Like my colleagues, I take a few minutes to watch some of my favorites Perspective projects from last year. But since I’m the magazine designer and the entire ‘visual dude’, my list will be a little different than my co-workers, who will be putting together some of their own articles. While my own recap features a lot of solid reports and analysis, I had nothing to do with this part. My work encompasses the look of the magazine – the typography and visuals used to draw readers into the texts and bring the stories to life.
Favorite illustration from a real illustrator
In each issue, visual victories and compromises unfold over the pages, but if I were to use just one example of The American Perspective to represent what I do professionally, the current issue (November / December 2021) would be my choice hands down. One of the many highlights is Robert Meganck’s illustration for “Capitalism vs. Liberty âby Robert Kuttner, a thoughtful play in which Kuttner plans to embrace theâ socialist âlabel. The entire issue is also available digitally on Issuu.
Favorite illustration by me
One of the main differences between current editorial design and editorial design early in my career is that designers, with the exception of the most important publications (and even quite a few of them) have to (wear ?) more hats than once they did. Years ago I could focus on typography and presentation, mostly renting out “arts”. Today designers can illustrate, photograph and even edit videos and create social media resources. I do all this and more for the Perspective. Now, most in-house editorial illustrations, especially on the web, tend not to be the kind of painted or drawn pieces that specialists have the expertise to deliver. On the contrary, the internal work usually takes the form of collages that bring together points of history in a narrative that represents the piece. You can see some of The New York Times and magazines such as The New Republic, Mother Jones– and ours – which I kept for inspiration here. My favorite Perspective-The artwork generated from this year, for Olivia Webb’s âA Shot in the Armâ, falls into that general category, but (hopefully) transcends the genre into more conceptual territory.
Preferred editorial opening
My experience over the years has made me skeptical of artwork that apparently doesn’t go beyond the title of an article (and also game board references, but that’s another story), so I am kinda surprised that “Anatomy of an Anti-Union Reunion,” by David Dayen – which exemplifies the metaphorical idea of ââ”anatomy” with, well, a picture of anatomy – actually my favorite. I love the open feel of the layout, and the 3D illustration, created by the brilliant Wesley Bedrosian (who also works prolifically in a very different retro pen-and-ink style) offers a lot of visual pleasures. What elevates the concept of “anatomy” above what it could have been are the cleverly chosen removable “body parts” in the game that function as perfect references to story points.
We’ve had some really good covers this year, and maybe a few that have tried to do a little too much. An undeniable highlight, however, is Daniel Zender’s âRacial Justice Under Fireâ. It’s a simple, austere, and powerful image that seems to allude to part of the history of the civil rights struggle. The slightly differently titled article, by Randall Kennedy, can be found here.
Favorite (or maybe only) redesign
Discerning readers of the print magazine may have noticed that we kicked off a modest overhaul with the September / October issue. Our goals for the project included regularizing the size of body types in the magazine (text had been sized differently in sections such as Notebook and Culture vs. Features) and improving the readability of folios (issue numbers). page) and section signage. The only substantial change to the content was that the editor’s note was eliminated in favor of a guide to notable offerings on our website. The goal here was to create more overlap between print and online readers, and help extend the life of some major web-only initiatives, which despite the time and cost involved in making them happen, could only appear on the home page for a few days. This new web roundup also corresponds to a page of our site.