When it comes to images, Esquire seems to play around with organizing them and the photos can be provocative, comical, or stoic, however, the artistic touch is always present. There is some structure with how they place images, especially when placed on some pages resembling a collage, but there is variety among issues. The designers vary the image placement from symmetrical and looking well-thought out, to images layered over one another, stacked, or even cut-out and tucked in corners or stretching across the page.
In the front of the publication, there is a mix of photos and illustrations used. In Esquipedia, with the expansion of a certain topic that’s written about later in the issue, there are witty illustrations and captions, placed within the text, but not distracting the eye with too large of images or too many (Example 1).
As the reader moves into The Big Bite, there are images that fill more of the page, as well as smaller ones that not only add layers to the piece, but that help bring the content to life. From cut out shoes stacked to watches enlarged and overlapping one another, with a car at the base, there is plenty to attract the eye.
Although some people may argue the use of multiple images and the collage style may distract the reader or be confusing, Esquire still places items in an intentional way, offering amusing layouts and artistic combinations that can lead to more engagement with the reader (Example 2).
There are some stories where the images are designed in a way that looks like the designer decoupaged some photos. They are regular photos, as well as cut-outs, with captions and columns framing or tucked beside them. (Examples 3 and 4).
The varying sizes of images, bold color choices, and the balance between pages, helps keep the designs captivating, fun, innovative, and also fresh. There aren’t specifics with organizing images and the layout of pages in each issue. Although there are some common elements in the sections, mostly in the front departments, the images throughout the pages reflect experimenting and
From what I’ve studied among the issues in the archives and current ones, the design and editorial teams tend to look for images that range from classic photographs, provocative images and themes, to artwork and famous pieces and styles (Example 5).
With the features, images become more consistent in terms of filling the page or stretching across the page to fill the entire spread, except one strip that frames a lone column. Speaking with designer, Simon Abranowicz at Esquire, he said the editorial team is more specific about what they want in this section so there is more consistency expected. Still, he can create new type for each story, but for photos, they are slightly less flexible with experimenting with those pieces.
Images are usually full page, sometimes expanding across two pages. Columns gradually build along the photo, or are placed simply in rows beside the main image, keeping the design clean (Example 6).
Even with organized columns in the features, the design team still play with layout, either adding an additional image on the page or changing one column to stand out among the rest.
The features also offer some insight into the theme or part of the story, not just offering a portrait or a specific scene. There is more detail or reference to a piece of the story or reflecting on the topic or part of their past. Art direction is what helps make Esquire stand out as a publication and connects the content with the personality, style, and message it has become known for.
Images support the lifestyle of the man Esquire is reaching out to, and the photos and illustrations are captivating, with some more focused on food and entertaining, with others offering more surprising elements or perspectives. The shock factor pops up at times, but mostly the images offer variety for man at his best…and man who wants to have fun and not care so much about etiquette or language.
Overall, I see the magazine using images that enliven the pieces, whether shorter in The Code or The Big Bite, or in the longer sections, including features. The editorial teams work closely with the design and art direction team to ensure the images are though-provoking and are engaging, whether there is a shock factor or stylish look about it.
Where usually, I can be drawn to images on the pages and skip reading the sections, with Esquire, I find the images do capture my attention but then make me curious to read the story, to know more behind the image chosen and why they chose it for that specific piece. And sometimes, the image is there simply for entertainment.