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Face Up: Architectural Record

Designing a 'Brave New World'



By Joanna Pettas
02/13/2008

ISSUE: December 2007
FREQUENCY: Monthly
LAUNCHED:
1891
CIRC: 118,000
EDITOR: Robert Ivy
PUBLISHING COMPANY:
McGraw-Hill
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Kristofer Rabasca

Robert Ivy, Architectural Record's editor-in-chief, says the magazine's Decembercover subject-a digital rendering of a futuristic urban condo high-rise in Vancouver, Canada-is ideal from an editor's standpoint. "The coloring and forms are not like anything else," he says. "It's bold and causes you to look and question."

The image-a real photo of Vancouver with the rendering superimposed-was created by up-and-coming Mexican architect Gerardo Broisson and is one of 10 projects showcased in the magazine's annual Design Vanguard feature. Each December, the Vanguard issue highlights the work of young, emerging architects, much of which includes projects that haven't been built. Ivy says Architectural Record's covers almost always feature finished projects, which draws even more attention to the Vanguard issue.

Ivy also says there was no doubt about which image should go on the cover. "The gritty city in the background could really be any future city," he says. "It's got a sort of futuristic, urban attraction."

The fact that the image is a digital rendering also helped, says deputy art director Kristófer Rabasca. "It can be hard to find a Vanguard photo with a high enough resolution because the architects usually don't have a big budget." He says the only change made to the image was from three color to four.

One thing they did play around with, Rabasca says, is the color and placement of cover lines. "We had to be careful to make sure they're legible and strong enough without taking away from the image."

Ivy says this is standard practice: "We are not selling with cover lines. We let the image shine through and tend not to crowd it."

DESIGNERS' COMMENTS

"The execution of the illustration, which looks like a Matrix parody, is quite sophisticated. However, the image is a bit busy for a cover and there are some readability issues with the type. Having said that, though, the overall color and impact make for a successful cover. I want to read this issue."

Robert Lesser
Design/Art Director
CFO Publishing Corp.

"The cover is a poster-like, simple typographic solution that supports beautiful photography. The style and uncluttered design message comes through and its branding is unmistakable. My only criticism-the cover lines are hard to read. Some PhotoShop darkening or color tweaking behind the type might have served the readability question without altering the brand or its appeal. Having said that, I'm happy the art director didn't resort to gimmickry to shout the message."

Norman Graf
Creative Director/Boston Division
Reed Business Information

"The photo-illustration is beautiful and feels like a ‘brave new world,' as the kicker describes. The colors are sophisticated and the composition, with the cityscape peeking out from the left side of the page, is effective. Overall, the typography is beautiful and well-designed. The magenta ‘Architectural' makes for a nice contrast. The brief headline and kicker stepping to the right is simple but sophisticated, and the short teaser on the bottom right is nicely placed and composed. My only problem is the type gets lost on top of the complex illustration, especially the yellow teaser on the bottom right."

Stephanie Faucher
Design Director
Computerworld


What do you think? Take the Face Up Survey, powered by Nxtbook.

By Joanna Pettas
02/13/2008




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