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At Work With: David Moretti, Wired Italia
At work with

At Work With: David Moretti, Wired Italia

David Moretti has been Creative Director of Wired Italia since its launch in 2009. Using the US edition as a starting point, David has given the Italian edition its own unique character using all the tools available to the editorial designer to produce stunning, award-winning results in both print and on the iPad. We join him as he starts work on their October edition.

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Where are you today?
I’m in my office preparing for today’s meeting about October’s cover story package – 12 pages plus the cover. I need to sharpen some ideas and define my sketches.

What can you see from the window?
The Sforza Castle. Built in the 15th century by the Duke of Milan Francesco Sforza, it now houses several of the city’s museums and art collections. 200 metres on my right I can also see La Triennale Design Museum. I’m pretty lucky to be based between two of the most inspiring spots in Milan.

Are you a morning or evening person?
Sometimes I think I’m two different persons in one body! I love the morning, it’s a great moment to organize the day, sharing my vision with colleagues, checking the workflow, tuning the process of composing the magazine, planning meetings. But as a designer, well, I’m for sure an evening person. Soft light, good music, my tools and few people around me. Evening working is such a blessing.

What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
Palais designed by Helmo. It’s the official magazine of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. It’s not simply a focus on the exhibitions and program of the museum, it’s an in-depth experience of what contemporary art is, often involving the artists in the process with interviews, essays, dossiers and, for the pleasure of my eyes and fingers, inserts and special projects. Palais is more than a magazine, it’s a beautiful item. An object thought not only to be read, hold and display but lived and consumed by a community.

And your favourite iPad magazine?
I love Katachi. As a customer and as a designer. It is conceived to be played much more than to be read. It’s not related to an existing print version so the level of experimentation can is higher.

It must have been a challenge taking on the design of the Italian edition of Wired when the US version was so highly admired. How have you tried to make the project both yours and Italian?
I’ve been a faithful subscriber of the magazine since 1994. I remember a quote from John Plunkett, first creative director of the US magazine; “Extraordinary information presented in extraordinary ways”. This was really subversive, a declaration of war against banality and mediocrity. Extraordinary not for fantastic or amazing (or even worse ‘beautifully designed’) but as the opposite of ordinary.

In 2008 Italy was stuck in a deep cultural crisis. Just surviving on stereotypes and old models and being ordinary instead of innovative. The only value that remained was linked to what the past had produced. We decided to use Wired Italia to drive new and disruptive ideas and concepts, to show a vision through the living example of innovators, scientists, researchers – people ignored by the ordinary press. We needed our ‘mind Grenades’ (as Plunkett called his experiment of mixing content and visual metaphors), so we started defining our uniqueness in the Italian newsstands and leading our efforts to find our evolution from the original Wired DNA.

We were completely free to try – the advice from Chris Anderson and Scott Dadich (US editor-in-chief and design director at the time) was: “Dare!”.

So we did. We used graphic design, illustration, photography, and even paper to rivet the attention of our readers, creating visual metaphors related to the content. Helping them to understand complexity and then have an opinion on a specific matter. We didn’t look for a contemporary aesthetic but for a contemporary magazine. We stayed away from any trend but we became a trend by using a different storytelling.

Are your print and iPad work processes completely combined in the studio now?
Yes. We started thinking about our digital replica in 2010. When I saw Wired’s Beta for the first time presented in New York I thought “I want it. Now!”. As a designer I couldn’t wait a second to start working on something that could help me to spread our contents in a new and powerful way. I truly believed tablets could have been the real revolution of the publication world not missing the opportunity to recreate an immersive, intimate reading experience. In a blink we found ourselves animating illustrations, writing code, filming and editing video. We weren’t trained at the start but it soon became natural.

What’s your perspective on the future of the iPad and mag apps?
Numbers are telling us that the consumers have rejected apps. But I’d rather speak more generally about brand extensions and content experience. Print, web, apps, even events, aren’t in competition. They are all opportunities. I remember how the first reaction of the publishing companies to the web was to mimic it. We’ve spent over a decade liberating print and magazines from the idea that the digital would ‘finally’ kill the paper dinosaur.

Now everyone seems to say apps are dead but I just think we’ve only just begun exploring them. We need to use the medium for its potential and we have only scratched the surface of that. I can tell you from personal experience that forcing content from one medium into another is a less than ideal situation. I’m optimistic about the future of apps. For sure a non print-or-web-centric future.

What are you most looking forward to this week?
This is a crucial week for our next four months strategy. Three events before Christmas, another special double issue and the final approval for the October cover design.

What are you least looking forward to this week?
The approaching of Storm Electra over Italy.

What will you be doing after this chat?
Taking a double espresso and buying a new umbrella.

David Moretti will be speaking about his experience of combining print and iPad design at The Modern Magazine 2014.

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