February 2010 Archives

Platon's Photos of Civil Rights Heroes

Platon's Photos of Civil Rights Heroes

The New Yorker's Feb. 15-22, 2010 issue featured a remarkable portfolio of civil rights-era leaders photographed by Platon. Titled "The Promise," it also has an introduction by New Yorker editor David Remnick. The portfolio includes portraits of Malcolm X's daughters, Jesse Jackson, Muhammad Ali, former Black Panther Party leaders, the Little Rock Nine, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth of Birmingham, and many more.

The New Yorker's website features a slideshow of the photographs, with accompanying video and audio interviews, and many more archival images (the photographic composite above is taken from the website).

As good and engaging as the website slideshow is, this portfolio is a graphic reminder of the effectiveness of printed images. Looking at these pages of The New Yorker, you're hit dead-on by both the power of Platon's work and the amazing history and personal dedication and sacrifice that these photographs represent. I'm going to get all old school and say that no iPad presentation, no website slideshow will ever have the same impact as seeing these amazing images on a printed page. Respect the online, but love the print.


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Magazine covers: Does sameness sell?

Magazine covers: Does sameness sell?


Newspaper design guru Mario Garcia asks that question in his latest post for the Garcia Media blog. Why do so many magazine covers look the same? Why do they all use the same crop and style of photography, and why so many cover lines and tiny chip shots? Garcia has noticed this trend around the world (the above newsstand photo is from Buenos Aires). He talks with longtime magazine designer Robert Newman (that's me!) and weighs in with his own thoughts.

It's a good discussion. A couple key quotes:

Newman: "The sameness of cover design is a direct result of cover testing."

Garcia: "People want more items on the cover, more of the cover as navigator." (This will not make a lot of art directors happy).

The Mario Blog is updated daily with great insights and comments on newspaper design and publication design in general. It's one of the first things I read every morning and I always take away a lot of learning and smartness.


Related Stories:
ARTFUL COMMUNICATION: Gina Barnett

ARTFUL COMMUNICATION: Gina Barnett

I first met Gina Barnett a few years ago when she came to our office at SpotCo to help the senior managers work on presentation skills. While the president of our company is a natural and gifted orator who's at his most comfortable--and funniest--in large groups of clients, some of the rest of us, well... not so much. And that would be, including and especially me. I could speak to a conference of a thousand strangers without raising my blood pressure, but somehow feared that I was a fraud in front of small groups of people who are buying what we create.

Enter Gina Barnett.… MORE
David Cowles' Black History Month illustrated portraits

David Cowles' Black History Month illustrated portraits

In honor of Black History Month, illustrator David Cowles has posted a gallery on his Facebook page of 28 portraits of noted African American activists, celebrities, and entertainers. It's a great collection of illustrations in a variery of styles, all of them distinctive and memorable. We've got a dozen more examples here; visit Cowles' Facebook page and website to see many more.

(Pictured above): Actress Pam Grier.
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Photo Shoot or Video Shoot?

Photo Shoot or Video Shoot?

With cameras like the RED ONE, digital photography is starting to merge with shooting video. These recent covers for TIME and Esquire (after the jump) were shot on video. Esquire says, "For the first time in Esquire's history (and, we imagine, magazine history in general), a cover image was shot as a video." 

Have you had experience with this new process? Tell us what you think about this new arena.
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How magazine celebrates 25 years of publishing

How magazine celebrates 25 years of publishing

Graphic design mag How is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. Over the years How's covers have featured images and design from a wide array of talented illustrators, typographers, and art directors. They've collected a gallery of 25 of the best covers here. We've got 10 of our favorites here, including the 25th anniversary cover (left), featuring design by Bridgid McCarren and illustration and typography by Darren Booth.… MORE
Mommy, My Font Hurts

Mommy, My Font Hurts

Don't strain your eyeballs while they involuntarily roll to the back of your brain, but Helvetica has insinuated itself into my Saturday morning bake-a-thon and here's the reason why. Enjoy this painfully cute little blog entry while you're salivating. I kin bayke butt now I hav to lurn how to spel bettr!
Rare Specimen No. 2 Crown Jewels

Rare Specimen No. 2
Crown Jewels

As part of this year's PUB 45 celebration of great, inspiring work, we're asking people to share some of their personal inspirations with all of us. Our second entry in the Rare Specimen catalogue comes from Gail Anderson, who shares about a (dangerous) collection. For Gail's take on these small treasures, keep reading... … MORE
Happy 20th Birthday Entertainment Weekly

Happy 20th Birthday Entertainment Weekly

February 16 marks the 20th anniversary of the first publication date of Entertainment Weekly. For two decades EW has been the home of great illustration, photography, and design, and the training ground for successive generations of talented art directors. In its first four years, under founding design director Michael Grossman and art director Mark Michaelson, EW featured stunning, ground-breaking covers and brilliant cover photography. Here are 15 of the greatest covers from those first four years. Now, 20 years later, under the direction of design director Amid Capeci, EW is still the home for amazing visuals and creative graphics. Over the course of 2010 SPD will be featuring collections of covers from all six of the EW design directors.

The Entertainment Weekly issue archive is here.

(Above): Debut cover, February 16, 1990, K.D. Lang.

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Great illustrated covers from the Santa Fe Reporter

Great illustrated covers from the Santa Fe Reporter

The Santa Fe Reporter is an alternative newsweekly in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The cover designer is Angela Moore, who has been working there since 2003. Formerly the art director, she now works from home doing just the Reporter covers. An editorial illustrator who lived and worked in New York, she draws on that experience to hire great illustrators for the paper's covers. The Reporter has an editorial budget for an entire issue that is less than what most national magazines pay for a spot illustration, and to stay on budget Moore has to create at least one free cover a month. Still, she has managed to turn the Santa Fe Reporter into one of the best venues for illustration in the country, a publication filled with creative and imaginative imagery. 

Moore has a great love for poster design, and it shows. Her covers are mini-posters, bold, pointed illustrations with complimentary type. At the same time they work brilliantly as engaging, timely covers, designed to drive circulation and appeal to the Reporter's readership.

Angela Moore's website here.

(Above): October 22, 2008, illustration by Eddie Guy.
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Details

Details "10th" Anniversary

This month, Details celebrates their "10th" Anniversary. Why the quotes? We'll its the 10th anniversary of their relaunch. The title actually dates back 28 years. … MORE
Medal Finalists Announced: Rare Specimen Samples of PUB 45

Medal Finalists Announced:
Rare Specimen Samples of PUB 45

The results of a great judging weekend? A fantastic selection of medal finalists, with competition so tight that in a very few instances, there are ties that can't be broken: Gold and Silver Medals from the following list of Medal Finalists, will be announced at the SPD Gala on Friday, May 7th, and in some categories, two Silvers or two Golds. (It's one exceptional specimen after another, people!) Read on for a full list of finalists... … MORE
Black History Month Magazine Covers

Black History Month Magazine Covers

In honor of Black History Month, we've collected a series of publication covers featuring noted African American artists, personalities, and historical events. The covers include artwork and photos by Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Aaron Douglas, Michael Roberts, Gordon Parks, and Moneta Sleet Jr., and personalities such as Miles Davis, Naomi Sims, Shirley Chisholm, and superhero the Black Panther. There are also a number of "firsts," including the first black male model on the cover of GQ, and the first black model on the cover of Playboy. This collection is being updated daily throughout the month. You can find daily cover updates here.

Please let us know if you've got any covers to add to this collection.


(Above): Fortune, January 1968, cover art by Romare Bearden, for "A Special Issue on Business and the Urban Crisis."

The Black History Month cover series was co-produced by Linda Rubes of Fortune magazine.

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Under (W's) Cover: Edward Leida

Under (W's) Cover: Edward Leida

One of my favorite type of discoveries is to learn why and how a designer came up with an idea. So I'd like to share a peek behind the scenes at a great inspiration that I collaborate with on a daily basis: W magazine's Design Director Edward Leida and his twenty+ years of experience setting the design tone for the magazine.
This week, Wmag.com asked him to talk us through some of his most intriguing layouts for the title and how he keeps it real.
Check out the video interview here or watch after the jump...
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What You Can Win: The Nikon D300S Camera

What You Can Win: The Nikon D300S Camera

Not only is the D300S the best in its class, but it also shoots HD video.
And all you have to do is win first prize in this year's Student Photo Competition!  Check out the Nikon at work during the making of The Fantastic Mr. Fox in WIRED & two films made on the D300S on Nikon's microsite.  But don't stop taking pictures!  Download the poster and the Virtue & Vice Student Photo Competition Entry Form & Rules here, and remember the deadline is March 29th! … MORE
PUB 45's Magazine of the Year Sweet 16

PUB 45's Magazine of the Year Sweet 16

As we get ready to announce the PUB 45 Medal Finalists on Friday, we thought we'd open the doors a little and share some early results from the judging weekend, the top 16 magazines from the Magazine of the Year judging: … MORE
TONIGHT: Paul Sahre has a present for you.

TONIGHT: Paul Sahre has a present for you.

Yep. Just for you. Tonight. After his talk at the Helen Mills Theater.
Paul has been doing a little spring cleaning as you can see and would like to pass the savings on to you.
"What could I get?" you ask?
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SPD.org Web Updates

We're now live with three updates to SPD.org

1. Front and center on the home page, you will find a dynamic carousel that features links to great posts on SPD.org

2. We've added a text alert to the top of the site that we'll use time to time to inform you about news and upcoming events--like tonight's Paul Sahre's Speak Easy.

3. At the bottom of posts, we've added more share functions powered by Add This. 
Tweet, Facebook, or Digg your favorite posts with your friends and colleagues. 
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Pretty Distraction Before Morning Meeting

Pretty Distraction Before Morning Meeting


Sigh. Some people.... Jessica Hische is on my sh*t list this am for being so bloody talented. See her Daily Drop Cap: An Illustrative Initial Every Day for a little pick-me-up and to, as she would say "beautify" your blog posts.

http://dailydropcap.com/

Student Photography Competition: Entries due March 29th

Student Photography Competition: Entries due March 29th

Send us your best interpretation of this years theme and win prizes to help kick start your career. We've worked hard to set you up with some amazing goodies: a Nikon Camera, placement at The Eddie Adams Workshop, Abode CS4 fully loaded and more...
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Rare Specimens Dissected

Rare Specimens Dissected

We had an incredible time at FIT last weekend reviewing, probing, considering and being inspired by all the Pub 45 entries this year. Thank you entrants for sharing your best work of '09 with us. And thank you esteemed judges for giving so willingly of your time to cull the entries and help us divine those Rarest of Specimens. This year's Gala on May 7th will no doubt be a memorable and festive one.

Special thanks to Glenn Glasser for documenting the weekend AND for providing all variety of confections to keep us juiced! View some behind the scenes photos and judges portraits here.

Sincerest thanks!
Casey Tierney & Deb Bishop

Best! Books! Ever! (Part 7!)

Best! Books! Ever! (Part 7!)

We're refocusing our energies after a leisurely holiday break, slowly working our way through our growing list of designers and their best books ever. Join us as we inch towards the 50 designer mark.
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Behind the Design... Rihanna

Behind the Design... Rihanna

Here's another installment showcasing visual design explorations that I first began posting back in September of '08 with Anne Hathaway, Aria and Drew Barrymore designs.
For the February 2010 issue of W magazine, check out what could've worked, what definitely didn't work and what I ended up with.

After the jump, or you can view it as well as other great design treats on SPD's vimeo page here.

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SAHRE + NYT

SAHRE + NYT

Well as you may (or may not) know, Paul Sahre's Speak Easy talk is rapidly approaching next Tuesday, February 9th at The Helen Mills theater at 7 p.m.
While most are familiar with Paul's book covers and posters, he is also a regular contributor to The New York Times...and does some damn amazing work, from simple black and white letters illustrations to covers for the Book Review.
If you're already familiar, take a look and see what you might've missed!
If you've never seen, you're in for a treat.
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Nick Dewar, 1973-2010

Nick Dewar, 1973-2010

We received the very sad news today that noted illustrator Nick Dewar passed away. He was an amazing talent who worked with so many SPD members. His wonderfully brilliant illustrations and strong spirit and creative genius will be missed.

His artist rep Kate Larkworthy has the following posted on her Facebook page:
Nick Dewar--what a lovely man and dedicated friend. I can't believe he is gone in body but never, ever, ever in spirit. They surely threw away the mold when they made Nick. Those of us who were lucky to know him will have a void in our lives forever. Nick is survived by his wife, Sri.

A small family service will be held in Newport Beach later this week. A memorial service will be held in New York at a later date. Contributions can be made in Nick's name to radio station WFMU New Jersey.
Visit Nick Dewar's website for a great memorial to him, and his collection of brilliant work.

We encourage SPD folks to leave thoughts and remembrances of Nick in the comments section.
The redesign of the Texas Observer

The redesign of the Texas Observer

The Texas Observer has an over 50-year tradition of being the only regular muckraking outlet for investigative journalism in the state. It's published biweekly, to a small audience of politically liberal readers. With the recent launch of the online Texas Tribune, a reporting competitor, the Observer decided to produce a long-overdue redesign. The work was done by Em Dash, a studio headed up by Erin Mayes and Kate Iltis, based in Austin. The challenge was to create a template that could be produced by one part-time art director with a $450 art budget per issue. The result: a sharp, smart, right on, low-budget, high-impact design, perfect for the magazine's mix of muckraking reporting and liberal politics.

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