I was hired in early 2013 by new owner Jay Penske to re-imagine the entertainment trade paper Variety as a weekly magazine. A strong, newsy type palette and heavily templated design system helped draw a clear line in the sand between the newsroom's authoritative, business-first focus and the competition's more elegant, lifestyle-focused content (for which I played a key role in creating back in 2010). A year later — and after 7 straight years of decline — print ad revenue was up 10%
Intel illustration by Ben Wiseman. Bloomberg photograph by Francois Dischinger.
Feature opener. Illustration by Ben Wiseman
The front-of-book section begins with a mix of news modules recapping the week's top deals and castings, anchored by a timely news item explained by chart or infographic.
Commercial Type's bold and energetic Duplicate Slab was carefully chosen to anchor Variety's news content, in contrast to the competition's more elegant and passive palette.
Jim Parkinson was hired to clean up the 100+ year-old logo while retaining its core personality. The scale, spacing, tilt, swashes and serifs of the individual letters were all refined to work and read better both individually, and as a whole.
Relativity's Ryan Kavanaugh as Willy Loman, above.
The section of box-office and television charts begins with a right-hand opener anchored by a data-rich chart or graphic.
Mayor Bloomberg, photographed by Francois Dischinger
Party pages section opener
Spotlight content is grouped by event or achievement, flagged by icons created by La Tigre.
Final Cut, the back-of-book section, opens with film or television reviews
A recap of the week's biggest stories posted to Variety.com
Glossary, set in the style of type foundry specimen sheet
Original design for news briefs at relaunch, The Paper was printed on an uncoated sheet using classic newspaper typography and referencing Variety's past daily editions layout.
The Hollywood Reporter: Watches
Creative Director Shanti Marlar asked me to direct this supplement to to The Hollywood Reporter 4 years after leading the redesign effort of the weekly magazine in 2010 for Razorfish. Given less than two weeks to complete, the design references the Reporter's smart sophistication while appearing more masculine and direct.
A looser, more spacious structure — featuring heavier weights of Commercial Type's Brunel for headlines and a bold reinterpretation of the Reporter's interlocking/bracketed page frame — moves Watches closer to the enthusiast category than its industry trade parent.
Published weekly during awards-season (Emmy/Oscar) and delivered directly to an in-the-know audience of guild members, AwardsLine enthusiastically cover the races from an insiders perspective. The new design reflects this close relationship by replacing the glamour normally associated with Hollywood, with a fun, casual and approachable visual aesthetic.
What Makes An Oscar Worthy Performance? Iconic scenes from past winners (Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest above) were sprinkled between the 2014 contenders to add a historical angle and visual layers to the story.
Director Ryan Murphy (HBO's The Normal Heart), photographed by J.R. Mankoff for The Dialogue, AwardsLine's 8-12 page interview section.
Best Picture handicap
House of Cards show runner Beau Willimon, photographed by Mark Mann.
Two evenings to create, and it contains a mistake . . .
Buenos Aires-based illustrator Costhanzo brings humor and visual variety to the magazine with his illustrations.
Emmy host Neil Patrick Harris photographed by Aaron Fallon
Every issue ends with Final Frame, a data-rich, info-graphic driven back page. (A time-consuming, labor of love for our 2-man team).
Each issue begins with First Take: a full spread, behind-the-scenes photograph from an award contending film or show (12 Years A Slave above)
Sketch from initial design presentation
Sketch from initial design presentation
Best Health is divided into four distinct sections. Each section opener serves as both navigational device and mood setter.
Conceptual images are given data-rich 'glorified captions' which serve as easy and effective entry-points.
Completely rethought in just two short months, the new design of High Times is more confident in its appearance, both reflecting the brand's authority of the subject matter and longevity in the community. With significant changes to the magazine's architecture, the experience is more visual, easier to read and navigate, and aims to be timeless in style: inviting to the curious and newly converted, while remaining deeply in tune with its counter-culture roots.
To improve the visual pacing of the book, large scale imagery is distributed throughout, beginning with 3 consecutive double page photographs. Here, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa sampling the year's best strain from the Amsterdam Cannabis Cup. Photograph by Mark Mann.
Once presented as a text-heavy written-through article, the Market Quotations column was redesigned to convey data-rich content as visually, and simply, as possible.
Andrew Zbihlyj was commissioned to illustrate each columnist.
Partial logo study from the initial design presentation. Original logo at upper left. The final redesigned logo was based on the sketch at lower right using the Font Bureau's Bodega Sans.
Type specimen page from the initial design presentation showing the Font Bureau's Moderno Condensed as the proposed display typeface. The 'Leary' design direction beat out the alternative 'Spicoli' and 'Lebowski' poles . . .
Proposed cover ideas from the initial design presentation with emphasis on visual cleverness, wit and humor (The 'Grow This, Not That' cover line is a play on the popular Men's Health series 'Eat This, Not That'. Note both Bodega Sans and Bodega Serif logo options.
Discovery Channel Magazine
Ready-Media changes the way magazines and newspapers are designed. By delivering hundreds of pre-designed pages — with extensive style sheets, libraries, and font licenses baked in — publication production is vastly streamlined, freeing designers to concentrate on visual content and storytelling instead of rote layout.
Along with my former boss Roger Black and partners Eduardo Danilo, Sam Berlow and David Berlow, we created Ready-Media with the intention of bringing world-class design and typography to smaller publications with limited resources. It turned out, however, that the benefits of a template-based workflow appealed to the bigger publishers too, and I have since been delivering Ready-Media-style templates to all of my clients including Scientific American, High Times and Variety.
Below, a few sample pages from the first 6 magazine themes that I created for Ready-Media at launch . . .
A cover template from the Vernier theme. The font palette consists of Zocalo and Scout from the Font Bureau
The Vernier theme was created with trade or B2B publications in mind. Above, just one example of the dozens of pre-designed feature openers included in the Verner collection of templates.
A feature opener in the Vernier theme with multiple images of varying size and shape.
Cover in the Ashby theme, with a type palette using Font Bureau's Boomer and Houston families.
An Ashby TOC with multiple images and clear navigational flagging.
Ashby feature opener
One of many pre-built photo-collage pages in the Ashby theme.
An Editor's Letter in the Ames theme.
Feature opener from the Ames theme.
In addition to common editorial pages, the Ames theme includes templates for class notes, people in the news, events and calendars, making it uniquely suited for university publications (for which it gets its name) and people-focused organizations of all kinds.
A fashion feature opener in the Lochmoor theme, a collection of templates ideal for city or regional publications.
The Lochmoor theme aims to be reader-friendly and stylistically timeless. The collection includes templates for product pages, calendars, listings, a best-of feature, as well as common editorial pages like columns, news and features.
Special package listings page in the Lochmoor theme.
Pre-designed charts and tables are included in an extensive library of frequently used elements and structures for the theme.
A Lochmoor feature opener set using the Font Bureau's Poynter and Benton Sans families. Font licenses are included in all Ready-Media themes.
Prior to redesigning both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, I completely rethought Boxoffice, the 90 year-old trade magazine for film exhibitors (theater owners). The project was my last for Roger Black Studio before striking out on my own (we would team up again a few years later for Scientific American).
Rejected / Unpublished
Sketches, rejected proposals and other unpublished work . . .
Cover illustration by Andrew Bannecker
Charles, a fully interactive iPad magazine created for, and ultimately killed by, Tiffany & Co. Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann above, photographed by Ruven Afanador.
Chef and restauranteur Marcus Samuelson, photographed for Charles by Ruven Afanador.
Opening pages of a photo-feature
Q&A with Muccia Prada. Illustration by Katrin Funcke
An interactive service article on letter writing.
My initial logo study for Scientific American — mostly revivals of previous mastheads, some shown below . . .
Table-of-Contents sketch from the alternative design pole . . .
Sketch from the rejected design pole . . .
Sketch from the rejected design pole . . .
Rejected cover sketch for a redesigned (and renamed) Washington Post Magazine. Potomac logo set in Giza.
Rejected over sketch for proposed Washington Post Style Magazine
Alternative design pole for the redesign of High Times
Rejected design pole for the redesign of High Times
Initial sketch for Variety's front-of-book news opener, using Miller Banner in the section title, Duplicate Slab for headlines. Rejected for looking 'predictable'.
Interior page sketch for Variety's news section, featuring large folios and a generous top margin which was ultimately removed to accommodate a higher word count.
Newsweek Sketches 1
From a 2008 redesign bakeoff commissioned by the late, great Amid Capeci.