Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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When it comes to magazines you have to envy the girls. They have all those girlie magazines and glossies lined up for them. Brink-full with nice photographs, vaguely interesting stories, stale reviews and possibly even samples for some new smells – err, ‘fragrances’, as they say. In a way those magazines look like they are more relaxing than the batches of the music, car, computer, porn or otherwise focused guy magazines at the newsstand.

But of course the magic disappears once you actually flip through the pages and are reminded that you didn’t care for fashion to begin with (and what they’re showing just seems to hit the extremes between crappy retail and the fashion show extravaganza where it takes really hot models to make those creative ‘clothes’ look good) and that the content is negligible.

But wouldn’t it be nice to have magazines which fill the gap between information and entertainment? Which lack the urgency of a daily or weekly newspaper. Which devote their energy to going into detail. Which look nice. Enjoyable reading. Stuff that’s more inspiring than informative.

I’m pretty sure such magazines exist. But they may not be commonplace. And if you suffer from shopping-phobia and live in a small town it’s somewhat unlikely to come across them. It turns out that once more the internet can be helpful in that situation. And so I tried picking up some links I came across and just ordered magazines that I saw people mention.

The first magazine I tried was I/O Magazine. On the opening page they nicely describe themselves as A student project with the participation of international gym members who surrendered to the specified motto ‘See it again for the first time’ […]. It’s just shy of a hundred pages and contains graphical work of all sorts – photos, collages, drawings. It’s a bit hard to really see a great theme working there. It’s more like a high quality printed version of a flickr group with interesting images. And quite an enjoyable one at that. I really like the photos I’m attracted to power – 220V, babe.

And then I tried the current issue of spatium, a typographical magazine. The issue is named Hamburgefonts and thus focuses on type specimens. They split it in two parts, a short colourful one giving photos of a variety of current type specimens, books and brochures and a longer, less colourful with some texts on font samples.

page in spatium magazine

The design of that second part is quite fun as the texts (available in both German and English) are written to be samples of the different weights and styles of different font families. So you just read your way through the text and at the same time get to know some fonts. Perhaps those fonts could have been chosen a bit more extravagantly – who needs to see the likes of Myriad or Sauna yet again? I also thought the writing wasn’t particularly good in many places as was the decision to not use ligatures in the texts written in SabonNext – particularly in serif italics, not having ligatures looks quite irritating to me. And, personally I would have appreciated the use of hanging punctuation as well – particularly when using typefaces with somewhat large quotation marks.

spatium magazine and buttons

So in total I think the magazine could have used some more focus on the details in producing. And in print quality as well. Not that the quality is bad – but showing small photos of type specimens means that not having absolutely fantastic print quality will make things blurry and the details in those photos impossible to see. And I would have also written the name of the magazine somewhere more apparent than on the last page.

With the order or the magazine I also got myself some typographical buttons. I guess I just need to get to know some people now who appreciate coffee table magazines about typography and can chuckle about that Grotesk button…

November 8, 2006, 0:56

Tagged as magazine.

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