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Redesigns

New Basics

09.10.07 | 2 Comments

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Somewhere around the time of Designing Magazine’s third post, the blog was damned with faint praise by a British observer who described it as well-written but U.S.-centric. This, I must admit, made me think of the old joke about a hard-drinkin’ bear (Bear walks into a tavern and orders a drink. Bartender eyes him suspiciously and finally comments “say, we don’t get many bears in here.” Bear replies: “Yes, and at these prices you’re not likely to get many more.”) The truth is, I love European and particularly British magazines, but they are outrageously expensive here across the pond. At least until DM is on everyone’s comp lists due to the awesome attention it can bring to a title (Hint! Hint!) buying more than an isolated copy or two of most European magazines is too much of a threat to my kids’ college fund.

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One British journal I can’t live without, though, despite the insane cost (which is actually more if you subscribe than if you buy it on a newsstand—riddle me that Alice) is Baseline, The International TypoGraphics Magazine, which rolled out the first half of it’s redesign with the current issue. (They promise the text type will change for the next quarterly issue.) It’s an interesting alteration in that while the varietal is basically unchanged (the new version is a smidge smaller and the flag has gone from an inelegant kidnap note to an inelegant stencil font) the appellation is significantly different. While the old baseline created typographically open, gracefully airy pages (like the ones below), the new version (above) has spreads that look more like cluttered montages of colors and textures. The content, fortunately, is just as captivating as ever—a surprising mix of vernacular typography, history, design criticism and news. I do hope the format matures from this first issue, though. I would suspect that designing a type magazine is a bit like always being a bridesmaid—your own work must always play second fiddle to the work being written about. When you forget that, pages like those above can happen.

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