2015 editorial research reflection

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In October I sought out to investigate whether print was dead in the digital age with an emphasis on editorial design. In doing so I looked at newspaper and magazine design in great detail – what makes them successful, can they compete with blogging, what are the downsides of digital magazines? As I work in the newspaper and magazine industry already, examining existing products has been interesting. Looking at such a broad and current debate allowed for much scope in terms of research and I often found it overwhelming to keep finding new avenues to explore that may not have previously been looked at.

On reflection editorial design in the digital age is not a simple topic. While I set out to answer whether print is dead, I could not come to a firm conclusion that was not biased to my own agenda and beliefs. I found many reasons as to why print is alive and thriving, yet you cannot deny that digital counterparts have their advantages in a world in which we seek to know everything about anything as quickly as possible. With that in mind I decided to look things visual terms from layout, to successful front pages and, in general, areas of physical publications that you cannot engage with digitally.

My intentions were to look critically at both magazines and newspapers yet very early into the research I found a shift in focus to mostly magazines. This was because access to resources was a lot easier. While newspapers are struggling to compete with their digital website counterparts, they are not struggling in the same way as the magazine culture.

What stands out most on reflection is the number of avenues I could have focused on or looked at in more detail. I focused on magazine front covers and how they sell themselves by looking at Esquire and Vogue. To advance this I wanted to look at the creative side of editorial design that you don’t get to see with websites and blogging. This led me to focus on the independent magazine scene by looking at Huck and Relevant magazines. By doing this I was able to see common trends in magazine culture in terms of layout and what makes them stand out in the digital age.

My findings suggest that typography is the prevalent factor in successful editorial design. I was able to examine this in a post earlier in December in which I established typography is used to give articles and features a unique flair, becoming statement pieces that give readers something to visually engage with. Each post generally had a typographic focus on it which to me stems from my personal interest in typography overall. This tied together nicely with an interview I conducted with a local designer and publisher, Snapper, in which he struck a chord stating “every artist in every publication deserves to be framed on somebody’s wall.” From that point on I began to look at magazines more as art that became a critical shift in focus, narrowing the broad topic ever so slightly.


Admitedbly I didn’t use the blog to explore my practice keyword “vintage” as much as I could have. Though evidentially editorial design and vintage do seem to work in tandem in today’s culture, with magazines being somewhat vintage in their own right. I would like to explore vintage in editorial further as I like the idea of juxtaposition between the old and the new, seeing how we learn and evolve from the past designs to create something new.

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