Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics From the creative team at Popular Mechanics, some new work featuring, well, UFOs (let your inner MythBuster loose, ok? We all have one). And other fun stuff, courtesy PM Design Director Michael Lawton:
We've worked hard since coming to Popular Mechanics to revamp the look and feel of this century-old magazine, so it was a bit of a challenge when we were presented with the idea of running a UFO feature AND cover. How do you package a clichéd story in an effective, modern way?
more after the jump...

The solve came when Director of Photography Allyson Torrisi brought in the work of Stefanie de Rouge, one of her students from the International Center of Photography. Allyson and Stef had been discussing Stef's conflict about the line between editorial art and fine art--whether or not to put a body of work that she called layered photos in her book to market commercially or keep it separate for galleries. Allyson had been stressing to the class throughout the semester that the line between gallery art and editorial art is not a hard one.
When it came time for final review Allyson finally got a chance to see Stef's mythical layered photos; she was awestruck. The approach was otherworldly--we wanted de Rouge to shoot our UFO opener. Next thing, Allyson and Stef were headed to Texas to photograph the residents of Stephenville, and that's when things got really otherworldly!
One challenge we face monthly is choosing photos for our New Cars section opener. Nine out of ten times, the only current photography is in the form of handouts from the car manufacturers, which, naturally, look like advertisements. It's up to us to make the photos work editorially.
One trick we use is to silo the car and create a dynamic background, as in the opener here for the Kia Soul Sport:
This next story was about two different teams within NASA that were each developing a new launch system to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and astronauts to the Moon. The simple existence of a secondary plan indicated dissatisfaction and frustration within NASA.
So I think we handled the opener pretty well, capturing the conflict within the space agency in Phillip Toledano's photo-illustration from PM's Director of Photography, Allyson Torrisi.

The Popular Mechanics staff is:
Michael Lawton : Design Director
Peter Herbert : Senior Art Director
Stravinski Pierre : Associate Art Director
Allyson Torrisi : Director of Photography
Michele Ervin : Associate Photo Editor
Anthony Verducci : Digital Imaging Specialist

NEW WORK is a new recurring feature. We'll welcome anything that's gone to the printer recently, something you're especially proud of and think might be inspiring to the membership and readers of Grids. We'll note the credits and the publication and shine a little light on the latest and greatest in publication design.

Please reduce your layouts to no larger than 1200 pixels wide and don't forget to include all relevant credits and a little background (if you feel like). Send your submissions to tips@spd.org and we'll post them as we get them.

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  • Amy Berkley

    I love what you did with the UFO story. It is hard when faced with cliche ridden ideas. Well done! Plus I love the gear opener. It is always nice to see creative use of product shots from companies! Great work Michael and Allyson!

  • Grant Glas

    Stefanie de Rouge layered photos look perfect for that article. Reading through this makes me want to pick-up the magazine. Good work

  • Mark Kaufman

    I love the new layout great work indeed, but I do have a question regarding the redesign.

    As you mention it is a century old publication, and it has a truly devoted audience, so what were the reactions to the revamp from the traditional readership?

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