Fast Company | Field Notes | Furniture

Fast Company is a very straightforward publication. It does not utilize a lot of obvious formatted elements or furniture. One set of formatted elements that are consisted throughout the publication are the lines across the top and bottom margin of most pages (Fig. 1). These lines help set the frame of the content.

Fig. 1. Notice the lines across the top and bottom and margin.

The second formatted element that I noticed is the small square icon with three smaller square icons within it (Fig. 2). These icons appear before the first paragraph of a story, typically on the left hand side with the text wrapped around it. The text wrap is slight on the right side but there is a lot of space below the icons. They vary in color throughout the publication. I found one instance in the November 2017 issue where the three smaller squares are positioned differently and I am not sure the significance of this.

Fig 2. The square icon dictates the beginning of a story.

Fast Company uses is bolding the first three words of every story, which is also illustrated in Fig. 2.  Another formatted element of the publications is the colored stripes (rectangle) within the gutters of most pages (Fig. 3). Fast Company is a publication that utilizes a lot of black text and a lot of white space. I think that the colored stripes make the design more dynamic.

Fig 3. Colored lines appear in the gutter of most spreads.

  The folio and page numbers are formatted as they appear below:

Fig. 4 Folio and page numbers

Different items within a list or story are often offset with small-colored squares.

Fig. 5 items are separated with small, colored squares

Every issue of Fast Company has some sort of list on the cover (Fig. 6). These are either company names or the name of business leaders. They are bold and often run over parts of the nameplate.

Fig. 6, Cover List

The heading for the table of contents is always a this large, decorative typeface with lines running through the letters (Fig. 7). This typeface is also used on the letter to the editor page and for “The Recommender” section as well.

Fig. 7, Contents

Fast Company 0ften uses boxes to draw attention to headlines, like the one shown below (Fig. 8). They are often incomplete and in bright colors. It’s also worth noting that subheadings are often underlined. This is a unique approach because underlining is often discouraged in the design world. But, I think Fast Company makes it work and only use it sparingly throughout its publication.

Fig. 8, box outlines and underlined subheads

Section flags appear in the top corner of the left corner of each spread (Fig. 9). The type appears between three thin lines and often appears in reverse (paper color on ink) because many of the left pages in Fast Company are full bleed images. This approach is nice because it is distinctive without drawing too much attention to itself.

Fig. 9, section flag

Fast Company does not regularly use drop caps within its body copy but occasionally they will take the first letter, make it large, encompass it within a half-closed box and set it on top of the first paragraph of body copy (Fig. 10). To me, this seems a little detached and something that Fast Company could do without.

Fig. 10, Dropcap

Fast Company’s formatted elements are so understated and so methodically planned that a reader may not realized that they are there. However, the furniture helps establish the publication’s modern, linear presence. I look forwarded to finding ways to include strategic formatted elements in my publication.