The first thing that hits you when you get your hands on a copy of Krass is the type on the cover. Not only is it bold, ornamental and unusual (a font called Text, designed by Gareth Hague in 1995), but it also stands out vibrantly because of its blood red colour that juxtaposes with an electric blue background. The cuts through the top left of the letters also make them look as if they’ve been sliced with a knife. There’s nothing shy or understated about this feminist magazine from Australia. Visually, it shouts, and that makes sense for a publication that assertively opens with the Beninese proverb: ‘Silence is an attribute of the dead; he who is alive speaks.’
There are so many minimal magazines out at the moment that luxuriate in white space. For me, this white aesthetic is a visual language that can be enjoyable though complacent; it’s for a calm, subdued and relaxing read. Krass on the other hand is restless and rebellious, and its design and type energetically reflect that. By italicising the ‘F’ on subheadings, the words look as if they tumble and shake. The effect of the italicisation also means that you emphasise the ‘F’ when you read the text in your head: it’s like visual alliteration, and the ‘fff’ sounds seems to echo forcefully throughout the magazine (above). Words like ‘fight’, ‘female’, ‘feminism’, ‘fierce’, ‘force’, ‘fire’, ‘feeling’ resound.
Typography crystallizes and emphaises Krass’s message. I find the way that two quotes – one by Susan Sontag, the other by Joyce Carol Oates (above) – bleed into one together particularly effective. As the quotes deal with themes of madness and what we choose to ignore, their coming together and visual melding makes the spread feel like a small typographic collage/ poem.
Here’s a selection of other type-heavy, vibrantly coloured spreads that pack a powerful punch:
A radical magazine should look radical too, and out of all the current publications that have a deliberate feminist slant and which seek to challenge the status quo, I find Krass one of the most visually rebellious and seductive ones.
Editors: Sanja Grozdanic & Tess Martin
Design: Kirby Manning & Simon Pearce