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Trend Spotting

The Front

03.10.08 | 1 Comment

Details body + Soul
Details body+soul
Esquire Gourmet
Esquire Gourmet

For a while now, Details has had an usual first page for their newsbrief section. While the standard newsfront is the home of the most newsworthy, best, or meatiest of the short items that make up a FOB, Details tore their traditional-style lead down and replaced it with a page of bite-sized tidbits.

I don’t know if Details pioneered this approach (anyone?) But it has very decidedly become a trend—several magazines are doing variations on this collage-like way of opening the section, in essence starting with an amuse-bouche (or seven) before the appetizers to come.

Details’ overstuffed page is still the best I’ve seen. Loaded with spare, hard-hitting language and serious ideas, it averages more and better items than most others. It could almost be described as a visual Harper’s Index. Details occasionally uses a little line art on the page, but it is generally an exercise in pure typographical design—unusual and refreshing in a big newsstand glossy.

The others here don’t follow quite the same formula. Esquire relies on a limited color pallet and the work of a single illustrator to hold its page together, and Gourmet’s functions more like a cover design would, by carving nooks and crannies in the space around a central image for type placement. Of the four here, body + soul’s stock art, sea-sick colors, and vapid theme make for the weakest. They’re very proud of it though—it occupies the first editorial page in the book.

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