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Slanted – The Antiqua-Boom Issue

530 words on

The current issue of Slanted magazine is called The Antiqua-Boom Issue and of course I had to bite for that. I’ve always been a big fan of Antiquas and their recent popularity pleases me.

The magazine is rather thick – more like a small book, really – and it covers a rather wide range of issues which are more or less related with the ‘Antiqua’ theme. I am not really sure I ‘get’ the concept of everything there as it’s sometimes unclear to me whether what’s written is there to illustrate interesting trends or developments – i.e. to my benefit, in some sense – or to simply to show off what people or their friends did – i.e. to their benefit. Such things always puzzle me and make it hard to judge how serious to take them.

The magazine uses a few different papers – I quite like the yellow one at the beginning and the back, particularly when used with inverse printing and has an interesting design. They bravely print their page numbers really close to the page borders, possibly to show off the capabilities of the Océ printers they use for the magazine (and who I assume to be sponsors) [I’m a bit of a fan of their devices myself from my teenage copying job – and that was before the magic of the digital days]. And that close-to-border printing works well on most pages and looks a bit embarrasing in the few cases where it goes wrong. The printing technique may also explain why in many places you can feel the type on the page with your fingertips.

Part of a letter gone off-page. A millimetre between success and failure.

Many of the works shown in the magazine were quite interesting or even nice. I liked the article in section Ⅴ about reconstruction of a historic typeface ‘Basel Antiqua’ and the description of the techniques which could be used for that. The typographic images in chapter Ⅷ were cool as well – but who could resist pictures of cute birds formed with glyphs from Garamond? Some of the student work shown in the later sections was cool as well.

What was a bit disappointing was the lack of technical quality in the writing. A design oriented magazine surely shouldn’t be a collection of apostrophes and quotation marks gone wrong – even ordinary newspapers get that right and they have daily deadlines rather than half-year delays (the magazine’s cover says September 2007 and it only came out recently). It is also poorly printed on many of the pages with graphics or font samples on them where the colour used isn’t proper black but a dark shade of grey and uglily rastered in printing. That not only affects the birds mentioned above but also the font samples. Outline fonts do not need to look jaggy like that. Particularly if you present them in a magazine.

A few examples of wrong punctuation. And that doesn't included instances of unclarities about whether to use German or English style quotation marks and how to adapt that to the language in use.

What annoys me a bit is their pricing. They sell the magazine for €15 on the web, yet the cover states a €10 price. And then they charged me shipping costs for a heavy parcel rather than the €2,20 needed to actually ship the thing. That makes things feel like a bit of a rip-off.

May 30, 2008, 23:44

Tagged as magazine.

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