GQ class

Yes! Thank you GQ for printing three covers for your October issue. Usually less is more but in this case more is better. For this month GQ decided to cover Aniston's husband to be Justin Theroux, actor Idris Delba and singer/actor Jeff Bridges.

The photography is great, all three cover guys look really good. The classic sexy look is back and it feels amazing. The type is not too present, just enough so you know what's inside without ruining the pictures. I do have to mention the two rectangles with headlines are kind of a no no especially the one with the white outline… do people actually still think boxes with outlines are ok? Tried it without the box on the left and instead put it on the right, I feel like it's more balanced that way.

I love the fact that the logo is half black and half white, it really enhances the way the lighting works on each of the guy's portraits. Thank's GQ, for being classy and smooth this month and giving us the gift of a trio.


What’s This Font 1.3 – Vanity Fair France

 Greetings typelings, It's this special time again, what's this font is back! For this 4th and latest edition we will be taking a look at Vanity Fair France. Lots of really cool and recent new fonts here that I'm sure you guys will love. We've got a mix between Vanité, VF Didot and Futura.

The first typeface we will be looking at today is VF Didot. Of course such a beautiful font could only come from one place: Commercial Type. Both the U.S and french version of Vanity Fair are currently using it, though the U.S is also using the stencil and the thicker weights unlike VF France.  The font is used throughout the whole magazine, Front of book, back of book and of course features. It has got the most amazing lowercase italics and they come in a bunch of different weights. They give just enough of a soft feel so that it doesn't look girly rather just elegant. The original Didot is a timeless gorgeous typeface and VF Didot is just as beautiful. It's not available for purchase yet as it was designed very recently. You can keep an eye out just in case but it seems Vanity Fair will have the exclusive use for quite a while. For more info check out Commercial Type
(Side note: The uppercase italic are are not working quite as well as you would want them to, they are too italic unfortunately...VF France hasn't been going in that direction too much though unlike VF U.S)

Now for my personal favorite, Vanité! Vanité is the font VF France is using instead of Solano Gothic (What VF U.S is using). This font was the result of a design collaboration between the art department at Vanity Fair France and Jean-baptiste levee. This typeface is perfect for the french edition, it's art deco and modern at the same time. This is what's replaced VF Sans and it's doing a great job. It has a lot of wonderful glyphs. Unfortunately, there again, it's not available for purchase but we're keeping our fingers crossed right? You can find more information on Vanite here.

The third one is a classic, Futura. Ah future, I have come to appreciate that typeface a lot in the last few years. It's just so easy to use and in this case it blends so well with the whole design of the magazine. VF U.S and France use the same version of it, Futura (T1). This typeface however has so many different variations that it's really hard to know which is which! I was never able to find where to get Futura (T1) but here is a link to the regular version on MyFonts. It goes for $356 and has 18 different weights. I'd say it's definitely a good one to have in your pocket.

For the last one I'm afraid we're just going classic with the VF times which is used for all the main text throughout the mag. Nothing fancy here, just a sweeter version of Times making an easy read. All and all, good typefaces in the mix! You can check out the fonts Vanity Fair U.S uses here.


ELLE october quick redesign

 I was going through my iPad's newsstand today and realized how out of touch i've been (once again) and all the good stuff I've missed out on! The first cover that actually grabbed my attention was the ELLE U.S cover for October. This cover feels very light with a strong summer feel, a little odd for an october issue. 
Let's start with the photography. This feature was shot by Ruth Hogben. This cover is not that striking, it's pretty but it looks a bit average and the type bothers me a lot. For me, it doesn't match Gaga's unique personality and feel.

So, here the headlines are just crowding up around Gaga's face which is just too bad. I wish things had been laid out better, this makes it hard to enjoy the photo and well…type wise it just looks like what Vogue has been doing, crowded, overpowering, busy, not good enough. therefore, I took about an hour,  and tried to tweak the cover to air out her face a bit. What was bothering me the most was the way the "Lady Gaga" type was almost on top of her eye. Used basic fonts for this, Futura and Baskerville, trying to stay as close as possible to the actual Elle design and layout.

It also seems this issue has a double cover (love those). The second one feels a lot more appropriate for an october issue, everything works, the colors, the pose, it just draws you in. Not loving the type but oh well...


Vogue Paris' hot chill

If any of you are in europe right now, (or your international press stand), I’m sure you’ve taken a look at the latest Vogue Paris issue. For august we have a special London issue with Daria Werbowy photographed by David sims.

Werbowy is wearing an awesome Ralph Lauren Jacket and all in all this cover looks pretty cute. The colors are nice and the model looks great, (though I could’ve done without the nose piercing…). The typography is very messy however, its quite crowded and you are losing any sense of priority on this cover. Everything is sitting really tight and I found it hard to read. I can honestly say though that this cover looks a hundred times better than the U.S and U.K editions, (by saying this I’m merely pointing out that those two look aweful not that this one looks amazing..).

The only thing that bothered me was the whole theme of this issue. As I mentioned this is a special London edition, and apparently to us french people, a London edition means winter style and cold photoshoots. It seems a bit chilly for an august issue which is disappointing but clearly you can’t have everything (trying sure wouldn’t kill you though…).


From Vogue to Vague

So I finally have a bit of time for myself and decided to take a little trip to the south of France for three days. But, of course, my obsession for the editorial world is not at rest and I had a few hours at the airport to catch up on what I’ve missed commenting on these past few months. Let’s start with a recent cover, I’m looking at you Vogue U.S, I’m pretty sure you don’t want me to be looking at you right now…. For their July cover they have singer Katy Perry. But wait…this looks familiar…

Yes they did. This cover looks an awful lot like their December 2012 issue with Anne Hathaway. Come on, I know it's summer and that this is a small issue but I'm surprised nobody noticed this. The color scheme is the same, green, pretty red flowers, that weird sad empty gaze is still here and honestly it wasn't a winning cover in December and it's not one now. However, this cover is the least of Vogue's problem right now.
I'm not even going to mention the layout and graphic design from the spreads inside the issue…Ok well that's a total lie… I have to mention that. When I flipped through the magazine and saw…whatever it was that I saw I'm still not sure, I had to look at the cover twice to check I was indeed looking at Vogue U.S, that's not a good thing...

I do not understand how the whole artistic direction of this publication can be so wrong. If you swapped the current cover with the ELLE logo no one would notice the difference…(that is an insult to ELLE actually, their layouts are divine compared to this) I’m not talking about the pictures as there are some good series in there but Oh My God the typography?? It looks like a failed merger between 4 or 5 different magazines! (no Vogue…that’s not a good thing when you look like you’re stealing layouts and fonts from everyone else…). Maybe the art director is on vacation who knows, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. I have, many times, lashed out at Vogue U.S because this publication which is supposed to be so elegant, fashion oriented and forward is simply a mess. They don’t even have a signature typeface (or one particular typeface that stands out more than the other for that matter, it looks like they are just using whatever they are in the mood for when they make a layout..). I isolated a few spreads to compare and contrast them with layouts from other publications like Vanity Fair and ELLE in case my point isn’t already made, check them out below:

All I can add to conclude this post is this: What it particularly sad is that Vogue U.S is not the magazine is used to be anymore. I find the whole publication to be a bit all over the place way too often (design wise, the photoshoots are still good). I'm liking the foreign Vogues a lot better these days.


It's all about Vanity Fair France

I've been off the grid for a while and missed commenting on a lot of covers in the past months. BUT, I do have a good reason! Since october 2012 I have officially been working as part of the Art department team at Vanity Fair France with Yorgo Tloupas (Art Director) and Genève Doherty (Associate Art Director) on the design of Condé Nast's newest baby. After months of hard work, late nights, junk food and team work, the first ever issue of Vanity Fair France is finally available and we are all so excited!

Who else could have been worthier of our first cover other than Scarlett Johansson? A gorgeous woman with amazing talent. She opened the doors of her parisian life to our team.

This first issue is very dense and has a lot of fascinating articles and great photography. We were able to get talented illustrators (one of my favorite parts), as well as great photographers and writers. So for everyone out there who is not able to go grab their first issue, here is an exclusive sneak peek at what you are missing out on, time to go grab yours! (also available on iPad of course with lots of extra images, animations and interactive delights).


What's This Font 1.2 - VOGUE Paris

Greetings designers and type geeks. It's time for a What's This Font post and this time we'll be looking at Vogue Paris. Definitely an upgrade on Vogue U.S if you ask me. There are lots of interesting things in there, especially layout and font wise. The first font we will  be looking at is the font used on the cover. On the one hand you have the VOGUE logo which is a slightly altered version of Didot (T1) HTF M42 Medium (who knew right?) and on the other we have a mix of Miller Banner light, roman and semi bold for the headlines. 

I don't find there is much to say on the Vogue logo itself, it's pretty iconic and speaks for itself so for now I will just focus on the use of Miller which was designed by Matthew Carter and Richard Lipton in 2010. The first time I discovered Miller I was working as an intern at Victoria's Secret and it was one of the fonts they used the most. You would think I would have recognized it but the way Vogue uses it is so different that to me it looked like a completely different font. It's modern yet has got all the right curves. It works very well for them and all in all it's quite a gorgeous typeface. Not only that but the price range is quite reasonable, you can find Miller Banner here.

Now despite all these good aspects this font does have a major flaw which comes to light in a more obvious way as you flip through the pages and Vogue Paris doesn't seem to have noticed it: readability. If this reads well on the cover I'm afraid the same thing can't be said on the inside of the magazine. That is mostly due to the layouts, a lot of cramped text everywhere whether it be big or small, not the smartest choice. Vogue also decided they wanted a customized version of Miller specially designed for them and that's how they ended up with...let's say interesting, alternates.

While some of the alternates work quite well and give the page a little more beauty and vogue, one in particular is just plain weird. You can guess from looking below, it's the B. It looks like a J and a B stuck together and reads really weird. No one's perfect right?


Yippeekayay GQ readers

 This March Bruce Willis is taking over the movie theaters with Die Hard 5 and the magazine stands as well. The Die Hard saga star is covering both GQ U.S and U.K march issues, the question is, who did it better?

On the one hand we have the french, who chose to shoot Willis wearing a black t-shirt, keeping things simple, and on the other, GQ U.S, who chose a jean shirt with a tie, topped with a grey/blue blazer. Now simply based on the styling and the pose, I do think the french did it better. I don't know about the U.S, it seems they had this picture retouched a LOT and the actor is starting to look like his wax replica from Mme Tussaud…

Typography wise, Despite the fact that the fonts are way better on french GQ, the layout on the U.S one is better. The french cover feels very crowded and I'm having a hard time enjoying the picture because of it. I also really don't like the way they're advertising the iPad app on the french cover with that yellow tablet on the left, it just doesn't go.

However I have to go with GQ France, I like the photography a lot better and I'm never disappointed with the inside layouts which is not so often case with G.Q U.S. Once again, the U.S will just have to try and do better… what do you think?

On a side note, below is a comparison between french GQ's current cover and a quick retweak I did getting rid of the ipad icon and slightly rearanging the headline type to uncrowd the page. Not necessarily a solution but something to think about, I wanted to give the picture some more breathing space to see how it looked.

Esquire's bitchy february cover

Ah esquire, you have been one of my favorites for a while now and I thought it would take a lot for you to disappoint me. However, I noticed recently that I have been so hung up on how beautiful, interactive and user friendly the magazine app was that I completely forgot taking a look at the print version of the issues. 

Let's look at the february 2013 issue with Megan fox on the cover (not one of my favorite people but I will admit she looks good). all in all not a bad cover. the color palette is nice, the picture is up to the esquire criteria and standing and when I see that it does make me want to pick it up. The photography is from Sante D'Orazio (who seems to only specialize in taking pictures of naked models and actresses…). The picture of Fox is not that revealing but she does look a bit high and considering the photographer I'm surprised she didn't lose more clothes for this.

The typography on the cover is a lot similar to what they did for Sofia Vergara's cover (april 2012). I didn't really like it then I'm still not sure about it now. There are interesting things going on like the copy above the esquire logo, but the rest feels a bit too much underrated for me.

Now the cover is not my biggest concern…after looking at this issue on the iPad I was delighted, the interactivity, user interface and everything else was up to Esquire standards. But I did get a print version of this issue (which I hadn't done in a while) and I can honestly say I almost hard a heart attack. The layouts and design looks terrible. It takes a lot of bad for me to say that, as this magazine is in my top 3 favorites of all time. It looked messy and under-treated and I honestly cannot understand how you can have such an amazing iPad app and such an awful printed version of the exact same thing. one of the pages that shocked me was the "Funny joke from a beautiful woman". Gorgeous on the app, a serious wtf on the print, see for yourself below.


Cheesy december vogue U.S

for their december issue, vogue US showed no fear…of total failure. Anne hathaway is an actress I admire for her acting as well as her beauty and vogue decided to put her on their december 2012 cover...

I haven't had the time to post in a while and missed the golden opportunity to talk about this cover. As soon as I saw this cover my face pretty much looked like a cartoon character in shock. What was Vogue thinking?? Let's dissect this winter mess shall we:

First, the photography by (amazing) Annie Leibovitz is far from reaching her normal level of talent. Anne Hathaway looks so terribly sad, I swear her eyes are drooping downer and downer the more I look at this….She looks like she is melting and hat isn't something I want to see. On top of that you add your grandma's rose bush in the back and you're set to cry for a while.

Second, the typography. To be honest it's nothing different that what Vogue has been doing for a while now, a bold and light boring old sans serif typeface that is ready to eat everything standing in its way. Soon they will put type on top of people's faces…. As I mentioned in one of my previous post, this cover does not say vogue AT ALL to me. it screams a cheap house and garden magazine and the first sentence that comes to mind while looking at this is "how to stay pretty (or fail) while planting roses in a cocktail dress".

Third, the color palette. Oh wow red and green how original for a christmas issue…why not put a christmas tree and a stocking with Anne's name while you're at it?

and fourth but not least, the actual pictures of Hathaway used for her feature. If you have ever heard of Mylene Farmer (famous french singer in the 80's and 90's) you definitely see where I'm going with this. The styling and pictures look like they were taken straight from Farmer's video clip from one of her hit songs "libertine" in 1986. If you watch it now it does look a bit cheesy but the way Leibovitz photographed Hathaway is even cheesier. Again I ask: How is this Vogue?

Mylene Farmer in 1986 on the left facing Anne Hathaway in Vogue US dec 2012


My Geeky Valentine

Not everyone likes Valentine's Day, but this year I thought I might just try to make
it special for all the geeks like myself out there. This year they can all tell the geek they love,
friend or more, how they feel in the most perfect way. So to all the graphic designers,
programmers, adobe lovers or typographers, have a Happy Valentine's Day!


 See all the 23 designs HERE
Prints are available HERE

 See all the 23 designs HERE
Prints are available HERE


What's This Font 1.1 - Vanity Fair

Hey guys and welcome back for this special second edition of What's This Font! This month on the menu is one of my favorite magazines, Conde Nast's Vanity Fair. They have (for the most part) great typefaces that create an overall beautiful design throughout the issues and this post will let you know what they are and where you can find them.

The first one we'll start with is Didot. It is for all intents and purposes Vanity Fair's signature font and is used almost exclusively on the cover and most of the pages of the magazine. It's one of those fonts that you may find more common than you should. It's an elegant and at the same time modern typeface. You can find it on typography.com here for $300 for 42 typefaces. When used correctly this font has a great impact and is of course absolutely beautiful.

Font number two on our list today is VF Sans. It has five weights, two widths, and was created for Vanity Fair by David Harris (design director) and Greg Mastrianni (art director) and designed, drawn and produced by James Montalbano of Terminal Design. This typeface can be found abundantly throughout the magazine, mostly in the artciles and captions, giving it a modern edge.

Finally the third font and also the most recent design addition to the magazine is Solano designed by Mark van Bronkhorst between 2007 and 2009. This typeface is a perfect new addition to Vanity Fair's design library. It is used mostly with a wide tracking and in a smaller point size which does not tone down its importance. You can purchase Solano on myfonts.com, the price is reasonable per font, the whole family in itself though is quite expensive but definitely a good buy.
More info to come soon!

GQ U.S going playboy style?

Ok so I haven't posted in a while but it doesn't mean I haven't been paying attention...I don't know about you but I have been really disappointed with the covers GQ has been publishing lately. It seems instead of publishing a men's style magazine, they've gone trashy on us and have now started to take  playboy looking pictures. I am of course talking about 2 of their latest covers, Rihanna and Beyonce. Yes Beyonce is hot, yes Terry Richardson is a very good photographer and no, this right there, isn't working.

Now I was willing to overlook the Rihanna cover as I did see some good things about it. It was provocative yet not trashy. However I can't ttribute the same compliments to the Beyonce cover. The pictures are not GQ material, just a playboy or maxim shoot at best...(see below). I know they are trying to sell more paper but this is just not right. If you look at GQ france you can truly see a magazine with a strong identity, photography that says something. Even GQ U.K whose identity/graphic design may be all over the place is still stronger than GQ U.S. Am I wrong? you tell me.