I came across a beautiful set of The Paris Review covers over at Belacquashua’s Flickr today. The Paris Review is still around (see current site here) but apparently they fired their art director around 1970, because this isn’t exactly moving design. Just another casualty of the age of desktop publishing I guess. I have two theories relating to this sort of phenomenon: either quality design has just become too expensive for smaller publications to employ or the owner’s son downloaded Photoshop and he decided to “do everything himself because those designers never listened to me anyways”.
What’s most interesting is that the modern covers seem to be sort of cheap ripoffs of their own 50’s era covers. Another culprit in this mess might be digital photography. You’ll notice that a lot of the newer ones (example) aren’t bad at all design-wise but they have a completely raw, coldly digital photo where the beautiful, hand-drawn illustrations used to be. I guess illustrators are pretty expensive these days too.
Has anybody here studied this phenomenon in depth? I know this is a somewhat isolated case, but from my own subjective observations, the decline of quality design in magazines and books seems to be a constant across the board. Please let us know in the comments if you have any thoughts on this trend. I’d love to know what’s driving this.
Images via Belacquashua
I was reading the New York Times this weekend and was pleasantly surprised to see the work of Cristina Couceiro as part of one of the magazine articles. I recognized her distinctive style from when Scott posted her work a little while back. In the capacity of the magazine article, it was interesting to see how the use contemporary imagery changed the overall impression of her work. I think it was successful — it brings context, and an slight twinge of humor to the work that wasn’t present in some of the earlier ‘found imagery’ pieces. Something about Steve Carrel especially just works for me…maybe it’s that ridiculous shirt he’s wearing.
This is probably the third time recently I’ve randomly stumbled upon the work of an artist I recognize in a magazine; I saw Leandro Castelao in a recent issue of GOOD, Mark Weaver in Wired, and someone else I’m forgetting now. It’s great to see how their work translates into an editorial environment. And great to see that magazines are supporting the amazing talent of all these artists!
A new edition of the frustratingly infrequent +81 Voyage is out now. Billed as the ‘Magazine Creation and Bookstore Excursion’ issue, it rounds up some of the most exciting and innovative magazines out there today. From Newwork to Monocle, there are example spreads, designer interviews, and just about everything else a magazine lover would hope for. As stated in the introduction, the goal of the issue is to prove that, even in this day and age, the appeal of magazines is alive and well. As a die hard magazine consumer, you don’t have to tell me that, but if you need convincing, there is plenty of terrific and inspirational design to be found in this most recent issue. Above are a few of the magazines profiled.
Our aim with this event is not to yearn for the magazines of yesteryear but rather to look upon those magazines extant in the world today, and in doing so, understand the culture and tastes of our time, reaffirm our awareness of paper’s function, and confirm the intelligence and ingenuity of humanity as seen in magazines.
– An Overview of Design Related Magazines
– Can Design Save The Newspaper?
– NYT Magazine ‘T’ Covers
These spreads from Newwork Magazine are exceptionally awesome. At first I wasn’t sure why I was so taken by them, but I think it’s a combination of the following factors: sole use of (mostly) black and white, implementation of a strict grid, lots of little type details throughout, and a sophisticated and effective use of negative space. Newwork Magazine (ink on paper / 32″ x 23″) is put out by Studio Newwork.
The New York Times’ T Magazine often comissions artists to create their own version of the iconic T that is the magazine’s logo. There’s a great collection of the work over at the T Magazine blog featuring some of the standouts. Interesting to see so many fresh takes on the same theme, they should make a coffee table book out of these if they haven’t already. My personal favorite is that first ceramic one; the negative space is so perfect. Unfortunately, whoever did the type layout decided that neon green in the title would somehow work with the vibe. Clearly it didn’t.
As much as I love my Google Reader, I still prefer to get my design fix in printed form. In addition to providing the necessary dose of inspiration, magazines usually include insightful commentary and design criticism. I love this sort of writing on design and it seems like the best place to find it is still in the “unplugged” land of printed media. Additionally, with each one you get an actual piece of design to hold in your hand. It’s easy to forget how cool this is if you’re used to bouncing from blog to blog. After the jump, I’ve put together an overview of a the major players in the design magazine realm. Check out the list!
Continue reading →
Immediately after I posted a few Max Huber posters earlier this week, I walked into Kinokuniya and saw that the latest issue of Idea was devoted to the man himself. A fantastic coincidence and even more fuel for my Max Huber inspired creative fire. The issue is huge (about 200 pages) and is filled with some pretty incredible stuff. A lot of work I had never seen before; I put a few of my favorites above (the Table of Contents as well). The issue costs quite a bit for a magazine ($50 eek!) but Idea is certainly of much greater quality than most magazines. Well worth a perusal if you find yourself in a Japanese bookstore any time soon.
Caught these images of Case Da Abitare magazine over at Things To Look At. Very nice!