A while back I wrote about Fashion Rocks, the Condé Nast annual that’s packed up with every magazine the company ships in September. What is FR? Mostly it’s a long advertisement for a television special of the same name—but judging from the ads and all the product placement it probably makes a few bucks too.

You wouldn’t expect a magazine like this to innovate, and for the most part FR doesn’t. Except in one area—it has no folios, but it does have a table of contents [see below]—a list of everything in the magazine in order but without any page numbers or references as to where.

The reasoning behind the inclusion of a TOC that is completely (instead of just mostly) useless (as is the case for most over-stuffed fashion books) isn’t hard to figure out—it provides a low-cost far-forward advertising position, just as that page does in most other magazines.

But then, why not justify the inclusion to readers of the page by making it usable? It’s not as if FR’s design is austere or avant garde. There’s no “edgy” justification for the elimination of folios. A simple unobtrusive number would hardly have over-burdened pages that are otherwise competent, but will not be sweeping next year’s SPDs.

A guide that offers no guidance seems an overt exercise in contempt for the reader.


[EDITOR’S NOTE: Buy Jandos’ new book!]