The second of Eye magazine’s special issues about magazine design is its largest ever issue and a must-have for anyone interested in editorial design. It follows a first special earlier this year, which won its team Editor of the Year and Art Director of the Year at the 2018 BSME Awards in London last night.
The Eye team introduced the new issue at a recent magCulture Meets evening; the presentation was slightly abstract as production was delayed and the maagzine not printed, but really enjoyable nonetheless since it acted as a visual preface to the actual issue. We were treated to examples of the featured magazine work rather than actual Eye pages. It hinted at a great issue and I’m pleased to confirm the finished magazine more than lives up to that promise.
Editor John L Walters and art director Simon Esterson are both experienced editorial specialists and their passion for the art and craft of magazine-making is evident from Tom Gauld’s cover illustration and continues inside. Acknowledging the meta nature of a magazine about magazines, Gauld offers 11 rhyming variations on the name Eye, each presented as a magazine with an appropriate reader. It’s hard to envisage a more prefectly pitched front cover for the issue — symbolic, funny and a reminder that a magazine only really exists if read.
The regular ‘Reputations’ interview looks at the career of British designer David Driver, best-known for his seventies work at Radio Times; we meet Serge Ricco, art director of French news weekly L’Obs and Michele Outland of Gather Journal and Bon Appetit. A look at the ever-popular ZEITmagazin rightly highlights the role of hands-on art director Jasmin Muller-Stoy and a rare interview with Jop van Bennekom looks beyond Fantastic Man and The Gentlewoman at the client magazines his team produce for Penguin and COS.
A high-gloss section is reserved for California Sunday Magazine, as art director Leo Jung and photo director Jackie Bates reflect for Madeleine Morley how an experienced team came together in San Francisco to reinvent the newspaper supplement.
It’s fascinating seeing different writers approach similar subjects – another magazine, another art director – from such different angles. Walters’ interview with designer Kate Hepburn looks at her whole career (highlighting her time at Spare Rib) and contextualises it nicely; from art college through various assignments with mentions of tutors, colleagues and asides about what else they were doing, it matches the day-to-day experience of working in publishing. The random meetings and successes that can define a project.
The issue signs off with a few lesser-known projects: the ‘British modernism’ of Banks and Miles’ designs for Which?, Ty i Ja from Poland (above) with its Roman Cieślewicz cover art, and short-lived US sports title Jock.
Eye always treats its stories with great care and attention, and this time it has excelled itself. Free from the structural/thematic needs of a book about the subject, this pair of magazine specials is at once a visual treat as well as a unique survey of magazine design through the eyes of people that do it. That those people are a healthy mix of men and women just makes it better.