consultancy firms) I decided to get back to my first love, print, only this time I want to do things on my own terms.
So, with the help of a journalist friend, I am currently working on my first magazine design project (a new title that we're starting from scratch and - hopefully - one day eventually publish, if we find the right financial backing). We plan to create a dummy issue and then show it around.
So I will gladly participate in this discussion. I am currently asking myself so many magazine design questions working on this project, so I think it will be great to share my opinions with you guys!
My flat has always been packed with old/new magazines, but as you can imagine, now that I am working on one, it's even worse.
So, regarding your first posting: I also have fond memories for Baron, Woodward and Kalman at their creative peaks, and I rate their work like some of the best magazine design ever.It is still fresh today, which is NOT what could be said of a certain other magazine art director/surfer who once believed to be god and has currently been sucked in a black hole, apparently.
Are you guys aware of the work of Fernando Gutierrez, the spanish creative director behind Vanidad, Matador, Tentaciones and who is currently designing Colors Magazine? His work is fantastic, maybe you saw a great article about him on a not-so-recent issue of Eye Magazine? What do you guys think of him?
Ciao a tutti, from Milan.

Joe Pemberton's picture

Naw, not school teacher, it's "Chat Lady" of SNL fame.

Mmm, this folio is like buttah. Discuss.

Joe Pemberton's picture

Tom don't be absurd.

That's like suggesting Massimo gets royalties everytime he uses Bodoni...

However, for fun, take a trip around the web to the olde guarde of US graphic design...


(Massimo's of course. Was their site designed in Quark?)

(Roger Black's gig.)

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