Saturday, August 30, 2008

Interview Magazine's New Style

I've been getting Interview magazine for about a year now, and I've enjoyed most every issue. One of the magazine's major premise is that the interviewers are just about as famous as the person they're talking to: Jonah Hill by Edward Norton, Danny McBride by Seth Rogan, John Waters by Gary Indiana. With the September 2008 issue, Interview has relaunched with a new style:

Flipping through the featured interviews in the magazine, I was a little disappointed; the number of celebrity interviews was smaller, and fewer recognizable names at either end of the interview. Hopefully this will improve, or else I'll probably get bored with the magazine. September is traditionally the 'fall fashion' issue, so the greater focus on looking pretty may be an anomaly. As long as I've read it, Interview has been weighed down with a Cosmopolitan-degree of fashion advertisements. That, sadly, continues, but a magazine has to print itself, right?

Unlike Rolling Stone's upcoming destruction of all things holy, Interview is actually larger than it was before, by a good inch. I've always like the tabloid-sized feel of Interview, so I'm glad they didn't go smaller. This 'premiere redesign' issue has a glued spine, instead of the more common saddle-stich, but last year's fashion issue was also glue instead of staples, so it's no indicator of what will come. The paper is also glossier, and although it feels heavier I noticed more bleed-through of text than in my older issues.

A subtle change I didn't notice at first is the logo:

Previous Logo

New Logo
The new logo is sharper, but fails with readability. The original title had a nice space around the R and V in the middle, to help readability, but this new one mushes it all together; even with the dot on the 'i', it looks like Interrew.

The biggest change, it seems, is in font usage.

Before -- Serifs banned:

Now -- Serifs everywhere:
I've always found sans-serif fonts hard to read, but Interview used them in everything -- captions, titles, text were pretty much all Helvetica. The addition of serifs in the readable text will definitely help. The serif font they use in titles and captions looks like the beautiful child of Caslon and Bodoni, which has a nice sharp style about it, and the article text (thankfully for everyone's eyes) looks like Garamond. My first thought was that this looked older, more Rolling Stone-ish and classic-fashion-mag-ish. It could be a good thing; the all-Helvetica look had the feel of a badly-designed blog at times.

A few things I noticed, that I hadn't seen in the magazine before:
  • Capture, a section of cellphone-camera photos that had been sent to the magazine. They don't say how best to send them to the magazine, which I'm sure is to avoid having their email boxes filled with pictures of readers' penises. I mean, more pictures of readers' penises.
  • Nominations, and interesting turn on "fame's reaction to fame," where established artists recommend an up-and-coming artist for future fame.
  • Blogs, which focuses on, um...blogs. It's nice to see the art and literature of the amateur internet get some attention, so I'm curious to see where it goes. Interview has long been at the fringes and cutting edges of art, and it is excellent to see them acknowledging what there is online without trying to shoehorn it in as an author/blogger or artist/blogger who's promoting their new marketable product and (by the way) they got started in blogging. Their premiere entry in this category is The Affected Provincial's Almanack, which I had never heard of before.
These three additions to their standard fare really make me look forward to the next issue -- they're things that aren't seen everywhere. One-page looks at new musicians aren't uncommon, four-page interviews of movie stars are everywhere, but a page or two of reader-submitted photos and interviews with bloggers have a lot of potential. Hopefully next month the magazine will have less fashion, and be back to more interviews of famous people talking to famous people.

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