Tagged: graphic 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Unclogging Architecture: CLOG

My background is in architecture. Unfortunately, most architecture magazines are horrible. Architecture is about 15 years behind the rest of the design world, and this is particularly evident when you look at magazines. Industry staples like Architectural Record, Architecture Digest and Architectural Review revel in the “tradition” of architecture, but don’t offer a progressive direction for the profession or any editorial space to those who are paving a new path.

Luckily enough, there is CLOG. Unlike its contemporaries that focus on the flavor of the day, CLOG “aims to slow things down.” Launched in 2011, every issue tackles a single subject pertinent to architecture, and it does so by gathering submissions from whoever feels like they have something to say about the subject, regardless of their background. You can think of CLOG as a crowd-sourced architectural digest that goes beyond any given topic, and beyond architecture itself.

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The inaugural issue focused on Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), an architecture firm that has quickly risen through the ranks to become one of the most visible practices in the world. Highly digestible 500-word entries examine every facet of Bjarke, his team of BIGsters, and their projects. The icing on the cake is an appendix of responses from Bjarke himself, attempting to refute the more venomous of the features. The formula is powerfully effective.

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Fast forward to Spring 2013, when CLOG launched their fifth issue, titled National Mall. The issue is more mature than the first, but still features the same cheeky, analytical punch. Testifying for the variety of backgrounds that CLOG refreshingly draws ideas from, the issue leads with an article by a journalist, my wife, Francesca Giuliani-Hoffman aka The Italien), as she examines what the real American Mall is: the National Mall in DC, or the famous commercial center, the Mall of America. As she points out, the first 6 search results on Google are for the commercial center.

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CLOG’s themes are great, but the magic is in the format. The magazine prides itself on publishing content “succinctly, on paper, away from the distractions and imperatives of the screen,” but I think the alchemy here is a bit different than what the editors are touting.

Flipping through CLOG is more akin to browsing a well written forum-thread, than, say, Architectural Record, where you’re going to have just a handful of lengthy features. Gone, also, is super-gloss architectural photography, and in its place is a smart use of black and white, a minimal layout, and punchy typography.

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The length of time that it takes to absorb the content of a magazine is vital, and CLOG, unlike the speed that its name implies, actually expedites this relationship between content and reader. CLOG is more effectively understood as a cross-breed of architecture magazine and bathroom reader; succinct, entertaining, and informative. Compared to something like Paradis, CLOG is fast.

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CLOG will be launching its next themed issue, on Brutalism, within the next few weeks. If you would like to see more, be sure to check out the CLOG website.

The Beginning of the New Year Compilations…

It’s that time of the year again – when every news source, blog, and Jack Nicholson-type OCD co-worker (we all have one) takes stock of the year and posts a “Best Of” list consolidating and ranking whatever their favorite hobby might be. The New Year seems to turn every person into an Ebert or a Roeper. This year is no exception, and as we gain momentum towards the end of the year (end of the world?) the lists are beginning to pop-up like whack-a-moles.

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Here is a good one by Designers & Books — although this falls outside of the magazine target of this blog – its still pretty enough to post here. A few notables are the Torre David book which includes the photography of Iwan Baan (whom I previously posted about here), alongside the ever entertaining Abstract City by the New York Times visual-blogger Christoph Niemann, and a book called Hippopposites which I’ve never actually had a chance to page through, but whose cover (look at those Hippos!) I distinctly remember walking past many times in Rome last Christmas. I hope that it is still there this Christmas (leaving for Rome in a little over a week! yay) or else I’ll bathe myself in guilt for not getting it last year…

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HIPPOS!

Out now: Gypsé Eyes

The revival of nudie magazines a la Richardson and Jacques over the past few years is nothing new. Increased interest in promoting sexuality without resorting to the low art of pornography has led to a slew of new publications, some retro, others glossy, focused on communicating sexiness in alternative ways. Enter Gypsé Eyes

Gypsé Eyes is a magazine lovingly crafted from inside a Brooklyn studio that prides itself on “plumbing the depths and dimensions of sex, love, and relationships.” Led by designer-cum-publisher Tyler Lafreniere, each issue is brimming with work from up-and-coming designers, all within a well-crafted format that shifts dramatically from issue to issue. From its humble photocopied zine-ish beginnings in Issue 1 to a glossy Issue 3 (The Make Out Issue), to Issue 4 on large sheets of newsprint (The Magic Issue), the ever-changing style provides for surprising moments along the way.

Last week I received a very special package on my desk containing no less than 5 issues of Gypsé Eyes, a handful of magic buttons, a plastic necklace, a mix tape, a mysterious baggie labeled “Make-Out Powder” and two tiny phalli. The party bag is closely related to the mission of the magazine: to toe the line of in-your-face erotica alongside kitschy, tongue-in-cheek and unquestionably awkward moments that make it feel voyeuristic and amateur (in a good way). The general campy-ness of the content is something unique that I haven’t seen in this genre of magazine, but it comes off as a kind of love-child between Vice Magazine and Giddyheft. Hipster loving here we come!

Issue 5: The Food & Drink Issue

Gypsé Eyes “investigates the hilarity and loneliness of sex, love, and relationships,” and it does a hell of a job at capturing every possible face of sex from downright sleaziness and hipster pretentiousness to the humorous, clumsy and authentic. The themed structure creates highly digestible issues that effectively cross-breed erotica with outside topics, like magic and food, uncovering sexiness in previously unsexed locations.

Issue 5: The Food & Drink Issue

Issue 5: The Food & Drink Issue

But of course there is more to it than that, Gypsé Eyes publishes each issue in limited runs, and incorporates hand-made techniques like silkscreen and letterpress printing. Issues are framed within well structured layouts that gives each contributor’s work the center stage. High-quality graphic flourishes (especially in the Food & Drink issue, and I love the logo!) and careful production lets each issue shine in its own unique ways. Helpful charts and diagrams alongside well written stories add an additional layer to delve into within each issue.

Issue 4: The Magic Issue

Issue 4: The Magic Issue

It is no small feat to publish a magazine in this day and age, as a result Gypsé Eyes has harnessed the power of crowd-funding on more than one occasion via Kickstarter to raise the necessary funds. Every issue can also be downloaded here, but I strongly encourage you to spend a few bucks and get the printed editions. Gypsé Eyes is a wonderful addition to any bookshelf… or night stand.