Did Details Pioneer Front-of-Book Collages?
Left to right: Details, Esquire, Gourmet, body + soul
I first noticed it in Details a year or so ago—the first page of their newsbrief section ("Know + Tell")—traditionally the home of the most newsworthy, best or meatiest short item—had been torn down and replaced with something else: a page of bite-sized tidbits.
I don’t know if Details pioneered this approach (does 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 others I’ve found. It’s probably best described as a graphic 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 a breath of fresh air in a big newsstand book.
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, 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 page editorial page in the book.
For close-ups, click here ….
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Buy Jandos’ new book!]