Design and art direction of most sff literary magazines is far from good. Most of them concentrate on the subject matter – content of the stories. Well, that’s a given. After sorting that out, some award-winning, critically acclaimed giants like Clarkesworld or Apex or Azimov’s or etc etc could hire one interesting graphic designer and typographer to spice up their publications.
And yet, most of them look like they are still far far in the 90s and in the best cases 2000s. Clarkesworld wins awards for art direction year after year for their cover art (and their covers are fucking bad-ass, that’s true), yet the rest is not good. I know absolutely fuck all about publishing and graphic design and still can do the same as the best of them.
Kudos to all of them, but I wanna do things differently.
There is not enough aesthetics in SFF publishing. When there is so much space for imagination, for creativity, for direction with fan art, with illustrations and portraits and yet magazines don’t embrace it. That led me to some not-that-deep research in modern design.
First, I researched the current trends in more hip publications. Desginer, fashion, art mags – and they are so coool. That led me to read “Art, Fashion, and Work for Hire: Thomas Demand, Peter Saville, Hedi Slimane, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Cristina Bechtler in Conversation” where I found an echo chamber of my own ideas on art critique and approaches to perception of art (and they were thinking about it in early 00s).
That’s were I learned more about Pete Saville (the one who did album covers for Joy Division and New Order) who talked about the intersection of arts (design, sculpture, and architecture) and the integrity of vision. He said that he would probably want a professional to help him with realizing an idea for a building, if he ever had one, but wouldn’t want Rem Koolhaas to do it for him.
Watching me research this bullshit, Dasha recomended me to have a look at how the writer and publishers from the age of Ukrainian Renaissance in the late 1920’s.
I WAS SHOOK.
That the Universal Magazine #1 from 1929. 300% more daring and interesting than anything done in SFF today. And they had no InDesign or QuarkXpress.
As a result, I now have a growing fascination with modern design and simultaneously with old soviet literary magazines and plan to do some more daring things with design for Three Crows Magazine.