March 3, 2009

Renovation Style. Renovate. Renovate|Style.

So, finally, a post about the prototype presentations. I feel as though the rest of the designers and I had similar goals for RS, which we solved in completely different creative visions. Contrary to what the editors may think, there are some problems with RS both in the publication's editorial and design. The problems I addressed in my design were primarily the following.

Negative Nancy says:
1. this magazine is dwindling in newsstand readership
2. there is a lack of a clear magazine identity/genericness
3. it has ambiguous department pages

However, there were some components of the magazine that I chose to keep intact. I feel the following were uniquely important to the magazine.

Positive Patsy says:
1. there are fantastic full-color, full-bleed, multi-page features (did I need hyphens? I don't care)
2. the magazine's content is a clear reflection of its affluent, mature audience (if you're doing renovations you obviously own a home and have some money to play around with)

I addressed the former problems while trying to remain loyal to the magazine's elegance and hands-on approach to renovation.

Problem-Solving Chelsea solved problems by:

1. Creating a more active nameplate. I changed the name to "renovate" because active verbs are better attention-getters, meaning more newsstand sales. It's also a very strong 3-syllable sound, reminiscent of many other powerful words...renovate. decorate. celebrate. conjugate. (yay editing!) There is no ambiguity regarding the name; someone who wants this magazine is ready to renovate. Also, in my opinion, the word "style" is a little redundant for a publication that is to be filled with stylized interiors and beautiful design. I wanted to let the content speak for itself. 

2. Establishing a vibrant but restrained color palette. Right now, the colors used within the magazine are dated (peach + teal = DESIGNER'S WRATH.) By combining classic neutrals with more trendy color combinations — pink and grey, beige and purple, etc. — the magazine has a more updated feel, which is exactly what this magazine is about...updating a home.

3. Implementing a descriptive subhead. "your guide to home renovation" is placed at the lower right side of the nameplate, with subtle dots leading the eye into the text. This subhead creates a sense of accessibility, which is important when most sales are going to be off the newsstand in home improvement stores. Plus, the wording includes the audience (your guide), making them an active part of the process. 

4. Creating cohesive department pages. I did this by using a similar typeface for each department head, and using the dots as an underline throughout the publication. The dots are put in grey and made smaller so they don't act as a distraction and rather act as visual punctuation and add movement to the pages. I thought they set the mood for a renovation magazine because they reflect nailheads, screws, rivets and blueprint dotted lines. Too literal? Perhaps. But, I still like them. 

5. Giving the magazine life. The former design did nothing to enhance the content. In fact, I believe the editorial outshone the dated design. With my new design, there is a higher-level of respect given to the photographs, bright and cheeky department heads established and the magazine looks more alive (and, oddly enough, a lot like Domino...unintentional, I promise!)

Doing a presentation like this was a great experience, and I'm not just saying that because I should. We are eventually going to have to be able to sell our creative visions to skeptical editors/publishers, and this process helped me identify my ideas and thoroughly explain my convoluted thought process. It is not easy creating cohesive ideas and explaining creative visions to non-design people, and this project definitely helped me think more about the business and marketing aspect of the magazine industry. I think I'll stick to design, though. 

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