Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Today, the big German weekly Die Zeit published their new magazine for the first time. They had a little shiny magazine which they stopped doing in the late 1990s and replaced by a full-size part of the paper called ‘Leben’. That was kind of disappointing because the magazine – if only for its friendly size rather than the full square metre of the rest of the paper – probably was one of the first parts I read. However, they got a new layout in the course of that – and that layout is really good with its generous but not excessive use of white space and it is around until today.

Now the magazine is back. Just by its new name Zeit magazin Leben which quite uncleverly manages to merge both the old ‘magazin’ and the new ‘Leben’ names along with ‘creative’ capitalisation and mixing of typefaces, it radiates all the sophistication and lacklustreness of design-by-commitee. While it isn’t quite that bad – a lot of the old content remains after all – I fail to be impressed. Somehow the layout just looks boring and the only excitement it offers are capital letters crammed all over the place. Talking about crammed – the small pages make things just look less relaxed as well.

In fact, their columnist Harald Martenstein writes it best when bitching about the art directors responsible for the layout of his texts. In each iteration of the layout he lost some more characters for the beneift of more free space and photos. Bitter reality looks very crammed, though, with apparently only the ads making it onto the paper:

double page from Zeit magazin Leben

Upside: Photos may look better on glossy paper – but the web taught me not to look at images within text anyway and I quite dislike glossy paper because it can be hard to read due to reflections. Further downside: The magazine doesn’t seem to be included in the PDF download of the paper anymore (Update: the magazine started being included in the PDF the following week). Let’s hope all these things develop positively.

May 25, 2007, 0:58

Tagged as magazine.

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