Out now: California Sunday Magazine

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The California Sunday Magazine is a monthly title produced in San Francisco and distributed free via several local Sunday newspapers. It’s a clever distribution strategy and the magazine itself lives up to that ingenuity.


The latest issue offers a typical range of content; from Danish chef René Redzapi to a report about murder in India via a lengthy interview with Thrasher editor Jack Phelps. The writing and editing is strong, and the design is quiet but decisive. Each issue opens with a double-page image – in this case Redzapi (above) – before running through a few short pieces. Then the features kick in.


Headlines are unusually tiny— ‘The Noma Way’ (above) is normal. In this case it’s sits above a recipe book menu that acts an intro to the profile, a typically subtle twist.

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Photography and text are interwoven with little fuss, but it’s the details that impress; for instance, the way the keys for the picture captions are arranged in the centre of this montage (above).


There’s a dramatic shift in pace for the Thrasher piece (above and below); instead of a headline the design goes Raygun for a one-off woodblock extravaganza, the crashing type a skateboard aesthetic to the California Sunday context. The interview with Phelps is a great read.

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At the back of the issue things calm down again; an investigative report from India starts as quietly as the Redzapi piece – that’s the headline above – and runs through several spreads. At one stage (below) it even uses the classic headline montage to visualise a point. Even this is unfussy and classily achieved, as is the inclusion of a contextual map (also below).

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California Sunday is a great piece of editorial design, confident and contemporary without being over-designed. It has a smart, clear identity with a default of assured hush, which allows it to shout clearly when it decides to. Let’s have a UK edition!


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