Monterrey Magazine Design Workshop

Young people aren’t interested in magazines anymore? Well, if they don’t like reading them, they at least still enjoy designing them as I found out at a recent workshop.

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Young people aren’t interested in magazines anymore? Well, if they don’t like reading them, they at least still enjoy designing them as I found out at a recent workshop.

As part of my duties at Design Week Monterrey recently, I agreed to run a one-day workshop at CEDIM, the design school that organises the conference. Around 20 students came for the 6-hour session.

For the first hour or so, we went through some of the important factors in conceiving and designing magazines: What’s it about?

Who’s going to read it and why? What will it be called? We talked through isssues concerning distribution, competitors, format, typography, photography and illustration. Then it was time for them to do some work.

I split them into four groups and asked each group to come up with an idea for a magazine. By the end of the day, I wanted them to have a name, an idea of their audience (both readers and advertisers), a logo, a front cover and a couple of spreads. And a representative of each group had to stand up and present their idea to everyone else.

Here’s what they did:

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Inevitably, one group decided to do a magazine for design students, but it did have one major factor in its favour – a great name. They explained that they wanted something that would offer lots of practical advice, so the name came from a typical reaction when you’ve been puzzling over how to do something for a long time, then someone tells you the answer and it all seems so obvious – duh! They also wanted to leave the cover blank so that students could design their own – the red area is a bellyband.

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The content inside would major on hints, tips and advice with – a nice idea – space left for annotations and sketches by the reader.

Next up, we had a magazine for trainer – or ‘sneaker’ – collectors. In Mexico, these are apparently known as tennis shoes, or just ‘tennis”. The name and logo come from the year in which the first tennnis shoe was invented, thus appealing to those in the know.

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Then we had a group that wanted to produce a magazine on world, current events, written by and for young people. They decided that a website would be the best way to do this initially, but that, every three months, the best of the web content would be collected to make a printed publication. Readrers and writers would effectively be the same people as anyone with an internet connection and a story to tell could contribute.

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This would be the homepage – each dot would light up when a contributor from that area filed a story or images. The name would be Satellite.

And finally, we had Marked, a magazine for street art. This was probably the furthest developed of the four. We had a logo and cover idea:

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The illustration would be printed on a (recycled) plastic bag. Inside, the real cover would be blank and, for the launch issue, come with a set of pens so that readers could do their own:

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The logo was kept deliberately ‘straight’ typographically to avoid fighting with the work featured within. Likewise, the type family here:

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Sample feature layout:

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Thanks to all the students who worked so hard on the day.

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