Things I’ve done recently:
Listened to eighties design business guru Michael Peters explain during a D&AD lecture that designers need to understand and work with words. That is, they must get involved in Content. Peters’ words for more interesting than the work he showed, to be honest, but the words were vital and inspiring.
Watched Tyler Brulé (Monocle founder/editor-in-chief) talk magazines with Fantastic Man co-founder Gert Jonkers, part of an event to celebrate ten years of Brulé’s creative agency Winkreative. Conclusion? The person makes the magazine. Brulé, undoubtedly talented though he is, is too serious. In real life there is a hint of humour but it’s very subtle, and next to Jonkers he didn’t stand a chance. Brulé wanted to overload everything with relevance, Jonkers came across as someone that knew his stuff but enjoyed the world he works in. It really was like watching Monocle and Fantastic Man sat together chatting.
Chaired an evening about magazine design for D&AD members. Myself and three others (Matt Willey of Studio8, Becky Smith from Lula and David McKendrick from Esquire) spoke briefly (ten minutes!) about their favourite pieces of editorial work. On paper it felt like a good combination of different voices from editorial design, and I think the evening matched expectation with the added benefit that despite the differences in our roles – me customer publishing, Becky independent publishing, Matt editorial design studio and David graphic designer-turned editorial designer – we presented pretty consistent views on magazine design. That is, it’s not a function that can be easily separated from the other parts in magazine creation. Understand and work with the content.
Enjoyed another D&AD evening, this time listening to digital pioneer Sanky from Allofus talking about his inspirations. While he described his brief period at i-D magazine as awful, he again concluded that content is all, encouraging those present to work with the raw materials present rather than lazily apply a shiny styling.
All these otherwise disparate events and speakers all focussed at some point on Content. The importance of Content is obvious to us in editorial design, so much so it’s become almost a cliché. But it’s become a bit of a buzzword out there in the wider creative world. Be happy we’re the experts at it.