Tagged: design

Magazines as Muses: The Muse Issue by Verities

Following my previous post on CLOG Magazine, a themed architectural digest, I’m excited to dig into the book bag and pull out a different type of themed magazine: Verities. A London-based biannual, Verities “reveals the arresting and irrational in the everyday,” and the latest issue, titled The Muse Issue, doesn’t miss the mark.


Muses are an interesting topic for anyone within the creative industries. As Verities aptly points out, inspiration is a commodity, and developing a system to spark inspiration is vital for a successful creative. The issue uncovers “muses” in the everyday, while at the same time critiquing the established idea of the vixen as the sole source of stimulation.



In lieu of advertisements at the front, the first spread kicks off with a well-written Letter from the Editor, which is something that I miss from most magazines. Verities utilizes what I call an “atomized layout,” where images and text are scattered around each spread, creating a collage feel. The text provides shining moments and is further emphasized by sparse, moody photographs.



Verities goes beyond providing content that a reader could find online by sourcing a series of well-researched stories on Eleanor Callahan (muse, and wife of Harry Callahan), an illuminating story of transgressive artists with Catholic backgrounds by Philippa Snow, and a powerful, fictitious (I would find out later) photo essay titled “Dora Fobert” by Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, that masquerades as a set of found images of female prisoners at the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942.




A well-designed and well-curated magazine is an amazing source for inspiration: a Muse. Jean-Louis Cohen is quoted in one of the stories saying, “Exhibitions construct narratives, and they tell them with spatial, visual means,” and this is an apt description of this issue of Verities. Pick up your copy here.


How Pentagram Influenced 40 Years of Magazines

This year Pentagram, one of the world’s most far-reaching design firms, turns 40. This past Friday they hosted a red and rockin’ party in Times Square to fully embrace their 40 years. My wife and I were lucky enough to attend the event which brought all of the existing Pentagram partners plus lots from the past – and about 1,000 of their friends and party crashers. There are already a few tributes floating around the interwebs that showcase Pentagram’s impact on the world, and in honor of the 40 year anniversary I wanted to make a special post on the many ways that Pentagram has influenced and participated in magazine design over the past 40 years, with big name publications alongside smaller (but no less influential) titles.

The Atlantic // Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Luke Hayman redesign the 150+ year old The Atlantic in 2008 to uncover what Bierut calls “the right visual analogue for a distinctive editorial voice.”

TIME // Pentagram’s Luke Hayman orchestrates a major redesign of Time Magazine in 2007 bringing the publication fully into the 21st Century. Pentagram is also involved in launching the “Frames” project for Time Magazine a few years later.

2wice // Pentagram partner Abbott Miller serves as co-editor and designer of 2wice – a landmark publication that focuses on performance arts. 2wice also recently moved to a nifty digital format on the ipad.

RADAR // Pentagram Partner Luke Hayman leads the redesign of Radarmagazine that launches with the July/August issue in 2008, sadly just a few months before the magazine is shuttered.

METROPOLIS // Paula Scher, a partner at Pentagram, re-designs Metropolis in 1999. The magazine size is cut down, the logo gets cropped. Inside, the design shifts to a cinematic approach.

New York Magazine // Pentagram Partner Luke Hayward also directs the redesign of New York Magazine in 2006 and wins Magazine of the Year at the Society of Publication Designers’42nd Annual Awards for the iconic overhaul.

ARCHITECT // Pentagram partner Abbott Miller and his team design Architect Magazine when it launches in 2006. The highly accessible format has helped the magazine remain a visible and informative publication on the profession of architecture ever since.

TRAVEL + LEISURE // One of the world’s top travel magazines, Travel + Leisure reaches out to Luke Hayward and his team for a design overhaul earlier this year. Hayward previously served as Creative Director at the publication, so the collaboration came with ease.

Looking at the breadth of Pentagram’s history – and how their work has shaped entire industries (magazines and far beyond), often with surprisingly simple, clean and timeless designs serves as a refreshing reminder that design can and should be made to last. Thank you to Pentagram for the amazing party and here is looking at 40 more years of design excellence!

Sandy’s Iconic Cover and The Story Behind It

Perhaps the most iconic photo to emerge post-Sandy is this cover of New York Magazine – shot by architecture photographer Iwan Baan (whom I actually just met a few weeks ago at a Halloween Party hosted by Storefront for Art and Architecture). Following the storm, Manhattan was left divided in two, that is “SOPO” and “NOPO” (“South of Power” and “North of Power”) for almost a week.

By now this cover image has already gained lots and lots of coverage. There is one anecdote that I’ve read in a few places that goes like this:

“What was on your mind when you took this picture?” Iwan replied, “As I looked at the glowing Goldman Sachs tower and the bright buildings surrounding this financial icon—I saw who has the power and how problematic that is for this country.”

I think that the conclusion that Iwan reaches is forced. The fact is that Goldman Sachs was crazily prepared for the storm, while others brushed off the severity of impending Sandy (_cough NYU Hospital _cough). In an interview with the CEO of Goldman Sachs he states their borderline OCD preparation for the storm, and frustration following criticisms of Goldman Sachs after the storm.

All in all the cover is gorgeous and bound to be remembered down that line as an iconic image – but it is also important to remember that “iconic” can cause vast over-simplifications of complex circumstances.