Design Studio of the Year
Each year in the Creative Review Annual we choose a Design Studio of the Year. Our winner this time is an in-house studio which has consistently delivered powerful, original work that has revived a sector of the media industry
There's some brilliant design work in this year's Annual, as you might expect. Spin has several outstanding projects in our pages, while it's great to see Brazil, Canada, Australia, the US and mainland Europe represented.
But we have chosen to recognise an in-house design team which has had an enormous impact on its industry. Under creative director Richard Turley, (not forgetting editor Josh Tyrangiel) Bloomberg Businessweek has trounced its rivals with a verve and energy that recalls the heyday of the printed magazine.
Set-piece editions in which the decks are cleared for total devotion to one topic have become a speciality of the magazine - its valedictory Steve Jobs issue being particularly successful. In our June 2012 issue our columnist Jeremy Leslie revealed the working process of the Bloomberg Businessweek team as it put together the issue (images above, you can read his piece here).
Last November, the team did it again with its Election Issue, shown here and chosen as one of our Best in Book winners for The Annual.
The Election issue takes as its starting point a famous speech by Ronald Reagan in which he asked the American people whether they felt better or worse off than they had been four years ago and applies that test to Obama's period in office.
It opens with a double-page, black and white shot of the President's inauguration on January 29, 2009 overlaid with facts about the state of the nation at that point.
From there, using the full range of modern visual storytelling weaponry, it takes a long hard look at what has happened to the US since. The cost of living, the changing nature of employment, financial, security and housing issues are all investigated with enormous verve and invention.
This is a tour-de-force of brilliant, visually-led storytelling. It is magazine publishing at its best, flexing every muscle of the editorial process to deliver a depth and quality of content unmatched elsewhere in the news weekly sector.
But it's not just in these special editions that Bloomberg Businessweek delivers. It consistently produces powerful covers and features which offer a compelling case for the future of print media and the vital role that design has to play in that. Congratulations to creative director Richard Turley and all his team. With its combination of editorial and visual punch, Bloomberg Businessweek has, for the moment, given a sector of the media industry new hope.
Election Issue design team: Creative Director: Richard Turley. Design Director: Cynthia Hoffman. Art Director: Robert Vargas. Graphics Director: Jennifer Daniel. Director of Photography: David Carthas. Deputy Photo Editor: Emily Keegin. Designers: Shawn Hasto, Chandra Illick, Tracy Ma, Maayan Pearl, Lee Wilson. Graphics: Evan Applegate, Christopher Nosenzo. Photo Editors: Alis Atwell, Donna Cohen, Jamie Goldenberg, Diana Suryakusuma, Jane, Yeomans, Meagan Ziegler-Haynes. Art Manager: Emily Anton
The Creative Review Annual is published in association with iStockphoto.
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As a longtime subscriber to BusinessWeek and subscriber to many business-focused print and web-based publications, I find the current design style to be the least readable and least appealing of all the publications I read...make that, of all the publications I have ever read. There are good reasons to use margins instead of having text go to the edge of a textbox. There are good reasons to avoid clutter. I wonder if BusinessWeek has surveyed its customers and asked them if the content was more readable and more accessible before the mess of the current design was splat down on the pages of the magazine. This award is the result of designers failing in love with themselves to the detriment of the actual users.
Ron is harsh, but that's exactly what I criticize about architecture, so I definitely get this point. It would be interesting to get more reader opinions here. Design is supposed to serve its users, not itself.
And the iPad edition is by far the best thought-out e-magazine I have ever encountered.
I couldn't agree with Ron more myself. As a person who WAS a long term subscriber to BW previously, when Bloomberg bought it and made the first changes I let my subscription expire. The magainze is just TOO hard to read through in many instances. It's like watching someone who is peppering you with factoids without always having a narrative that holds it together.
Great reporting is BOTH the printed work AND the visual experience. BW has done a lot of work in the later, but I'm afraid it has come at the expense of the former.
Many designers forget about functionality and usability. BW seems to have forgotten this to win some design awards.
I realize it might be a little bit challenging to read a spread. But as a designer myself, I can tell you that no matter what I or any designer does there is a legion of someones who know how to do my job better. If I'm going to get an internet lecture on how much I suck at my job it may as well be the result of doing my best to find the balance, however others might see it, between serving a function and translating a visual in a memorable or remarkable way.
I just think it's kinda funny to hear people complain about how much work it is to read something when it took an incredibly superior amount of time to create that work through writing, editing, design, layout and printing. Not to mention the people or events the article is about. "Oh I just don't want to spend the 15 minutes reading this because I don't like the way the text sits in the margin," is kind of on the scale of things I don't necessarily care about when what I am communicating is that this person who the article is about has lived a interesting and sometimes harrowingly difficult life. Maybe I am trying to communicate some aspects of that life through the medium which is the magazine layout? Whether it fails or succeeds is obviously subjective. But like I said, I'm going to hear about how bad of a job I did and how I don't know what I'm doing whether I'm pleasing cranky pants nit pickers or design snobs. So, I'm just going to do the best I can while I can until someone else takes over the publication and moves it in a different direction for whatever reason. There are bigger problems in the world to focus our real energy on solving.
I think they're doing a really nice job. Glad to see them get some recognition for it.
Oh thank God, as the editorial director of a student magazine, I always admired the visual style of the new Businessweek. But I could not get over how awful the basics were: the typesetting... line heights, font choices and margins. They've pretty much got it all wrong.
It's like a bunch of graphic designers with no experience in actual print design have taken over. There's been a few times when I've actually had to scratch my head: text has literally been cut off at the edge of the page, and the readability is so poor.
Surprised that the article doesn't mention the amazingly powerful (and ballsy) "IT'S GLOBAL WARMING, STUPID" cover. In terms of demanding attention and a response, probably one of the best magazine covers in the past decade:
Geez, it seems a lot of people really despise the new work BW has been doing. I don't see what the issue is. Can you still read the magazine? Yes. Does it look interesting? Yes.
I am sure there are instances where my own design sensibilities would disagree with BW's, but change isn't so doom and gloom as some of these commentators seem to think.
Well, I don't have much of an opinion one way or the other, but it certainly appears as if Darian has (with great indignation, I might add) confirmed one of the earlier comments - "designers falling in love with themselves to the detriment of the actual users."
BTW, for a magazine, there's probably no bigger problem in the world than ensuring it gets read.
I have to agree with Peter, the iPad edition is awesome - one of the best available. Well deserved!
I love the Steve Jobs outpouring of design. One mans stamp on the computer design industry has, I think, changed the way people consider design and usability.
I still kept a copy of my Shortlist magazine (not as snazzy) with Steve Jobs on it...definitely going to be a memorable magazine cover!