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032c #34, The Big Flat Now
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032c #34, The Big Flat Now

Berlin’s 032c is always delivers on the design front; under the guidance of art director Mike Meiré and designer Tim Giesen it continues to challenge what is contemporary. It’s also developed an interesting themetic device where a guest art director designs a complete feature – we featured Richard Turley’s ‘Us vs Them’ provocation last year. For their latest issue, Jonathan Castro designs ‘The Big Flat Now.’

The vividly bright, organic pages stand out among the relatively clean white pages of the issue. Lusciously printed with metallic silver and mixing colours, gradients and shadows in a manner – slightly dirty – only possible with Photoshop, the 20-page feature notes the flattening of culture, language, history and more.

Overseen by Thom Bettridge and Lucas Mascatello (also one of the Civilzation team), the series of articles describes a world dominated by digital feeds where everything is everything is everything. The design reflects this view perfectly, the bright fields of slickly reproduced tones and colours leaving no space for space or reflection. ‘There is no perspective, no yesterday, no tomorrow,’ states Real Review’s Jack Self, and despite the tool available these pages are resolutlry flat. Every element is designed and mediated, with a nostalgic channelling of early digital designs (think Kai’s Power Tools) and early Jonathan Barnbrook.

The irony is that while the message is compelling, there are few magazines that have been more at the forefront of the creation of the situation The Big Flat Now describes. It’ll be intriguing to see how future issues of 032c respond.

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