Archive through September 25, 2002

paolo's picture

Guys, I started a new discussion in Critique/Typography Composition with a very looooooong and detailed posting about my current first attempt at magazine design. If you can bother, have a look and let me know what you think.
Thank you.
Ciao a tutti.

Paolo

beejay's picture

Aw. Disappointed by Fast Company's new cover. I found the last flag incredibly endearing. The compartmentalized cover with the red/black/mustard/cyan color combination makes my stomach queasy.

Inside, now it's pretty much Standard-Issue Magazine Layouts with no Storm at all, which was what I liked best. Now seems corporate and robotic.

they refer readers here:
http://www.fastcompany.com/keyword/redesign62

Business 2.0 also changed some things. Mimi Dutta, the new creative director, is a little more creative with her feature heds. And she likes DOTS a lot. ...

Mac Addict did a redesign three or four issues ago. There's a face inside that I can't seem to figure out. I'll get a scan up during the week.

As far as throwing magazines out...I have a pack-rat collection of magazines dating back about 10 years. Nobody understands why I keep them, including myself....I just can't read a magazine and *throw it away!*

bj

zander's picture

Fernando Gutiérrez is a Pentagram Partner and the creative director of COLORS nowadays - he studied at LCP in the early 80's - apart from COLORS & MATADOR - he just did a Phaidon photo book on Gandhi - he is in my book one of the finest graphic designers of the classic mould working today.

Now with that said i am a big fan of his stark approach at COLORS which i think is the right response to the content and the line of photography they accomodate

His work is much more lively at MATADOR where he reaches astonishing expression from so few means (one typeface, often subtle and consistent colors and blinding work in proportions)

grooves1200's picture

i'm glad to see this discussion because i publish a small (in circulation, not paper size) print electronic music magazine and since my volunteer art director left, i have to design the mag myself.

just to detail my experiences as a non-designer by trade, i can say i have the following problems:

1) i have to work in black&white (can't afford color)

2) image quality of photos i receive are of a wide range of quality, from very good to horrible.

3) i can't afford any design help.

within these constraints, i'd love to get some suggestions on how to work. it seems to me that if you get great images to begin with, that helps make a good look for a magazine already.

i am currently planning on using a new font, Sys, for the text and a futuristic-looking font--House Spaceport 3009 for heads. one problem i am having is trying to create some kind of "header" for our different sections of reviews that meshes well with the rest of the page. perhaps i can put together a couple of PDFs when i get home for some input. is there a way to upload to this site?

thanks, sean portnoy
grooves magazine--experimental electronic music magazine
groovesmag.com

grooves1200's picture

here's 2 pages of a spread from my magazine. As you can see, there's nothing at the top of the page that could be a header to indicate that this is a Gear Review in our Reviews Section. I'd love to hear any tips for this. I'm also post another all-text review page (should be much smaller file).

\grooves1.jpg

\grooves2.jpg

thanks, sean
grooves magazine
groovesmag.com

grooves1200's picture

whoops, didn't do that right.

here's one \image

here's another \image

thanks, sean

grooves1200's picture

shoot, this is not working for me for some reason. you can send me an email and i can send you a pdf file of the spread if you want.

thanks!
sean
grooves1200@yahoo.com

\grooves1.jpg

Michael Surtees's picture

I'd agree that good photos, illustration and type are needed for a mag, but your shooting blanks without great editorial and content.

michael

Michael Surtees's picture

AdAge http://www.adage.com/news.cms?newsId=35816 has an article on the redesign of RollingStone.

hrant's picture

Jann Wenner:
".... it's not my [expletive] fault!"

Yeah, just keep passing the blame in a circle - that'll make everything OK.

hhp

Michael Surtees's picture

I just found this site a couple days ago http://www.newspagedesigner.com it has more to do with newspapers but still very addicting and hours of fun will be had in exploring the portfolios. There are some real gems to be found.

m

beejay's picture

Wenner Dumbs Down: New, sexier Rolling Stone is in stores...here are a few links.

Also, Blender's Editor in Chief is Andy Pemberton.

http://www.latimes.com/features/lifestyle/la-lv-rollingstone30aug30.story

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/news2002/jun02/jun24/4_thurs/news3thursday.html

http://www.adage.com/news.cms?newsId=35816

more stuff at Google

Stephen Coles's picture

bj - I don't get it. So Fred Woodward is gone?
His work inspired me to be a designer. This makes me cry.

michael - nice link! haven't seent that.

Stephen

beejay's picture

Stephen: The current Art Director is Andy Cowles. I'm guessing that Woodward, Black, Parkinson, Wenner, et al. all contribute (advice or actual work) to the look of all Wenner Media publications. What Woodward does day to day, I don't know. I'm just a lowly subscriber. Maybe Jonathan Hoefler has some info.

bj

Michael Surtees's picture

Stephen - Glad that I could return the favour considering what I've learned from typographi.ca and of course from this site too.

m

tsprowl's picture

I didn't see any mention of Baseline - man the cover they had with the scraped silver ink over florescent orange printing. I would love to know how they did that. Obviously hand done I would think? but to millions of issues?

I peeled the price tag off carefully only to realize that they did in fact stamp the price tags on when the thick metallic was still wet.

the other cover that caught my attention was the June issue of Flaunt, the circus scene, punch cut, die cuts, replacement maps, and crazy dot gains. craziness I say.

marcox's picture

FYI -- These days, Fred Woodward is the creative director at GQ.

mart's picture

Here's a good short article on magazine cover design - and it's decline. I agree with the sentiment, although mags like The New Yorker are still churning out wonderful covers week in week out.
http://popcultmag.com/criticalmass/culture/magazines/magazines0.html

gmh's picture

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

>1_ http://www.pentagram.com/
>2_ http://www.vignelli.com/

I saw Michael Bierut speak a couple of years ago, and he said he worked at Vignelli (eventually becoming a vice president there) before joining Pentagram.

>It must be an effort to extend their own brand - a kind of visual association.

Bierut said that he uses his (and Pentagram's) signature style as a kind of back up plan. With each project he experiments and tries new things, but knows that if nothing new works, he can fall back on a style that he is sure will work. He said that this was similar to the way Vignelli works (something to the effect of "If all else fails, put big black stripes across it").

Stephen Coles's picture

Thanks Marc, Mart, and Graham. The last three
posts of this thread are so enlightening, it reminds
me how much the current comment threads at
typographica suck. Good info.

beejay's picture

Magazine Lovers, run don't walk to get STEP inside design. The premier issue is on newsstands now, $7.95 US.

Among the features:

* Q and A w/ Paula Scher (incl. questions about her Pentagram collaborations and views on typography)
* A piece on Tobias and Jonathan (Hoefler Text and Interstate were chosen by Art Director Robert Valentine for use in STEP.)
* an Open Type discussion

+ more.


Also, we are not the only ones making pud puns. see page 74.

bj

hrant's picture

> A piece on Tobias and Jonathan

Sorry, BJ, but I found that particular article to be pretty horrid. Every few sentences there's something to trigger a guffaw. Those two designers deserve better.

hhp

beejay's picture

"I believe type design is both art and craft. It combines practical and aesthetic considerations." -- Robert Valentine.

Considering what you've been writing lately, I'm guessing that this was one of the triggers?

hrant's picture

Well, not really. There is art in type design - just like anything else humans do - it's unavoidable. On the other hand, for Valentine to actually say that in an article of that nature seems trite and cliche. But that wasn't one of the major sore spots for me - I'd have to re-read the thing - which I really don't want to...

hhp

paolo's picture

BJ,
is STEP a new design magazine? Does it have an URL? I'd like to have a look, I guess I'll have to order it to get it here in Milan.

Jumping to another subject: Hrant, I am glad to tell you that I will very probably come to Rome to attend aTypI. :-)
Do many of you guys on this forum will come to Rome too? Tiffany? Kent? Stephen?
I'd love to meet you guys, and talk to you in person.
Ciao

Paolo

hrant's picture

Great news, Paolo! Try to make it to the gathering on the evening of the 19th, and you'll meet bunches of people.

hhp

beejay's picture

Paolo - well the web site hasn't caught up with the magazine...published by Dynamic Graphics.

you can get more information here

http://www.dgusa-europe.co.uk/sbseditor.htm
http://www.dgusa.com

kentlew's picture

I think the complete offical title is supposed to be STEP inside design -- although you'd be forgiven for not guessing it from the logo. It was formerly Step-by-Step Graphics. The second issue under the new name and new design just arrived in my mailbox. I can't say that I'm all that taken with the new format. But I'll give it a year to get settled in.

I remember thinking the piece on Hoefler and Frere-Jones was a bit fluffy. But that may be because I'm no longer a general reader in this particular arena.

Paolo, I won't be coming to Roma. Perhaps you can join us in Vancouver next year?

And, for those keeping score at home, I'll take this opportunity to report that we've decided to postpone the release of Whitman until I can create the bold and black weights, which, due to a couple of pressing book design commissions, looks like it won't be until January.

-- Kent.

hrant's picture

Kent, It'll be worth the wait.
I'm curious to see what approach you'll take for the darker weights: the Modernist style that's in fashion now, or the "divergent" method like in Carter's incomrapable Galliard.

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

Kent -- Will you be doing condensed versions
of Whitman?

rcapeto's picture

What do you mean by "Modernist style
that's in fashion now", Hrant?
And elaborate on "divergent method" also,
if you please.

R

hrant's picture

The use of a weight axis (internally if not in the released font) which has become de rigueur since the increase in sophistication of font editors encourages uniformity in style between the various weights. This has certain advantages, but suffers from the classic flaw of Modernism: lack of contrast; which just happens to be what a Bold is intended for... In contrast (so to speak) Carter explains how he "diverged" the darkest weights of Galliard, giving them a singular life. I have a copy of an old article that he wrote about the development of Galliard, but I can't remember where it was from...

BTW, this is somewhat parallel to the fact that the copy-paste (which became so easy to do with computers*) also encourages uniformity/Modernism, but on a more local level.

* There was actually a primitive form of copy-paste even in the foundry days: punchcutters used the same counterpuch to make similar parts of different letters, like the counters of "n" and "h". See Smeijers and Paput (personally, if you like ;-) for elaboration.

hhp

rcapeto's picture

> but suffers from the classic flaw of Modernism: lack
> of contrast;

I see your point. Just don't quite agree with this assessment
of "Modernism".

> an old article that he wrote about the development of
> Galliard, but I can't remember where it was from...

If your memory recovers, please tell us. I'd like
to have a look at that.

> punchcutters used the same counterpuch to make similar
> parts of different letters, like the counters of "n"
> and "h".

Oh yes. I've done my Smeijers. ;) BTW, a preview.

Thanks.

hrant's picture

I'll dig up the Galliard thing tonight.

BTW, nice little anim!

hhp

kentlew's picture

Hrant, I think the article you're referring to is from Fine Print and is collected in Fine Print on Type, Bigelow, Duensing, Gentry eds. (San Francisco: Bedford Arts, 1989). Although, I see now that this article was written by Chuck Bigelow. Maybe you're referring to a different one.

It's funny you should mention Galliard in this context, however, because I recently had a very long and encouraging conversation with Mike Parker about the heavier weights of Whitman and we specifically discussed Matthew's process with Galliard.

As for how "divergent" my work will be, we'll just have to wait and see.

Tiffany, I hadn't really considered condensed versions (not being too big on condensed faces myself). I had always figured that when/if I get around to display cuts, they'd be naturally a little narrower; but hardly what I would consider condensed, sorry. But who knows. . .

-- K.

kentlew's picture

Rodolfo, I second Hrant on that animation: Neat.

hrant's picture

> not being too big on condensed faces myself

To me a little condensation (I mean a little more than "usual" in a text face - Rotis comes to mind as a good target, although its spacing is way too loose) is good for readability, but I find width variations in general largely useless in a *text* face; you decide what width is best for your design, and that's that. The first axis I would dump in most MM designs is in fact the Width.

hhp

hrant's picture

> Fine Print on Type

I was thinking maybe you were right*, but then I found my copy: "Galliard: a modern revival of the types of Robert Granjon", Matthew Carter, Visible Language XIX 1 Winter 1985. It's really a great article, providing some unique insight. And when you read it, you might join those of us who have no doubt whatsoever that Granjon was the best type designer we have yet seen (although Gill might have had more raw talent).

*
I *think* I've scoured all the issues of Fine Print, and I distinctly remember going through Fine Print on Type at UCLA-SpecialCollections, and when I do that I never leave without copies of the interesting parts (even if I have to cajole them into exceeding the photocopy limit), but I don't remember anything about Galliard. Dare I suggest it wasn't memorable? Pardon the candor, but what is it about Bigelow that he never manages to turn me on? Maybe it's me.

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

Kent -- Your thoughts equal mine, it was the display version of which I had been thinking. I wasn't thinking of anything extreme, simply tighter, more clean and more crisp.

kentlew's picture

You're right, Hrant. I reread the Bigelow article on Galliard and it wasn't the treasure that one might have hoped. He does make some interesting observations and quotes a little Carter. But the Visible Language article sounds infinitely more interesting -- being from Carter himself and all that. Who publishes VL? Do you know where I might get a copy?

-- K.

hrant's picture

> Who publishes VL?

http://www.id.iit.edu/visiblelanguage/

> Do you know where I might get a copy?

You can buy back issues, or do an ILL from a good library. You've been planning that 100-mile trip for a while now - do it before the weather gets bad. ;-)

hhp

rcapeto's picture

Hrant:

> what is it about Bigelow that he never manages
> to turn me on?

Does this give us a clue on the origins of MasLucida? ;)

hrant's picture

Yes it does! :-)
MasLucida (a set of structures, not a font) was based on Lucida because Lucida has very "elemental" letterforms, so they didn't need much change in order to look like *structures*, like I wanted. But I don't think I'm the only one who thinks that a *usable* font must not look so "structural". By the way, on the way from Lucida to MasLucida I incorporated certain "phase one" changes to Lucida, in order to make it more bookish, and as a result facilitate a comparison to MasLucida' intentions. Besides increasing the extenders and tightening the spacing (I *think* - it's been a while), I added a bicameral "g": it wasn't easy to get it to feel right, but except for a slightly large head that needs to be scaled smaller to the left, I think it provides for a better solution than the original mono "g".

Maybe one thing that bugs me is the scope of the Lucida megafamily: it really seems too strict, formally speaking. Some of the constituent fonts look like they've been inbred just a *bit* too closely to become healthy adults...

hhp

hrant's picture

Paolo, nice meeting you in Rome!
I hope the conference was useful to you.

hhp

Joe Pemberton's picture

Sean, as you mentioned quality photography is key, as
is quality type.

My strongest suggestion is to find another volunteer
designer. Students eager to get real press experience
may be a great place to start.

When you're ready to post samples, please start a new
thread in Critique > Typography/Composition. You'll get
a much more focused critique that way.

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