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Sociotype Journal #1
New magazines

Sociotype Journal #1

This new publication is both magazine and type speciman. If that brings to mind a flimsy 16-page zine, think again: Sociotype Journal weighs in at an impressive 220 pages. 


Ai Weiwei’s ‘Study of Perspective’, 1995


Published by London design studio Socio, the magazine does an impressive job of promoting their new typeface type foundry, Sociotype. It uses their new typeface Gestura throughout its pages (with the exception of the logo on the front cover), a clever way to display the characteristics of this smart, modern serif. We are introduced to its various weights in many different contexts and scales—a far more realistic demo than a regular type speciman.


Nam June Paik performs ‘La Monte Young’s Composition 1960 #10’, 1962


And that is the extent of the magazine’s typographic concerns; this is not a magazine about type. Instead, it takes the name of the new typeface as a starting point to examine broader issues of communication—thus it’s linked to Socio’s design business.



Working to the theme ‘The Gesture’, the issue is split into five sections: Power, Touch, Defiance, Pose and Arts. These five parts are neatly linked by a series of spreads about David Shrigley’s sculpture ‘Thumbs Up’ (above) and people’s negative reactions to it.


A series of tourist images shows how a once-unique hand gesture becomes a must-do cliché


The magazine is packed with great writing, making the most of the typeface: we hear how our hands can exert power, impose religion and express disdain; how they can communicate in signs to maintain secrecy or overcome hearing problems.

Hannah la Folette Ryan’s images show common poses when sitting on the New York metro


Flicking throught this launch issue I was struck by the power of the hand gesture as a visual theme—as the introduction to the issue states, ‘When words fail us, we let our hands do the talking’. There isn’t a picture research credit, but the work that’s gone into that side of Sociotype Journal reminds me of Benneton’s much-missed Colors magazine.


A close-up image of Vincenzo Foggini’s ‘Samson and the Philistines’s displays an ‘undercurrent of sexuality’ beneath the drama of the Bibilical story


Hence the images in this post avoid the written pages; but there is plenty of good, intriguing text alongside these hand gestures.



At the back of the issue is a more formal 32-page technical spec for the Gestura typeface, opening with this high school foam finger cheerleader, allegedly the first sighting of the exaggerated gesture.


Editors/Creative directors: Nic Carter and Nigel Bates
Design: Alicia Mundy



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