The latest issue of Monocle is out today, a design special focusing on Switzerland. I was part of a panel discussion in Zurich last week to celebrate its launch, and picked up this special edition of the issue (above). As well as the jumping St Bernard dog (by Tomas Fryscak), the eagle-eyed among you may have spotted some other Swiss features on the cover.
Available only in Switzerland, the entire typography of the cover – Monocle logo included – has been reinvented in Swiss modernist style using Akzidenz Grotesk. The dog has a speech bubble that reads ‘This special cover, an homage to Brockmann, is available only in Switzerland.’
It’s a charming, simple idea that shows what a little planning in production can achieve. And it’s interesting to note how familiar the black frame, yellow and white type and bright illustration style is. Together they say ‘Monocle’ regardless of the typography – it’s plausible that some readers won't even note the change. But for those that do spot it, it’s a neat in-joke that reflects the Monocle brand perfectly in its attention to detail and passion for design.
As with all such apparently simple ideas, it’s harder to get right than it appears. In the words of creative director Richard Spencer Powell, ‘Choosing which font was terrifying, like cooking pasta for an Italian.’
My only issue with it is that I think I might prefer the Akzidenz…