Hey Devin. Congrats on the all-new VANITY FAIR Italia. Looks ace. Are you happy with it?
I have to say... I'm thrilled with how the first issue turned out. I was expecting more of the typical transitional problems common with any first issue launch, but the staff managed it brilliantly. We flipped the production switch from the old design to the new design in just one week. And we still had time to develop ideas and finesse the details. I'm amazed by how smooth it was.
Talk us through the changes... what's new and improved?
One of the goals of the re-design was to find a visual uniformity between the nine distinct sections of the magazine to create a stronger overall package. Previously, sections were designed independently with their own set of styles and aesthetics leaving the magazine looking disjointed. Now, all sections share the same grid structure and color palette. Typography has been limited from 10-plus fonts to a tighter set of only four.
Another goal was to improve reader navigation. The page slugs and rule framework were introduced to give the pages a strong visual branding to set them apart from the adjacent advertisements. Also, each section now has a distinct 'cover' to indicate a clear starting point.
We also wanted to elevate the photography, especially within the Fashion and Beauty sections. Fashion Director Sciascia Gambaccini was recently hired to bring a fresh look to the magazine's visuals. The new design direction is intended to support quality photography, one the magazine's competitive advantages.
You were in New York for a lot of the re-design. Are you now based in Milan? Are you enjoying the city?
Actually, I'm based in both cities at the moment. I'm travelling back and forth until the beginning of July when I'll start a month-long term.
I worked on the re-design from New York, which worked out better than we expected. I was able to focus on developing the new look without disrupting (or being disrupted by!) the weekly production. Plus, the time difference worked in our favour... I continued to work after the Italian offices closed for the day. It was a daily passing of the baton.
I'm looking forward to spending more time in Milan this summer. It's a fantastic city... completely underrated in my opinion.
Unlike the US edition, VANITY FAIR Italia is published weekly... and is often over 300 pages. A massive undertaking. Did you look to any other weekly magazines for inspiration... especially for, say, the fashion and beauty pages. I think I see a little NEW YORK magazine in there.
If you see hints of NEW YORK magazine, I'm not surprised. I'm a huge fan and I'm always inspired by the solutions they have to weekly stories. I'm also a big fan of Chris Dixon. One of the reasons I took this job was to work in some capacity with him. He and his staff at US VANITY FAIR have been very supportive throughout the process.
I always look at the other weeklies in the Italian competitive set to see what they're up to. But I intentionally wanted VANITY FAIR Italia to pull ahead of the pack by reinforcing the strong VANITY FAIR brand and all that it represents worldwide.