«
»

Classics

Power Broker

10.24.07 | Comment?

As I’ve previously noted, magazines in the provinces used to be recognized more frequently on the pages of SPD’s annuals. There are probably a number or reasons for that—one might be the slow tailspin of the newspaper industry. Back in the ’80s there was more incentive for good stringers, designers and photographers to hang around towns that aren’t New York. The increasing slickness of NY magazines is probably another reason. Back in the day, the difference between what a local art director could do with art and design—and what the big national chose to do—was not as obvious to readers or to judges.

Whatever the reason, back in the ’80s there were some great locally-produced magazines, one of which was Washington’s business journal Regardie’s. Edited by the driven and exacting Bill Regardie (he is rumored to have destroyed a production room with a baseball bat because he didn’t like a layout), the magazine was consistently surprising and engaging, and it also packed some graphic punch—it was art directed for a time by Fred Woodward before he went off to Rolling Stone (and the history books) by way of Texas Monthly. This rather ahead-of-its-time news section is not Fred’s—he was long gone by 1987, from which this issue dates, but it nicely matches the snarky editorial attitude with illustration dripping with sarcasm, particularly the delightfully cruel lead by Steve Brodner. It also features lots of easy in-’n’-out short pieces which are now de rigueur—if only that lead story had a headline!

Some years after Regardie’s folded in the early 90s, Regardie tried again, launching Regardie’s Power, a magazine that caught much of the editorial spirit of the original glossy—although it never found a successful visual voice. The first iteration of RP’s design was most accurately described as primitive—using Poplar, one of clunkier fonts from Adobe’s various wood type collections (then all the rage) as its signature. The effect was like an underfunded alt-weekly on glossy paper, not a business magazine. The redesign a year later went too far in the other direction—using pastel colors, Star Trek typefaces and too many graphic doodads, it looked, at best, like a computer-industry magazine; a gaming or sci-fi fanzine at worst. Since Regardie was always more interested Business’s dark underside, this design seemed even more disconnected from the editorial voice than the original design. The magazine didn’t last long after that. But, Regardie’s would have been cathartic to have around during Enron and the sub-prime fiasco.

Comments are closed.


«
»