One of the most interesting things about Wired is that while it does have a set and recognizable logo, it changes in every single issue. I just thought it was worth noting that its brand is so well known that you could put it in any color and you would know what magazine you were looking at.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my hands on Wired‘s official color palette. But Going inside the magazine now, it’s interesting to see how Wired utilizes color because until now, I did not realize that most of its color comes from the visuals: the images, graphics, and illustrations (ads not considered). Most, if not all, of the heds and deks in the FOB/BOB sections are in the colors of white, black, or gray. Any design elements or entry points such as pull quotes, lines, and boxes, are usually in black.
My guess is that Wired knows its visuals are so strong that when its designers are designing, they understand that they shouldn’t litter it with too many other colors. The more neutral design elements are to complement the visual and not clash with it.
When it came to the features, however, it changed. Still keeping in mind that design should complement the visual, I thought the design of the intro page for the J.J. Abrams feature in the Dec. 2015 issue was interesting. It stuck to the classic black that Wired has used consistently, except it made the color the background and used white text on top of it. The words “Lucky VII” were in bright yellow, causing it to stand out against an extremely dark background and even against the photo of Abrams on the left hand side, who is wearing dark jeans and a black shirt.
Another example is another feature story in the same issue about secretary of defense Ashton Carter. In this story, the pages are full of colorful squares, particularly green, that are placed together to make the page seem “tech-y.” Even Carter’s photograph is slightly altered so that there is a purple and blue shade to his skin and the entire photo in general.
The following pages also continue the green and elements that began on the cover page, putting them in the gutters between columns and altering the page numbers on the corners to match the design elements.