The Tyranny of CMYK
Back when I was a young magazine designer, folks used to talk about â€śbuildsâ€ť in between swiping at each other with their Xacto knives (all good fun of course). Now I know what youâ€™re thinking, but there were no blocks or bricks involvedâ€”â€śbuildâ€ť is a color term. Say if you wanted a green, youâ€™d build it out of cyan and yellow, maybe also throwing a little black or magenta in there to tone it down a bit. In this way, nearly any color could be simulated on the page, and magazines could develop individual color schemes that would help, along with type and grid, to brand a magazine. Lately CMYK (or the slightly tweaked CMYK look) has become so hot that itâ€™s become hard to pick up a major newsstand magazine without seeing the printerâ€™s primaries used unannealed on the page.
I would like to chalk the trend all up to Adobeâ€™s difficult-to-use tools for defining colors, leaving inexperienced designer relying on program defaults, but the trend has afflicted the best, oldest and least compromising of magazine professionals. Top: Pentagramâ€™s redesign of Radar; above: Fred Woodwardâ€™s GQ; immediately bellow: Janet Froelichâ€™s T. The look certainly is vibrant and refreshingâ€”but now so overused that it seems likely to burn itself out in the next couple of days.
And why this trend now? Maybe itâ€™s the easy access to transparency effects (which Woodward in particular has made hay with) available in every program which has allowed anyone with the Creative Suite to channel Bradbury Thompson (below).
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Buy Jandos' new book!]
-- Folio: Contributor
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