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April 04, 2008

Magazine Design

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

MagCulture's interview with British magazine-design legend David Hillman supplies lots of info and context. Hard to believe that not all that long ago magazines had the kind of excitement and buzz about them that web-products do today, isn't it?

One especially nice stretch:

For me the best magazines are the ones where you can sense the enjoyment of the people who made it.

Exactly. They are few and far between these days ...

One thing I found difficult was the a period ten years or so ago when photographers like Jurgen Teller and Terry Richardson were shooting pictures of girls that looked like they were about three minutes away from dying. And I remember being in Paris with Harry Peccinotti and I happened to have a magazine with some of these pictures in it, and I said to him, what happened to the days when you used to go through a model’s book and think, who do I want to fuck? Not that we went around fucking models all the time…

…that was my next question…

…but models were real people. I used to fall in love every day. I’ve done a few photographic sessions recently and a lot of these girls you can’t even have a conversation with. We used to all go out to dinner together after a shoot and have a really fun evening. Most models now I can only just about bear being in the studio with them. That’s not being snobbish, they’re just so young and un-worldly.

Link thanks to Michael Bierut.



posted by Michael at April 4, 2008


This is tangential to your point about design, but I rarely look at magazines anymore. They've become transformed into product catalogs with just enough content to keep you looking at the ads. I periodically look at Vanity Fair, and can't stand having to wade through about 30 pages of ads just to find he bloody table of contents, which I then dog-eared so as not to have to repeat the process.

Generally, I peruse the free content online from the New Yorker and other mags. I won't pay $4.95 just for one article I really want to read. If it's not online, c'est la vie.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on April 4, 2008 10:13 PM

I know what you mean. Funny how central to the culture magazines once were. And not so long ago! I still love the idea of magazines, though, and am often struck by how snazzy they are. You're right: These days they're catalogues -- but they're often snazzy catalogues. Lotsa talent at work, but to what end?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 4, 2008 10:53 PM

VF is the only print mag I still read. I divide it into two parts: the first 3/4 or so (in pages) and the last quarter. First bit I skim, because it's mostly ad filler and the lite features like what kind of makeup a celeb uses. Then I get to the back. Lots of long, meaty articles (even if the meat is light and tender and fluffy, there are still lots of words), very few ads, and good concentrated reading. The skim takes me about 15 minutes, the meat considerably longer, depending on the number of good articles. That clean division relieves me of the necessity of even reading the ToC. If I want the meat, I just go to the back quarter, and start reading.

Posted by: PatrickH on April 5, 2008 9:55 AM

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