May 6, 2009

Julie & Julia

So, I'm a Glamour blogaholic. One of the greatest things the magazine has done in its recent years (besides its tasteful redesign) was establish itself as an authority on love, life, health, style and fitness in the blogosphere. The Glamour bloggers are warm and personable, without being too cheesy or annoying, and most importantly, they update multiple times a day. Joanna Goddard, from my favorite blog "A Cup of Jo" (editing is almost over and I don't freaking care whether you quote/italicize/bold blog names...) has recently become a Glamour blogger. At first, I was a little surprised to hear Joanna go from talking about things like homemade headbands and Parisian style to shallow things like sex (gasp!) and what kinds of skirts boys like (who cares?), but I have adjusted to her new blogging repertoire and continue to check it thrice daily. 

Today Joanna posted the trailer for a new movie called "Julie and Julia," a movie based on a true story that follows infamous chef and cookbook author Julia Child and a sweet woman living in Brooklyn, stuck in a dead-end job, who decides she needs to change her life. Her plan? To cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's cookbook within one year. I can hardly wait until August when it comes to theaters! (ps: I have that adorable egg beater picture above.)

A little back story on why I am so excited for this movie. My mom, in addition to her day job of being a travel consultant, attended cooking school and worked as an independent chef most of her life. Her recipes have been featured in multiple regional newspapers and magazines, and she was even published in Bon Appetit in the '80s! Needless to say, Bon Appetit and The Joy of Cooking were rotated regularly on our kitchen cookbook stand and I have grown up surrounded by delicious food. In fact, my favorite food at the age of 7 was artichokes; I would request them morning, noon and night. Ew, artichokes before 9am? No thanks. My mom said she got really tired of preparing them for me, so she became ECSTATIC when I soon discovered the amazingness of the Schwans man. For a young Chelsea, a glimpse of the pale yellow truck was as equally exciting as a normal child hearing the familiar jingle of an ice cream truck — except instead of bomb pops, this one was full of  frozen chicken patties.

I plan on applying to Bon Appetit this summer, and will include a copy of my mom's feature in my application (unfortunately, I can't show it because it was published before they went on the web). In addition to being one of the most reputable and well-known food magazines out there, Bon Appetit has recently gone through a redesign! It now has beautiful food photography, typography and, of course, delicious recipes. I especially love the lowercase letters of the new masthead (accessibility and informality, anyone?), which succeeds in remaining refined without being pompous. If I were to get a job there, I would definitely consider quitting my vegetarian eating habits just so I could try all their recipes!


So, presentations are over! (but you already knew this.) Everyone did a great job, and although it was fulfilling to finally present something we have been working on for almost four months, it seemed a bit anticlimactic to me. Perhaps it's because the editors of my particular publication made it clear from the initial meeting that they had no intention of using our ideas, as they have recently hired a new art director. However, these past few months have taught me so much more about publication design and publishing than ever, and the experience of conceptualizing a prototype, presenting creative ideas through public speaking and hearing professional opinions and feedback was invaluable. 

What was most surprising for me was that the execs seemed to think our redesign was a bit too conceptual. I had considered perhaps applying there (and still might) but now I am not sure I like how literal and obvious their respective publication designs need to be. I understand we must cater to the readers and ensure that legibility and understanding comes before the design itself, but some of the things the execs strongly disliked, like the white bar and the vertical bar (I'm sure we were all expecting some controversy concerning these elements), to me just don't seem to be that unorthodox. It's a white bar. We understand that it will cover part of the cover photo, but what about all those sell lines that do exactly the same thing? I guess I just think the cover should, yes, showcase a photograph, but in the end the cover's sole purpose is to sell the magazine. If we can sell a magazine better with bold sell lines and the establishment of a clear visual identity, then that is the greater success to me. 

I think I prefer a bit more creative freedom in my designs and would prefer to work at a more design-oriented publication that values current, classic and a little crazy design and typographic trends.