Wired‘s general language is witty, smart, and even leans toward the conversational spectrum. This is apparent not only in the way its sentences are simplistic, but also in the types of articles they publish, particularly in the FOB section.
In the particular issue I’m analyzing, there is a FOB piece titled “How Stuff Works,” which shows the diagram of a pencil and calls it “writing stick.” It’s a very hilarious and satirical piece that clearly aims to poke fun at the type of people who would read (and even work for) Wired.
Wired‘s headlines are the very definition of conversational, particularly when it comes to FOB and BOB sections. The feature well is a little bit different in the sense that it’s sometimes not as witty or conversational, but the simplistic diction and language remains consistent across the magazine. This approach works really well because readers will want to read the story if they see that a headline is witty or conversational, and bonus points if it makes them laugh.
Depending on the story, the pull quotes are actual quotes from a source in the story or just a line that the writer has written. For the most part, the pull quotes are not attributed, but there are a few exceptions. Wired does a great job of picking quotes that are not very self explanatory, and instead choosing ones that will make you want to read the article to get the full context.
The cutlines and captions in Wired are also very straightforward. They’re not necessarily conversational in tone, but because they’re almost always one sentence long, they normally will just provide context or information for the photo or graphic that they accompany. This makes sense to me because Wired is all about sleek and effective design, and bogging down a photo with a long caption would be the complete opposite of that (also, no one would want to read a long caption).
For writers, Wired uses the consistent “By ____ ” as the formula for bylines. But I find it interesting that for photographers, the magazine’s style is to place a camera icon and place the photographer’s name next to it. For illustrators, the same applies except it’s a paint palette rather than a camera. Though I think that some readers might not realize right away what the icons mean, I think it’s unique and speaks well to Wired‘s unique style and brand.
One of my favorite parts about Wired‘s identity is its section names. Its sections are given names that speak to the magazine’s unique brand. The sections are Infoporn, Alpha, Ultra, Q, and Gadget Lab. (This was also mentioned in my first field notes post.)
• Infoporn: Visual Information — This section features maps, charts, photos, and any other graphics-heavy content. This is usually data-intensive, but also visually appealing.
• Alpha: Firsts. The New. The untested. — This is the section where Wired editors exposes new technologies, places, people and other social agendas that readers might not have yet heard of.
• Ultra: What We Love. What You Love (Maybe Too Much). — This section is described as “the place to obsess” over things Wired editors are excited about. This includes most famously their must-lists, presented visually and usually with the magazine’s trademark witty and humorous voice.
• Q: How the World Works. — This section is the home of Wired’s “explainer” items, where they show or explain the culture behind the world that Wired aims to expose. This includes one of their most consistent sections, “What’s Inside,” which describes a particular item and goes in-depth about how it’s made or what’s in it, and “Mr. Know-It-All,” which is usually formatted as a Q&A with one question that’s given a long, well-researched and knowledgeable answer. Ultra and Q sometimes they will also appear within Alpha itself.
• Gadget Lab: Wired Style Guide. — Gadget Lab is the section where Wired editors go through the latest products, breaking them down for effectiveness for their readers. It’s usually where the back-of-book stories are located, but in accordance with magazine trends in general, much of the BOB content appears not at the very end after the features, but at the end of the FOB stories just before the well.