Design: Magazines as a Showcase
Will we ever see layouts like this in our magazines?
India’s magazine industry is seeing a boom, a couple of magazine launches are announced every month. Yet it is rare to spot writing that impresses and editorial design that inspires!
What is wrong? In a race to meet the deadlines we have forgotten that while readers need information, insight and entertainment, they would appreciate content in an intelligent and aesthetically-pleasing package. Editorial pages must have elements that are not just another sidebar, quote box, visual or a mundane type cluster. Visual appeal and intelligent writing is important for magazines to endure.
One magazine professional I highlighted this to brings out b2b publications and he could not be bothered by lack of design. His excuse: “Our readers are used to such bad design that the absence of qualified 'designers' in the 'design' team does not matter.” Another does not even realize that their layout is victim of template-isation and poor usage of graphics downloaded from free sites or culled from ubiquitous FREE design libraries.
Two weeks ago I had the fortune to be part of a huge audience listening to eminent names in design: Andy Altman, Peter Bilak, Neville Brody, Paul Hughes, Nick Bell brought to India as part of Kyoorious Design Yatra in Goa ... and the experience was humbling. Most of the international speakers at the conference were accomplished designers who at sometime in their professional life were involved in magazine design and each spread/layout they displayed showed amazing thought.
In contrast, the Indian speakers at the conference had design/ advertising background. Only magazine that was represented there (as an industry exhibit!) was Seminar which for long has had beautiful covers done using type, each one distinctive and very attractive.
Magazines have an amazing opportunity to be a showcase for good design unlike advertising which at the end of the day has to sell a product or a service.
But for most magazines in India, it is a bus we have missed.