Category Archives: Journalism

The September issue

bazaar-sept-2016It’s that time of year again, as made made famous by Vogue’s movie ‘The September Issue’. Sadly their cover this year is rubbish, with the rest of the market not much better.

But the clear winner is this brilliant Harpers’ cover. Aside from the access and technical perfection, it borrows heavily from sixties’ title Nova, which is no bad thing in my book. And the photographer? None other than Karl Lagerfeld. Bet he had a really good assistant.

And for real devotees, here’s a great story on the weight, spine thickness and pagination of all the September glossies. Ka-boom!

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The Best-Ever Publishing Festival Line Up

PPA-festival-line-upI’m producer of the two big content streams at this year’s PPA festival, where along with CEO Barry McIlheney and his team we’ve put together the most fantastic line-up. Four stages, 60 speakers, CEO’s, MD’s Facebook, Google and…Mushpit!

The festival is Thursday May 12th, there’s still a few tickets left, buy them here.

Rock n’ roll meets corporate finance

What's-next-for-banksAlong with my colleagues Andy Pemberton and James Lumley, I’m presenting at this top-notch event next week. Our agency Furthr has teamed up with White Light Media to challenge your expectations with a provocative line-up of speakers with backgrounds in business investment, disruptive thinking, brand development… and rock music.

It’s an invitation-only, free event for senior comms and marketing professionals in the banking sector from 4-6pm on Thursday 24 September at the 71A gallery and bar in Shoreditch, London. If you want to come, drop me a line! See more

Fifteen hot links

20120826-Moncton_SetlistHandwritten1. This is one of Springsteen’s many back-of-an-envelope set lists, emotional, personal, and totally uneditable. So here’s my post for InPublishing on Wunderlist, the world’s best make-a-list app.

2. What do you believe in? And what are you going to do about it? Good post about how brands create trust.

3. ‘Sticky content’ bullshit. And ten other content marketing buzzwords from SXSW.

4. Seventy eight places to find free, high quality marketing images.

5. Ace photojournalist Giles Duley is setting off on his biggest project ever. Here’s an interview with him at Time all about ‘Legacy of War’

6. How Marriott Hotels aim to become the world’s largest producer of travel content.

7. Look out! How programatic trading allowed these ads to run before ISIS propaganda videos.

8. Super bitchy, and super well informed. Michael Wolff on the new Guardian editor.

9. Buzzfeed really is the new king of the world. Here’s fine insight into how that happened, along with more detail on their social strategybusiness model, ethical standards and The Dress.

10. How the Economist has stayed ahead of the digital curve.

11. Here’s a blog post headline writing template!

12. Uber releases an in-house magazine.

13. Upworthy’s co-founder on clickbait.

14. Haters ahoy! Wired redesigns its website.

15. Good post on magculture about the surge in magazine podcasts.

Type size is your friend

streetsofsalem.comMost people never read more than 25% of even their favourite magazine. However, many editors are totally blind to this fact, insisting on getting every single word of their deathless prose wedged into the page. Invoking higher authority, this often produces nothing more than a sophisticated internal memo that no one will ever read.

As designers, we’re culpable in this, as it’s we who set the size of the type in the first place. Not only that, many designers seem to think that readers have 20/20 vision, and are perfectly willing to read large tracts of text across super wide columns in sizes that would strain the eyesight of fighter pilots.

Among many other reasons, this is a reason why I love The New Yorker so much.  Their text is beautifully set, 10/12, I believe, across the correct measure and with perfect kerning.

I’ve written about the print version of The New Yorker previously on this blog, and also had the pleasure of interviewing their creative director, Wyatt Mitchell, the podcast of which you can hear here.

But it’s how they treat their digital platform that’s interesting me now.

eleven postsI have very mixed feelings about this brand online. One of the great pleasures of The New Yorker is that they tell me what’s important, and what I should read. I trust the editors to edit, so when I get messages like the one above I GET REALLY STRESSED OUT!

But on the other hand, if there’s a story I want to read on the go, I’ll happily consume 10,000 words on the phone, such is their quality.

New yorker mobile typeWhich is why I’m so appreciative of the way they’ve set the type. The screen on the left (above) sets up the story with a hed and a picture. But click ‘read more’, and not only do you get the picture caption, (right) but the body copy goes up in point size.

Young-Napoleon-Hugo-D-Aviles-hugo-avilesIt’s a tiny move but it really does prove Napoleon’s point: “Execution is everything.”

This post was first published as part of my guest editorship of the American Society of Publication Designers blog.

Print that.

indy-cover-charlie-hebdoThe murder of Charlie Hebdo’s editorial team is just beyond belief.

How to respond to such an appalling tragedy is now something every editor, journalist and blogger has had to deal with. This is The Independent‘s front page, which rather than focus on the violence, demonstrates the power of a single cartoon to carry the story. But more than that, given how news constantly evolves on digital platforms, it reminds us that print is timeless.

Editor Amol Rajan talks really well in the Guardian about using Tom Brown’s illustration as the splash, but also the decision not to reproduce the Charlie Hebdo cartoons caricaturing the prophet Muhammad, describing it as “too much of a risk”.

The New York Times made the same decision, but Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast did publish, suggesting that although digital reach is infinite, the endurance of print gives controversy real weight. And that makes the decision to publish in print so much harder.

There’s no right or wrong here, either way has its merits. But some news organisations have chosen to blur out the cartoons. That’s a rotten decision, as all it does is visualise the censorship. Here’s excellent reporting on that from Buzzfeed.