In April 2016 Vita launched a new magazine with fresh content and design. While the magazine has maintained its historical profile as third sector magazine, different sections have been introduced, in order to reach more readers and explore new fields. Indeed, the magazine is conceived as a monthly book developing on one big topic (in this case the mountain story). This is why the magazine is called bookazine, which comprising the words “book” and “magazine”.
The re-design work started in mid-2015 and was entirely developed in Vita’s newsroom, under my art direction. I have chosen the July 2016 issue as a case history because I think it is the one we have better designed under many aspects, from cover design to colorful illustrated backgrounds and teaser promotion campaign.
Let’s start the short visual résumé to show our design process.
Re-design started with improving – again – Vita header, trying to create a much better harmony between the letters. Furthermore, we have put the month issue (#00) next to the header in order to highlight that Vita is a monthly magazine.
The graph below shows the new content organization we had to manage. The middle section, Book, is now the soul of the magazine. We have designed – as we said before –this book-like section in order to deal with the chosen topic each month. The other two sections are thought instead as symmetric: the first (Forward) looks ahead by recommending fresh opinions on topics like technology, TV series, politics, art, economics, social innovation etc.; the second (Rewind) is a big recap of what has happened in the third sector world over the last period. As a matter of fact, since it was founded Vita has been the voice of the third sector in Italy.
We have branded the first and third section (Forward and Rewind) with two specific headers and payoff that dialogue one with another. This is useful in order to make a link between them.
As we have understood how our content is organised, let’s continue with technics.
We thought we needed a very rigid grid because of the new book-like section. Since the new magazine’s format is smaller (we have in fact reduced Vita’s size in order to better manage postal costs) we have developed a three main page model (one big column, two columns, three columns) based on a 6x8 square grid.
After defining that, the re-design process moved to typography selection. We were looking for an emphatic typeface to make strong bold composition. We thought Druk family from Commercial Type was the perfect one for our purposes. Then we chose again the same Foundry for the sans and the serif typeface for minor titles, texts, signatures and summaries.
Here are all the families in use:
Druk, Druk wide, Druk Condensed,
Druk XCondensed, Druk XXCondesed, Druk text
(mainly for header, titles, summary)
Austin, Austin text
(mainly for text, summary)
(mainly for text, summary)
Now we can better introduce our specific case history, the July issue, whose big topic is the Mountain. Let’s start with how we designed the cover. We commissioned the illustration to Studio Fludd, an eclectic design team established in Venice in 2008 by Matteo Baratto, Caterina Gabelli and Sara Maragotto.
The trio has researched and sketched a lot around the Mountain topic: it's clear how their concept has taken form in the cover.
We have then asked them to design more backgrounds to decorate the book's internal pages.
We finally produced a small teaser to promote our magazine in the social network (we love the square format, which is perfect for Instagram).
Each issue also provides a short illustrated story (or comic story) that closes the central section (Book). For this issue we have asked Chiara Dattola to draw the story about Rehinold Messner, the famous alpinist who, in this story, tells his personal philosophy of life to his daughter.
So far we have illustrated the section called Book. The following images show some details from the other two sections. The first one is Forward, a series of opinions focused on specific themes – as we explained before. We have built a radial index of the prestigious contributors to this issue.
The second section is Rewind. All the pages of the section are fully yellow with black texts. Photos are black/white converted with talking bubbles. Layouts are more complex in order to fill the entire pages with columns, like a little newspaper. We have chosen that kind of treatments because of high content density and in order to make more hierarchy in the article by creating fast legibility.
To end well this presentation, please find here below a postcard from the July issue's presentation we had at the Touring Club Italiano centre in Milan.
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