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The NYT mag – less is more

Notebook: 13 January 2017 | MAGAZINES On Sunday 1 January 2017 The New York Times Magazine ran a striking black and white photograph on its cover (by photographer Devin Yalkin). It was a close-up portrait of Sam Siatta, an ex US marine who after facing the horrors of war in Afghanistan, returned home to struggle with depression, alcohol dependency and PTSD. Alongside it a very small headline said simply: THE FIGHTER by CJ CHIVERS and three smaller headlines, carefully spaced apart down the left hand side of the photo stated: THE MARINE CORPS TAUGHT SAM SIATTA HOW TO SHOOT. THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN TAUGHT HIM HOW TO KILL. NOBODY TAUGHT HIM HOW TO COME HOME. It was brilliant journalism – a very simple but immensely captivating cover and a demonstration that with design, less is often much more – if a picture is striking then why clutter it with a large headline – let the picture do the talking, with a smaller, quieter headline adding to the drama. Some of my favourite NYT mag covers from 2016 are shown below and what they all have in common is …

One for the coffee table

Notebook: 13 January 2017 | BOOK DESIGN I’ve just received my printed copy of a book I designed for Fairline Yachts for the London Boat Show. It’s a hefty 200-page publication which celebrates 50 years of Fairline and it’s stuffed full of sumptuous photos of Fairline’s luxury vessels. The company began life as a small boat builder in Northamptonshire in 1967 and they now export their beautifully designed and engineered boats worldwide. The book was put together in just one month from start to finish and I worked with the writer and editor Jonathan Arnold. Some of the layouts are shown below.

Bridie Cheeseman 2

Notebook: 15 October 2015 | ILLUSTRATION I’m a big fan of the illustrator Bridie Cheeseman’s work. I like her naïve style and sometimes slightly mysterious subject matter – she appears to capture a moment in a story such as the bearded man making a hurried exit in the painting above. Has he just been reading to the two children and why is he now rushing off? And who is the child whose presence is only shown by legs in spotty tights? In another illustration called ‘Late summer drive’ a car passes along a street as a cat and dog look on. Meanwhile a man mows his lawn and a girl appears to be exercising through an open window. Three burning candles in another window and a strange landscape (England, USA?) in the distance all add to the sense of intrigue and mystery. Bridie has a great feeling for colour and composition and one of my favourite paintings is her ‘Elephant entering a sock shop’. There’s a real sense of depth and closer study reveals an odd assortment of characters wearing …