What's this? BUTT magazine is looking for a freelance print designer. Interested parties need to be cool with printing and trimming 365 pages... guess the successful candidate will be working on the magazine's 2013 calendar. A-MAZE!
Not so sure banner ads on a website is something to be proud of... but Scott Dadich's first article as Wired editor-in-chief is pretty exciting:
"In the months ahead, we intend to reimagine everything about theWired experience—we’ll revamp our tablet apps, retool our website, reinvigorate the magazine, refresh our conferences, and rethink our approach to the mobile and social web. We’re going to add new features, deliver new reader experiences, and revisit just about every aspect of this storied enterprise. And we’re bringing you with us."
Loving the all-new T, The New York Times Style Magazine. Sure, we think the logo is a mistake. Inside, however, the re-design is really quite beautiful. The star is new (elegantly awkward) serif display typeface, Schnyder. Seriously, check out that uppercase R. Amaze.
Berton Hasebe and Christian Schwartz (Commercial Type) designed Schnyder. Hasebe also designed the Platform typeface (used in Gym Class Magazine No.09... and the upcoming issue No.10). Both typefaces play with proportion and find perfection in imperfection. What’s not to love?
Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s been over a year since Chris Dixon left New York magazine to take the design helm at Vanity Fair. Upon his arrival, we started collecting the magazine; and thumbing its glossy pages has quickly become a monthly editorial design highlight. We’re super excited to have chatted with Chris. Here’s what he had to say…
How are things at Vanity Fair? You missing the weekly deadlines of New York?
I am really loving it here. Graydon and the whole staff are fantastic, and the people in the design and photo departments have been wonderful to get to know and collaborate with. I am not missing the weekly deadlines of New York! I think I was ready for a new pace of working. But I miss the staff there, and I do miss the challenge of seeing what can be accomplished creatively in, what was sometimes, one or two days.
What are the strengths, and weaknesses, of designing a monthly magazine compared to a weekly?
The strengths are that you have time to plan more ambitious visual projects. Also, there is time to work on and redesign all the other aspects of Vanity Fair – signage, video titles, events, etc., Weaknesses, I guess would just be that things can get worked on for too long, and you might lose that spark of the initial inspiration.
What were Vanity Fair's strongest design attributes when you started?
The magazine had a rich history of bold, confident design that really worked to showcase the photography and content. And it was consistent and always identifiable as Vanity Fair.
And what was not working as well as it could?
I think the two departments, Fanfair and Vanities, were due for a redesign, which we have done. And overall, just a freshening up of the typography and design systems has been ongoing.
What are its design strengths today?
The magazine has always had a successful visual identity, so we are just looking at ways to evolve it. I think the biggest strength today is that, even though we are slowly reworking parts of the magazine, it still maintains the visual DNA that makes it Vanity Fair.
You've been at the magazine for a little over a year now. Does it feel like your magazine? Does it have the Chris Dixon stamp?
I am happy with all the changes we have made, but I think it is just the beginning of the process. It will be a slow evolution that I think will just happen naturally over a few years.
We spoke with UK Harper's Bazaar creative director Marissa Bourke recently. She mentioned you as one-to-watch in 2013. What can we expect from you during the next 12 months?
That was nice of her, I will have to send her a fiver. This year we will be bringing in a custom designed typeface; will continue to collaborate with talented illustrators and new designers on projects; keep developing the tablet and mobile editions; and just keep on working to visualise the smart Vanity Fair content in new ways.
Finally, which magazines and editorial designers are you most excited about this year?
New Vanity Fair Italia creative director Devin Pedzwater is one-to-watch in 2013. For sure. Before taking the design helm at VFI, he was brand creative director at indie US music magazine SPIN… and oversaw one of 2012’s most exciting (and intelligent) redesigns.
In the first of two Vanity Fair-themed Q&As, we chat with Devin to see what he’s got planned for the sassy (and weekly!) European cousin of, what is, one of publishing’s most prestigious brands.
Congrats on the Vanity Fair Italia creative director gig. How did it come about?
After SPIN, I was looking to take on another redesign/rebranding project. I heard from a few friends in the industry that Italian Vanity Fair was searching for a new CD. It sounded like an amazing opportunity and an incredible adventure. I was connected with Luca Dini, the magazine's editor, and over the course of a few conversations, he and I realised we shared the same vision for what the magazine needed... and here we are!
You're going to be based initially at Condé Nast’s New York offices. How long will this be for? Is the eventual plan for you to move to Italy? In the early days, how do you plan to overcome the distance and different time zones?
The schedule is still being discussed. But in general, I will work from New York on redesigning the sections of the magazine. Once the project is completed, I'll go to Milan to implement with the staff directly.
I thought the time zones would be a problem, but that hasn't really been the case. In some ways it works in our favour. As the Italian staff is finishing their day, I'm just beginning mine. So there's a kind of passing of the baton wherein we can take advantage of the time zones rather than letting them be an impediment.
Design wise, how different is the Italian edition to the American?
Well, first off, the Italian version is a weekly and it can run as big as 350 pages… every week! Its makeup is broader than the American version... authoritatively covering everything from serious news to celebrity news to pop culture to fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Only a fraction of the stories they publish are repurposed from the US edition.
Since its launch as a weekly, VFI has really connected with the Italian public. So the design needs to reflect the personality of a reader who wants to devour pop culture and be challenged with progressive editorial and fashion. Of course, it shares the DNA of the US edition, but it has to maintain an individuality... think of it as US Vanity Fair's Italian cousin.
Which Italian magazines/designers are you most excited by?
I really like the work that Francesco Franchi has been doing for IL. Fantastic stuff. It's hard to find on the newsstand here, but I highly recommend checking out their iPad app. David Moretti's Wired Italia is also very good. When I'm at an international newsstand, I'll pick up some downsized versions of Italian fashion magazines like Glamour and Elle. I'll also grab a stack of European gossip magazines, which are always really fun and unafraid of taking risks.
The re-designed SPIN had a modern look that felt quite European. Outside of Italy, which European magazines are you most inspired by?
With SPIN, I wanted to launch the print and digital redesigns simultaneously. We had to keep everything as simple as possible. For example, we only used two fonts to make every design. I think that gave it the modern and European feel. That approach was inspired by magazines like Domus and Casa da Abitare. Outside of Italy, I really like French Vogue, British Marie Claire and i-D and Dazed & Confused always inspire me.
How long will it be before we see your stamp on Vanity Fair Italia? What have you got planned?
I think you'll start to see some changes as early as the end of February, but the complete package will be ready to go in March.
The challenge with this is to design a system that's as much about the function as it is about the form. As you can imagine, 300+ pages every week can be taxing on a small design team. I'd like to give them a set of reliable tools that are limited in range, but flexible enough to cover the challenges of the broad scope of content.
The magazine can benefit from the shared Condé Nast assets so I want to forefront those photographs and let them set the tone for the shoots the magazine commissions exclusively. Visually, the design should feel akin to the US version, but have the pop and urgency that a newsweekly needs in order to be considered a must-read in the Italian market.
Like I said, it's a challenge with a lot of moving pieces. But I couldn't be more excited to take it on!
Ah... used to love MAD as a kid. Not one for high school lunch-time sports, the library and its collection of MAD magazines was a welcome refuge. Roger's Time Machine, a vintage comic and magazine store on W. 14th Street in New York, has a good selection of classic MADs... so says ace movie website I Love Hotdogs.