This is where I discuss decisions I made on each page. It should hopefully help me to express the high level of contemplation that has gone into every, seemingly small, choice.
The front cover is a simple-enough looking image. However, it took me a long while to find an image that is both visually reflective of the standard in beautiful photography I wanted to maintain in ‘Food and Travel’ and relevant to the content.
It also had to have an empty space to allow room for the new and improved, blend-in logo. To the right, is how it would look on a shelf.
It was important to me that what you could see of the image was attractive enough, and suggestive enough, to lure you in. Seducing you with the idea of an escape and a chance to feel there is so much more to be had. There is also something quite sensual about removing the magazine from it’s sleeve, somewhat evocative of having been seduced and slipping a woman out of her dress.
This is the first thing you will see when you open the magazine. If I have worked the hierarchy correctly, your eyes will be drawn to the left. A, mostly, blank page with “experience” written quite largely in the middle. It is a dictionary extract, reiterating the concept and the purpose of the magazine. Perhaps it would be a different definition each issue, relevant to that issue’s concept?
On the right is an array of the specilists and experts in food and travel, accompanied by an editors letter. I didn’t want to make this feel too different to the existing magazine’s welcome page, mainly because their existing page wasn’t too much of an issue. What I stated at the beginning, and kept to here, was that these images are gorgeous and don’t deserve to be rammed in amongst 10 other images. This is what they are doing (right) and it doesn’t do them justice.
When it came to the contents page, I had an idea to make this almost an agenda. Like that moment, before a holiday, where you see a list of what you can look forward to. A branch of this idea, I decided to model the contents page on an airport. This would be the ‘pre-adventure’ page, in which you get to see the last piece of the digital and modern world.
The deliberate choice in not including the page numbers works as well as I’d hoped! You aren’t sure where any of these brilliant-sounding articles are, all you know is they are in there. You want to go and find them.
I couldn’t get past the structured layout of these two spreads. There was a lot of information to get in these pages and it just seemed wrong to remove any of the text.
I put all the information and imagery in, played around with it all but there seemed to be no way to lay it out in a way that wasn’t going to feel text-driven, rather than design-driven. I decided to embrace this and run with it. I follow on from the previous pages and the theme of airports. What would come next? The in-flight magazine. I think this is a solid concept for these spreads as it is less digital feeling than the contents spread but has roots to it still. I modelled these pages loosely on the right image, an in-flight magazine. I think it’s saying “you’re heading off on an adventure!” This magazine is slowly beginning to form a chronological journey.
I have broken the rule of “no more than one image per page” but I think that for this spread, it is impossible. The imagery makes the spreads easier on the eyes and breaks the heavy text up.
I created a ruling: Related images and text are separated by one baseline or gutter. Unrelated ones, by a 3 baselines or a whole margin.
This section is not a spread. There was not enough information to warrant the use of a two pages. I drew up designs for this after my (magazine-esque) news sections and (design-driven) main feature. I noticed a massive jump, from in-flight magazine to middle of an Asian island, with no links to the outside world. It didn’t seem at all coherent, and so I decided I needed to find a middle ground to help with the comfortable transition.
That is what this page serves to do. I have taken this article and made it less digitalised than it already was (right). The structure has been redone to make it feel rawer and more like you may have put it together yourself, with the picture overlying into the text’s column and almost-empty third column. This hopefully creates an unusual balance and, with that, a sense that it isn’t quite polished.
That being said, it should still feel loosely familiar as a magazine.
Main Feature: Title Page
We now move to the main feature: Treasure Island. This is the section in which I really got to do what I initially intended to do with the magazine.
The key points for the next few pages is white space, allowing the gorgeous and mesmerising imagery the room, it deserves, to breathe and absorb the reader. That is exactly what I did with this page in particular, the subtext is deliberately shifted and aligned to the right. It is as far is could physically be from the image. I did this to really give the entire spread a punch that would fill the reader with intrigue.
Fortunately I realised that this sort of radical layout is unfamiliar to many of my audience and, to really make it work as an experience, I needed to ease them into the this section, into the adventure. I did this with the gradual decay of the more familiar and expected styling, over the first few spreads.
Main Feature: Inside, One
I followed a very similar vain to the title page. There is potentially room for another column of text here, however, I wanted this captivating imagery to stand uninterrupted and unconfined. The choice of placing the stitched fish there was one to improve aesthetics and to pamper an emotional response. There was a large empty space that seemed to cause this spread to replicate the title page and this was not a wise choice as the effect of each spread would directly cancel each other out.
I thought about what I could put there and this textured fish added depth and a slight humour to it.
Main Feature: Inside, Two
The large, focal, image in this spread is not one that requires you to admire it for a while. At first glance you may simply think “wow, colourful.” and move on. That is why I have consciously placed a wall of text on the opposing page, by this point you have already been hooked by the article and so you naturally continue to read. Along side this text is this image that is constantly distracting you with it’s colours, detail and variety. I predict that by the time you reach the end of the text you have glanced at this image at least 5 times and you are beginning to appreciate it and, dare I say, feel it!
I am choosing to use one column (rather than two or three) to help this feel more like a diary and a story.
On the far-most right side of the spread is a strip of paper including a section of Travel Information, meant to emulate the idea of out-sourcing different slips of paper and combining them in your diary- almost like a scrap book of useful information. This is where I begun to start to appreciate the idea of littering a page to add depth. I begin to explore this a lot more.
Main Feature: Inside, Three
This was to satisfy another one of my initial intentions. I hated that the recipes were filed to the back of the magazine, you needed to search for it like an office filing cabinet, which is an obvious big ‘no no’! It interrupted any reminisce of a flow and segregated the food and travel. I have bought the recipes forward an intertwined them with the travel writing. I carefully positioned this spread within the story, between “And when a bowl of soup is served with noodles, chopsticks lift them from the broth, the head goes down and bites off a mouthful while they are still hot and al dente” and “Notstalgia brings folk to eat in the restaurants ling the quay.”
I think the break in the story is relevant and the large imagery really serves to emphasise the taste and experience of the food. It is almost as if as you are being told of the “still hot” soup, you are served some. I think, this is a really powerful tool to enforce an experience on the reader.
Main Feature: Inside, Four
Stuck with the one column story book style to the left. Extremely tactile right page. As I mentioned before, at this point I was beginning to see how by adding texture I can replicate a sense of depth and essentially pull the reader into the picture. The vibrant colours entrance the reader and pull you in to experience all dimensions.
Main Feature: Inside, Five
To finish up the feature, the magazine chooses a collage of around 10 small images. For me this was like saying “yeah, it’s alright but look not worth too much of your attention.” I believe that your attention is better served absorbing one large, magnificent image than 10 smaller speckles of images.
I have given the text on the left page a texture to continue this theme of a collection of scrap.
The texture of the right was accompany the image of the island. It, again, keeps the theme of scraps being stacked on top of one another and this all helps to add the vital element of depth to the spreads.
Indian Recipe Section
In this section, the magazine originally separates the two articles. However, on the front cover it says “Modern VS Classic” and for me there was an opportunity to explore this idea. To define ‘versus’ you oppose and contrast. If you oppose something, you are in contention with it. There is a competition between Modern and Classic and they should be head-to-head.
This is why I decided to no longer have the chronologically (Classic followed by Modern) but to have them side-by-side and in contention for your attention. I like this idea as the cover says “Spice It Up” and that is what exactly what I have done.
The text over the image is to continue the theme of stacking, and depth, and I personally love how it is difficult to read. You must really focus on the text and the images.
Indian Recipe Page
Not a lot more to say about this one as it is in a copy of the previous recipe page’s grid and layout.
This page is a complimentary interview, a little extra at the end of the magazine, and I took this as an opportunity to gently ease the reader back into a more familiar format. Essentially, completing the journey/adventure.
I have done this by replicating some of the traits I used for the ‘Kitchen Confidential’ page. The overlay of the image into the text; balanced with the structure and familiarity of a generic magazine relays an undoubtable essence of quirk into a format of which the reader understands.
This is the page on the reverse of the back page. I have been conscious the whole way through of ‘show-through’, which the printers warned me about. The paper is a lot thinner than a normal magazine and therefore any heavy, dark blocks of colour will ‘show-through’ to other pages.
For the inside I have not been too concerned by this, I believe it will add to the effect of depth, but I do not want the visual effect of the covers jeopardised.
This is why, for the first inside page I kept it simple with the minimal dictionary definition and this is why for the last page, I am keeping it as simple as possible again.
I wanted to ensure one last glimmer of my concept, before the experience is truly over, so I have placed the text slightly askew from a textured scrap. This is quite metaphorical in the sense that it is now dispersing from a texture and depth and returning to a plain white page. The reader is returning to his life.
I was unsure on how to execute the back page. Do I creative in the vain of a book (with a blurb) or just stick an advert there? Do I find a creative use for that space or just make it a “subscribe today” ad?
The idea I did have was to place a pair of sunglasses on the back (right) so that when you pick up the magazine and “get lost” in it, people will see the top of your head and it will look as though you are wearing them. This fell down on two critical parts. Firstly, that the front cover featured an element of travel and so it was only fitting that the back should focus on food. Secondly, the magazine is designed to be read on a Sunday morning, at home, alone, in comfort. Not on the morning commute on the tube, so who is this little sunglasses trick actually for? It implies you should take it out and let people see it. NOT what I was going for.
In the end, I decided it best to reflect the contents on the back. The back page isn’t really the back page, as when it is folded on the shelf you won’t see it, so it didn’t really need any information. I think it is, aesthetically, very consistent and telling of the inside.
Like a cook, I wanted to pepper the pages with imagery, creating a messy workspace with a lot of depth and an array of elements to draw you in. I have used photography and textures to successfully fulfil this desire.