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“Language is to the mind more than light is to the eye.”- William Gibson

A Condé Nast publication, bon appétit, the name of the magazine itself sets a fun, cheerful and positive tone. Its literal meaning, ‘good appetite’ or ‘I hope you enjoy your food’ is the broader vision of the publication, which is communicated through the magazine. Even though its a bit cliché, I think it is successful in being a significant name for a food & drinks magazine. With sassy and clever headlines the magazine maintains the interest of the readers. It almost triggers the urge of the readers to prepare the recipes covered in the issue. The headlines are candid avoiding summaries and said in the first person as though the magazine issue is in a conversation with the readers.

The cutlines and captions are short, with a sense of curiosity that the reader can relate to, making them go through that recipe an open the magazine for a quick look.

The labels are pretty straightforward and I guess keeping them direct is in sync with the entire minimalist and clear look of the magazine for the reader to easily navigate through the magazine.

But on the other hand, the section names used are very creative and intelligent. They are as follows: HOME, AWAY, BASICALLY and ETIQUETTE. Their names seem to be broad allowing the magazine to cover a diverse range of stories. The section names not being straight forward is what makes them open-ended, having multiple interpretations. The story titles within each section are simple, direct but not dull giving the reader an idea about the story. The way the sections are organized too gives the reader a sense of context and settings making the recipes and drinks presented relevant to the topic of that issue.

The bylines and credit lines are usually in the following manner:

Photographer:_____ | Food Stylist:______ | Property Stylist:_____

It is a 1-2 liner, mostly placed and the right bottom corner of a page at least for the image on the cover. For all the recipes presented in that issue, the magazine does something known as the ‘sourcebook’ or a ‘recipe index’ which is an informative piece on each recipe presented in that section. The sourcebook can be considered as an Index or a Bibliography which is at the back of books/papers.

Promos and refers are newsy/conversational and short. It is sometimes the coverage of another magazine of Condé Nast or one of their sponsors either Nescafe or another famous food brand. At times the issue also covers a promo of a small scale event done by the magazine at a specific location such as NewYork City, Chicago for the readers to attend the events.

The overall language of the magazine is also a derivation of the topic the magazine is showcasing in that issue. The tone and the mood are often a byproduct of the kind of recipes presented for example if it’s ‘The Holiday Issue/Thanksgiving’ many dessert related drinks and recipes are covered. The magazine tries to align the issue topic to the season of the year so that the readers experience the mood. The narratives of the stories are not long but short and witty. The editors have done a good job of making the magazine insightful with thoughtful captions and headlines. On the whole, the language is light-hearted but equally influential and plausible.

 

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The New Yorker – Typography & Language

The New Yorker uses Irvin as the typeface for its nameplate, headlines, folios, bylines and department headings throughout every publication. In the table of contents, each department is in Irvin but the rest of the type is in Caslon, which is the body typeface carried throughout the magazine, sometimes in italics and sometimes not, depending on what it’s used for.

For example, bylines in the table of contents are in italics, and the deks on individual stories are also in italics, but the body typeface is not. In the table of contents, the departments that occur in every issue are in red, whereas the departments that are interchangeable are in black.

For each story, the headline for features is larger than any of the text on the page, even the department headings, which sets the hierarchy that the departments could be less important than the headline for specific features.

The Irvin typeface reminds me of old-school typefaces, like old New York theater. It works to their advantage, because they cover entertainment like movies, theater, books, etc. as well as various features and politics. It’s uniquely “The New Yorker,” and sets a more eloquent tone to the magazine.

As for language of the magazine, it’s elegant and more affluent than some other magazines, but it’s made specifically for the people of New York – hence the name, “The New Yorker.” It’s also old-school, referring to New York as a “town” in the table of contents, with departments labeled like “Goings on about the Town” and “The Talk of the Town,” which conveys New York as this smaller, niche community of people rather than a cement metropolis.

Inside, there are poems, theater reviews and film critiques amongst feature stories, profiles and political pieces. It uses short headlines, as not to give too much away. For example, in the “Profiles” department, there’s a story titled “Mr. Happiness,” and it includes a four word explanation: “James Corden’s upbeat mission.” It doesn’t tell the reader the details of the article and leaves them wanting to read more. It had me asking, “What’s his mission? Why is he being called Mr. Happiness?” Many of the headlines are the same way, with only two-word headlines and a short sentence descriptor.

The New Yorker also has it’s own voice, in that, it contains cartoons that are funny, but the jokes are more high-class, or are sometimes very niche, but funny to the right audience. They know what their readers think is funny and their famous cartoons are sure to elicit a giggle from their audience. The New Yorker’s readers like reading its text-heavy pages, and are interested in critically acclaimed films and Broadway shows, and the cartoons reflect that.

The New Yorker doesn’t use pull quotes that often, instead, they break up pages with cartoons, illustrations and poems, which adds to the creative nature of the magazine. In addition, the magazine’s headlines and labels are clever and on theme, but they aren’t necessarily cheeky or funny, they just add a level of sophisticated quirkiness to the publication.

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“Typography is the two dimensional architecture”- Hermann Zaph

The major textual content of the magazine is food and drink recipes. Thus, the magazine makes a very informed decision by choosing very clean and clear typography so that the steps can be easily read. They also showcase more than two recipes on a single page keeping the layout and placement of the text neat and easy for the reader to follow through.

The nameplate is a serif typeface, while the rest of the textual content is mostly san serif. The typefaces complement each other well, making it distinct yet coherent. The typeface used for the headlines, taglines, and labels is Futura with different typographic weights depending on whether it is the name of a section department of a tagline. Futura as a typeface is very geometric and versatile in font style and weights. This versatility allows the typeface to be used at multiple textual positions and hierarchy. The magazine very consciously does not repeat the typeface used for the nameplate on the cover page, unless if the nameplate is repeated inside the magazine on the TOC/Editor’s Note/the credits page.

The section department names are approximately 3” in height and the taglines and punchlines are made relative to the size of the section department names. The magazine cleverly plays with text heights even though the same typographic weight is given to each textual element on that specific page. This is something I am also trying out for my magazine prototype to create a hierarchy. Primarily, the major typeface used throughout the magazine is a san serif one to give it a clean minimalistic aesthetic to the entire issue.

Furthermore, there is a different set of typefaces used to present the cover story. The only place that typeface is used on the cover page and then it is used again on the pages that present the cover story. The typeface for the cover story is very specific and unique. It looks like the typeface is derived from the image used for the cover story.

Along with typographic weights and styling, “color” is used as a tool to distinguish one subtitle from the other or even two taglines. Throughout the magazine, a color scheme is used which is in close correspondence to the colors on the cover page. This translates the essence of that issue.

The typographic guidelines that I could interpret are the following:

  • The typographic elements are placed around the image/illustration, be it the cover page or a section front.
  • Minimal variation in typeface but extreme variation in typographic weights is how they communicate through the textual elements.
  • There is a clever overlap of the typography and image/illustration. In some cases, the image/illustration directs the reader to the tagline. This shows how they connect their image and textual elements creating a strong storyline.
  • The typography used is sharp, clear and simple to read.

I also think Futura as a typeface is geometric but precise at the same time, rigid but the variety of font styles to it provides an opportunity for the designers to use it repeatedly with multiple weights and styling. While the repetition of the typeface makes the issue’s look uniform the different styling prevents it from looking too boring as well.

Concluding, I think the overall typography in the magazine is an aesthetic idea about modernity–clean lines because the images and illustrations are so powerful. The typography gives a sense of efficiency and is contemporary just as the issue topics/themes of the magazine.

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Lessons learned, late but not forgotten

I’m excited to be taking the courses in design that I have chosen, such as this Publication Design class, although I’ve been off to a rocky start thus far. Upon reading the lessons learned from previous years, I’m both more nervous and excited about what the future is to bring. Here are my top 3 takeaways from what I read:

 

  1. Don’t save everything until the last moment: I have a hard time prioritizing at home when I get overwhelmed, so this point really stuck out to me. I need to make sure to keep on top of things in order to make sure this doesn’t happen. As several people have said thus far, “Its a marathon, not a sprint.
  2. Office hours are EXTREMELY important: I most certainly will be taking advantage of these, as I try to always maintain an open line of communication with my professors. I’ve even made a note on my phone about the different times that office hours are available.
  3. Accepting critique, yet knowing when to say no: This one was interesting to me. Growing up, we have been conditioned to take “critique” simply as things we must change about our work and ourselves. Instead, some of the lessons that were taken by other classes were to understand the critique but know that the design is ultimately yours. If you feel strongly about your decision, argue for it, fight for it, and explain why you chose it rather than simply following someone else’s advice. They do not know exactly what you are trying to do, so it could or could not work for the overall product. Keep that in mind.
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Field Notes — Organization — Sports Illustrated

Front Cover:

The covers of Sports Illustrated consistently features a single event, figure or theme in the issue. They most commonly show a single portrait of an athlete on their front covers, often occupying 70 percent of the space. Headlines addressing the athlete are also made into bold typography and placed beside the portrait. The purpose of doing so is to attract the audience with large and eye catching images and fonts. It is also to showcase the event or theme that this particular issue is going to focus on. Meanwhile, comparing to the bold, eye catching headlines, the “Sports Illustrated” icon on the front cover always seems to be smaller and less prominent. It is often half hidden as background under the featured figures. The purpose is to lessen the emphasis on the icon and add more attention to the image.

Table of Contents:

Sports Illustrated’s table of content uses only one page as its space. It uses an image as the background and reveals the table of contents in the form of a 2 x 4 table. Feature stories and their corresponding page numbers are listed clearly in the table. Also adequate white space is left in the page so that the content doesn’t feel too overwhelming.

Departments and Sections:

There are all together 5 departments in the Feb issue: “Editor’s letter”, “Leading off”, “Scorecard”, “Faces in the Crowd”, “Point after”. Among all the departments, only the “Faces in the Crowd” department is divided into 8 sections. The rest of the departments stand on their own.

Readers can find in which particular department they are at by looking at the up left corner of each page. Also, page numbers are marked in the lower left and right corners of each page so that readers can flip to the TOC to check where they are at.

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Field Notes #2: Organization

Cover:

National Geographic’s cover pages are distinct in that they typically feature one central photo or illustration and one headline. Most magazine covers feature headlines for a few inside stories, but NatGeo dedicates the entire cover to one feature or a theme for the issue. Consistent on each cover is the signature yellow frame and the nameplate. The nameplate is always in the top row and centered. It is sometimes partially covered by elements of the cover photo.

The purpose of the NatGeo cover page is to showcase a profound image and introduce the main feature or theme of the issue. As the cover photo takes up the entire cover, this is where the eye goes first. The eye then goes to the headline for the main feature or theme, which is usually centered on the page. The nameplate is understated to detract attention.

NatGeo covers evoke a sense of wonder, curiosity, and/or adventure, though the cover photos from issue to issue change drastically. NatGeo covers are also consistently dramatic.

Table of Contents/Index:

NatGeo’s table of contents is spread across two pages with ample white space. The top half of the page features a header and folio. The bottom half is the content list, which is divided into 4 columns. Page numbers for feature stories are greatly increased. The second page of the TOC features a large photo and more of the content list.

Departments/Sections:

NatGeo’s TOC lists four departments/sections: “Proof,” “Embark,” “Explore,” and “Features. These are not divided into separate sections throughout the issue. Rather, NatGeo compiles stories that fit in each section in the TOC. 

“Proof” features cultural stories. “Embark” includes stories of innovation. “Explore” features photo-heavy stories, particularly about nature. “Features” includes the cover story and longer feature stories 

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LET’S GET ORGANIZED!

ORGANIZATION FIELD NOTE 

 

SEPTEMBER 2019 ISSUE: Fast Co. divides its magazine into several categories. Like most magazines still in print, there’s a Front of the Book (FOB) which consists of just the Letter From the Editor, and several full-page ads. There’s no small fixtures in the FOB, the beginning of the book really starts with their section titled “Next” that features different things, people, ideas etc. that they think will become the next big thing. These stories range from Elon Musk and electric cars for the “Next: big idea” to “Next: data dive” on how billionaire tech CEO’s are investing in education.

These Next stories are organized by their sections, there are Next stories about Tech, Impact (meaning things/people/events etc. that are having a positive impact on our environment, society, social issues etc.), Creativity (that usually feature innovative people in the business industry, like how James Vincent and his company FNDR are helping companies create a unique brand voice ), and Co. Design, which usually focuses on big picture design flaws and people who are creating new ways of designing. Co. Design is one of the most unique sections within Next, through looking at numerous issues of Fast Co. the section ranges from Q&A’s with a model turned activist calling for a reform of the whole modeling industry, to an exhibit designer, Aki Carpenter who strived to make her creative vision for the African American History Museum capture the attention of adults and children.

Then comes the “Departments” section, which is a little confusing because typically “departments” refer to the sections in a magazine. So it confuses me a little why they would name a department, “Department.” But after browsing through this section in several of the issues, it seems like this section is usually a Recommendation section. And when it is, is just dubbed “Recommender” and branded on each page with an uppercase R. 

There’s anywhere between 7-11 recommendations per book when they include the section. Some are things celebrities recommend, others are small alternate story forms like a “Reading List,” “How to cut plastic out of your kitchen,” “Necessary Vice” which was a brand of Tequila. This section is subject to change. In their most recent issue, “The Secret Of The Most Productive People” Winter 2019/20 book, their Recommender section was just a gift guide to the best holiday gifts of the season, but they did it in a clever way. The products they recommend were taken from the recommendations of people who work in that specific industry. So to differentiate their holiday gift lists from every other publication who does them around the holiday season, they did lists like “The best gifts for foodies, according to a Sweet Green employees,” which personally captured my attention and makes me trust the recommendations even more because they come from people in that specific industry.

 

Then comes the feature well just dubbed “Features” in the magazine. There’s anywhere from 9-16 features per book. Usually it depends on the theme of the magazine. Since Fast Co. is a publishes eight times a year, so twice every four months, which makes it a bi-quarterly magazine. Since they don’t publish as often as most other business magazines. Fortune, Bloomberg, WIRED, and Business Weekly all publish more often than Fast Co. So, I assume to differentiate themselves they have a theme to almost every one of their issues that directly impacts their feature well. Some of their staple themes are “The Most Productive People” issue, the “5o Best Workplaces For Innovators,” the “Innovation by Design” issue, “The Most Creative People In Business” issue, and more. So, in the case of these very specific themes that usually highlight specific people or companies, the feature well is dedicated to profiles, usually short ones because they have to include so many, about what makes the person, company, or thing so special. For example in the September 2019 issue “50 Best Workplaces For Innovators” started off the well with a double page spread introducing the section.

The bright colors and fact that it takes up two pages, shows the reader that they’re switching gears and moving into the meat of  the book. The mini profiles on each company takes up eight pages.

 

They’re grouped into sections that explain the different types of companies, like you see above. And then they move on to several longer-form profiles on one company or CEO that they’re picked out of the herd as being even more innovative, and probably more interesting for the reader than some of the other companies. These longer form features begin with a very different looking double page spread for each one. The spreads introduce a new idea to the reader and their stark contrast in color and image feel/placement allow the reader to know that they’re moving gears again into a new story.

These three double page spreads vary by color, graphic elements, and feelings depicted by the photographs or visual elements. But all of them all knit together with the color black, as well as the “World of Experience” and “Google by Design” spreads sharing the same font.

After the feature well, there’s not much of Back of Book (BOB). The only thing after the last feature in the Sep ’19 issue is a light, fun, cartoon (pictured below), and a few ads. I assume that they don’t spend a lot of time, energy, or money on small BOB fixtures like horoscopes or quizzes because it doesn’t appeal to their audience, and because they publish fewer than a lot of other magazines, they want to give as many pages to real reporting as possible.,

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Field Notes-ESQUIRE-Organization

Cover: The cover of Esquire is to let people know what publication they’re reading, but also to distinguish what types of readers the magazine wants to read the publication. The cover features some of what the publication thinks are its most important stories for this month’s issue. Also, the cover features a cover star that typically produces the cover story for the month. It’s a clean layout that has the nameplate centered at the top, in the middle, in order to inform readers what publication this is. The typefaces used on the cover are clean and simple. Some of the typefaces, in conjunction with others, provide a little more depth to the cover. Also, typically, there’s a contrasting color featured amongst the white text in order to keep the reader engaged and interested.

There is a plethora of pictures used in Esquire. For smaller segments where they analyze a trend, they get a picture of the trend on models in typical or peculiar places, in order to highlight the trend or look depending on what it is. The fashion spreads are used to display what the publication dictates as a trend as well. The other photos are service piece photo spreads for gift giving ideas, grooming tips, or the best restaurants in America, etc. This is the pattern of Esquire.

The nameplate is the in the middle of the cover. The typeface is cursive and bold. The folio is on the bottom of the page. With the edition of the issue on the left facing page next to the page number and photo credit on the right facing page next to the page number. This isn’t set in stone as it tends to vary from page to page.

 

The number of stories varies from month to month. In the Winter_2020_Esquire, there’s 9 stories total.

Esquire is organized in a sense of engaging and fun content. There’s fashion content in the beginning of the book and as the reader treks along, Esquire starts to touch on every segment of “lifestyle” when it comes to men. But, Esquire wants to try and hook their readers, so they put the more important stuff at the middle/end of the issue.

 

There’s consistency with the cover. There’s always a cover star, the same fonts are featured, and the nameplate does not change. Also, there’s at least one fashion spread per issue. Esquire tends to do several service stories per issue in order to help their readers.

The tone/attitude of the cover is simple. It’s a men’s lifestyle magazine that wants to appeal to the modern, trendy, fashionable man and give them reading material that matches their interests. The cover features Michael B. Jordan. The photo works well with the cover template of Esquire. I think that the lighting of Jordan’s face really complements the color yellow that Esquire decided to use. It provides great contrasts and helps depict Jordan as a stern and debonair figure in Hollywood.

TOC/Index: There are promos all throughout the magazine. There’s a more masculine approach to promos. Advertisements come in many forms in this magazine. Watches, cars, beers/liquors, luxury designer brands, and popular food is featured in this magazine from month to month.

The Table of Contents is not normal. It doesn’t say “Table of Contents” across the listing, it just says “Contents.” It’s on one page and is usually in the front of the magazine. In this issue it happens to be on page 7. This works because it makes the magazine look more modern and sophisticated. The hand on the page works because it’s pointing to the contents and helps to guide the readers eye there. Also, there’s a section on this page that foreshadows a service piece that’s found later in the magazine. It also gives what page the service piece is on. There are 30 promos in this issue.

 

Departments/sections:

 

According to the contents page, there are 7 departments. The Editor’s Letter is on page 16, “The Code” is on page 19, “The Big Bite” is on page 37, “Divorce: A Love Story” is on page 50, “The Night The Capitol Did Not Sleep” is on page 54, “The Best New Restaurants in America, 2019” is on page 57, and “How We Dress Now” is on page 120. Features tend to be in the middle of the issue, whereas, fashion spreads are consistently in the back of the book. This plays into what really works with today’s lifestyle/fashion publications. There’s ads spread throughout with engaging content along the way. The fashion spreads are crucial to a magazine like Esquire since it covers menswear. The food and op-ed pieces are right before and right after the feature pieces. The cover story is typically close to the fashion spreads in the bob.  In order to let reader’s know where they are in the magazine, there are red colons, or other parts of the byline or headline underlined or printed in red.

 

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WIRED | FIELD NOTES | ORGANIZATION

COVER

The front cover of Wired exists to attract the attention of the reader while highlighting one of the main features from the issue and, occasionally, previewing other stories in the magazine. The most recent issues feature a portrait of the focus of the main feature over a solid color or non-busy background.  Despite Wired being focused on tech stories, the images used are very human, highlighting the people behind these stories rather than the technology. The photos are intimate and give the reader a feeling of familiarity for the people featured. Older editions of the magazine have used creative text-based illustrations for features that don’t focus on one specific person or subject.

WIREDWIRED

The nameplate of the magazine is almost always placed at the very top of the page, starting flush with the left side of the page and ending flush with the right. The images used will often overlap the nameplate, creating a sense of depth on the cover. The nameplate’s use of negative space also make it feel as if it is part of the background, contributing to this sense of depth. The title will usually be in bold text on either side of the portrait for photo based covers, but, for illustration based covers, will be centered and occupy most of the cover. Some editions only preview the story which is the cover feature, but others will preview two to three of the inside stories. There isn’t a particular pattern for placing the inside stories when they are previewed, however, they are always smaller than the title for the main story. As far as hierarchy, Wired is mostly consistent with its covers. The title is often the largest object on the page, with the nameplate occasionally being larger but, due the placement of the nameplate behind images, the title is often the first thing the eye moves toward. The subtitle is usually the next largest object on the cover, and if story previews are present, they are typically the smallest or least visually prominent.

Overall, the cover’s use of eye-catching images are successful in getting the attention of the reader. The layout of the cover do the job of informing the reader what will be ahead in the magazine and giving them a reason to read on.

TOC/INDEX

The TOC uses different shapes and colors to break up the sections of the magazine. In the January 2020 edition, each section corresponds with a specific color. Circles are used to introduce the section itself, while rectangles and squares preview each story title and what page they are on. Small photos are also included in some of these rectangular previews. There are 17 total promos on the TOC. I find that this design is successful in being easy to navigate but also more interesting than a list style TOC.

DEPARTMENTS/SECTIONS

Wired is currently made up of the following sections: “Electric Word” which opens the magazine.”Mind Grenades” which are the first multiple page stories featured in the magazine. “Gadget Lab” which focuses on showcased must-buy tech and follows “Mind Grenades.” “Post” which breaks up “Gadget Lab” from the features. “Features” which are the long-form journalistic stories that make up a bulk of the magazine. “Six Word Sci-Fi” which is a single page that closes out that magazine. Each section is labeled in the top margins of the page, except for the “Features” section which is not labeled.

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The Organization of the New Yorker

The New Yorker is a magazine that encourages the readers to think, specifically about social issues and the world around them. As a mostly word-driven magazine with the visuals being mainly illustrations, it seems book-ish.

As for the front cover, the purpose of it is to give a sneak peek of what’s to come inside in terms of content and overarching themes. However, at times the front cover’s illustration is also it’s own story, something that will resonate with the readers. For example, the Martin Luther King Jr. edition of the New Yorker featured stories about social justice and the cover was a timely illustration depicting children painting a mural of MLK. As stated in my previous blog post, it could represent the larger issue of carrying on an important legacy or message throughout generations.

For the Oct. 7 issue, the New Yorker used an illustration of Donald Trump pushing Uncle Sam, a symbol of America’s freedom and loyalty. This was timely because it was a caricature of the impending impeachment accusations and spoke to the larger American audience as Trump threatened many foundational principles.

In the New Yorker, they mostly use illustrations, and it’s a great technique for the magazine because it keeps with their book-ish nature, as a word-heavy publication. They typically are at the beginnings of big feature stories, or are used to break up poems or shorter narratives that share a page, much like a graphic.

The nameplate on the front of the cover, as well as the date and cost of the magazine, are in the same, classic, New York font, similar to that of an older publication. It’s regal and elegant and fits well with the illustrations, but is a stark contrast with the modern digital age. The words are all at the top of the page, which serves the reader so they can see the cover illustration more.

There aren’t any cover lines on the front cover, and that’s probably because they don’t want to cover up the illustration. Instead, the readers must turn to the front of book to see the table of contents, where the stories are listed. They are divided into various sections: “The Talk of the Town,” “Personal History,” “Shouts and Murmurs,” “Reporter at Large,” “Fiction,” “The Critics” and “Poems.” The list is structured in a way that puts current events first at the forefront as most important, then profiles and long form stories as secondary, and the rest of the stories are shorter, like poems and opinions pieces.

All of these aspects of the New Yorker are consistent throughout every issue and in each individual issue as well, so the readers know what to expect with every new issue that comes out.