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As a whole, WIRED’s textual aesthetic is sophisticated. I believe WIRED maintains this aesthetic in its typefaces, both serif and sans serif, to counter the unusual content, vivid language and overall fantastical tone contained its pages.
I am using four stories from WIRED’s August 2017 issue as a case study.
WIRED’s header typography is a balancing act between the cosmopolitan typeface Ambroise and the futuristic FF Oxide.
But this dynamic works, giving off a vibe akin to the residents of the Capitol in “The Hunger Games:” polished but eccentric.
Likewise, the body text will either be the literary Exchange, or the hip and fresh Brandon Text.
Exchange is used for the actual narratives or introductory text, and Brandon is used for sidebars, blurbs and infographics.Where as body text is likely to be 10 pts, header text will be 30 pts.
Sometimes, FF Oxide’s cousin Tungsten makes an appearance in infographics to maintain continuity.
Again, WIRED’s overall tone is fantastical. It gets to the heart of the intellectual curiosity it is looking to spark and feed within its audience.
WIRED’s name is a double-entendre: the magazine is breaking down how things are “wired,” how they work, as well as providing a space for the frenzied or “wired” brain.
There are seldom deks — only heds and body text. Heds tend to be quippy and labels are formed from the darned-est words. Take “Infoporn,” for example, or “The Chartgeist.” And how many magazines can get away with colloquialisms like “in the house” to announce an arrival or invitations to “get ready to rumble?”
It’s also quite the sci-fi move to invoke body language when talking about technology.
Credits are given at the bottom of the page, spaced calmly and neatly out from the page number and the folio.