WIRED | Field Notes | Space

The magazine I’m studying is WIRED — this time around, the December 2017 U.S. Edition. The monthly magazine presents itself physically with 8” x 10.875” pages and margins (going clockwise on a left page) of 0.5 inches, 1 inch, 1.5 inches and 0.5 inches. Its gutters are 1.3 pica and its issues tend to read from 100 to 200 pages. As for columns, WIRED articles typically take up two columns — three columns at the most.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

When it comes to the use of space, WIRED isn’t simply offering its readers some classic “white space” for copy and images to breathe. Often, space is an element that is used to highlight unusual shapes.

In the front-of-book, WIRED marks a model of the Millenium Falcon for its Christmas list. The page is white and blank, save for a cut-out image of the LEGO replica.

Exhibit C

There is barely any copy marking the page. The spaceship is the focal point, with its extraterrestrial ridges, prongs and curves.

Likewise, NASA’s rocket taking center stage in this issue sits at the bottom of the cover story’s title page. This time, it isn’t surrounded by blankness, but an extended image of the room the rocket is housed in.

Exhibit D

The vast emptiness of the room ensures your eye is drawn to the peculiar dome-shaped machine aglint under the warehouse lights.

This is effective because WIRED’s focus is delivering science news. If, as journalists, you get to discuss all sorts of strange, outlandish devices and tools and machines, why not celebrate that difference through the stories’ design?