The Best Design Magazine.

It’s a good feeling when an impulse purchase, in this case necessitated by a need for painkillers and a strict $5 limit for Eftpos transactions at a train station newsagency, leads to valuable discovery.

I hastily scanned the magazines on display and opted for Bloomberg Businessweek. It was a brute aesthetic decision… Simple bold masthead, neutral colour scheme, full bleed image and a big headline about Google. I joined my travelling partner and boarded the train.

I am not a businessman. I’m a graphic designer and I didn’t think I’d be the target audience, however reading through, I found it to be the best DESIGN magazine I have read this year in both its content and its Layout.

Layout

There were so many IDEAS! The grid looked deceptively complex and extremely elastic. Margins were either non-existent or crammed with supportive facts and anecdotes, illustrations, and graphical supplements to the text. Typography was simple and unadorned. Articles navigated elegantly from start to finish. There was no Jan, Emil or Eric looming over its shoulder. I was surprised by the general brashness of the aesthetic. It felt FREE and dedicated to the editorial focus of its content. No design magazine that I’ve seen/read recently has this balance of purpose and freedom.

Content

Graphic design is inherently linked to business. It is a commercial undertaking and anyone working within the industry needs to be at peace with this. The articles in Bloomberg Businessweek were plainly written, with minimal business/economic jargon and despite being America-centric, of fairly international content. Well-edited articles on topics of innovation, products, economics, management, markets, politics, media – all of which design is or should be entwined. To be a good designer it is more important to have an awareness of business than of graphic design. Obviously we must know our tools, both our programs and technical restrictions, and the typographic and compositional rules of the art form. These are great, but mean little without a strong understanding of the message’s environment and the message’s recipient.

Today’s design literature should make us better designers and a smarter industry collectively, though most design magazines, books, blogs etc fail to go further than patting ourselves on the back. It is important that achievements of our industry are noted but this does not make us better at our job.

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