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Why Bloomberg Businessweek won at D&AD

Posted: April 22nd, 2012 | Author: Patrick Burgoyne | Filed under: Graphic Design, Magazine / Newspaper | Comments Off

Last week I was a judge on the Magazine and Newspaper Design category for this year's D&AD awards. Our jury gave out one Yellow Pencil, to Bloomberg Businessweek's special issue marking the death of Steve Jobs. Here's why I thought it deserved the award.

When the death of Steve Jobs was announced, an issue of US news weekly Bloomberg Businessweek was, reportedly, hours from going to press. Recognising what a major story this was, and setting aside the daunting ramifications for all involved, the magazine pulled its planned issue and decided instead to devote an entire issue to Jobs. If you want a convincing argument for why printed magazines still have a role, the resulting issue provides it. Quite simply, this was a superb piece of publishing.

Since former Guardian G2 art director Richard Turley took over design duties, Bloomberg Businessweek has utterly reinvented itself. It has been picking up awards steadily over the past two years but this issue may be its finest to date.

The cover uses a straightforward shot of Jobs, but the crop and the silver metallic background gives it a twist. The back cover features a Mac Classic with the word 'goodbye' on its screen.

Inside, the issue begins with a series of DPS images, overlaid with quotes. Deceptively simple, but very powerful. The Steve Jobs issue of Bloomberg's rival publication Newsweek was also entered into D&AD providing a direct comparison. It too began with DPS images and quotes, but Bloomberg's treatment of both was far more impactful.

There then follows a series of pieces telling the Jobs life story, movie style, in three acts, from initial success through the wilderness years, to triumphant return.

These are followed by a look at the products that brought Jobs to the world's attention.

It was just an all-round, brilliant combination of text and image, perfectly judged. If I had a criticism it was that there was little that was critical of Jobs and his impact on the world, save for a piece on Apple's relentless stoking of consumerism, but perhaps this was not the time or place.

Granted, Jobs' ill-health was not exactly a secret so much of this material could conceivably have been prepared beforehand, but nonetheless, to produce such an issue on such a tight deadline was a huge achievement. And here's the clincher – the magazine contains not one advert.

If you haven't worked in publishing you may not appreciate quite what this means. Here was, quite possibly, what would be the biggest selling issue of the year. Ads would have already have been booked for that week, many of them important long-term clients. Someone plucked up the courage to suggest that this issue would be far better, far more fitting, if all those ads were pulled, foregoing a huge amount of revenue for a title that was already losing money. And the powers that be – perhaps a decision made by Bloomberg himself? – agreed. That, when printed publications are struggling for every penny, is a heck of a decision. The magazine should probably have won an award for that alone.

 

 

CR for the iPad
Read in-depth features and analysis plus exclusive iPad-only content in the Creative Review iPad App. Longer, more in-depth features than we run on the blog, portfolios of great, full-screen images and hi-res video. If the blog is about news, comment and debate, the iPad is about inspiration, viewing and reading. As well as providing exclusive, iPad-only content, the app will also update with new content throughout each month. Try a free sample issue here


Design For the Brain

Posted: April 22nd, 2012 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Graphic Design | Comments Off

The Wellcome Collection's latest exhibition explores not what brains do to us but what we do to them – preserving, studying and collecting. The show's design takes it cues from the materials used to do just those things

 

looks at the way in which scientists use brains formedical intervention, scientific enquiry, cultural meaning and technological change. Designers LucienneRoberts+ (Lucinne Roberts and John McGill) took "slicing, cutting, collecting and classifying as our starting point", to develop a graphic system informed by both brain preservation and categorisation. To research this, they visited the Royal College of Surgeons where the cases used to preserve specimens (such as the one below) provided a reference point.

Working with Capital Models, the designers 'preserved' the show's title in similar fashion.

"Each letter is made of 'slices' of acrylic, contained in a bespoke acrylic box filled with a solution of glycerin and water," they explain. "The refractive index matches that of real specimens so that each sliced letter appears in multiples when viewed at different angles, while the colour palette references both 'grey matter' and the energetic activity of the brain."

The show's graphics, set in typeface Bureau Grot, allude to diagrams and labels.

Brains: the Mind as Matter is at the Wellcome Collection, Euston Road, London NW1 until June 17.

 

 

CR for the iPad
Read in-depth features and analysis plus exclusive iPad-only content in the Creative Review iPad App. Longer, more in-depth features than we run on the blog, portfolios of great, full-screen images and hi-res video. If the blog is about news, comment and debate, the iPad is about inspiration, viewing and reading. As well as providing exclusive, iPad-only content, the app will also update with new content throughout each month. Try a free sample issue here


Understanding Erik

Posted: April 22nd, 2012 | Author: Amber Smith | Filed under: Advertising, Photography | Comments Off

"It's not you, it's me..." No-one ever wants to hear that, do they? Or how about "...you are too much an individual for this agency..."? Erik Kessels suffered both of these let-downs early in his career as he told us at the first in a series of lectures organised by D&AD North. Perhaps he shouldn't have worn a chicken suit on his first day of work.

There's nothing stereotypical about Kessels or the work of his Amsterdam/London-based ad agency KesselsKramer. You have to be strong to be different - which was the theme of Kessels' talk.

He gave us a brief history of KesselsKramer and its work, focusing on significant projects from Diesel campaigns to the on-going work for the 'worst hotel in the world', the infamous Hans Brinker. The range of briefs and clients was eclectic, but if you've seen the agency's website (recent versions of which have by turn cast KesselsKramer as the world's largest online hatter and a teeth whitening company as well as puporting to be the site of the sherriff of Kessels Kramer County) that shouldn't be a surprise.

What became apparent was Kessels' passion for ideas, even when they didn't work out. "You have to have courage to have an idea sometimes..." he said. Throughout his career Kessels' ideas have been getting better and better and growing into things that weren't meant to happen. Amazing things. He enthused about the publications of vernacular photography that he produces (catalogue here) and the obsessive nature in which he collects content for them from flea markets and house clearances. Photograph after photograph charting a lifetime or a complete genre in one - the history of one family's pet black dog (In Almost Every Picture 9), for example (which proved to be more of a technical challenge than you might think) or prizewinning cow photography (much more technical than you think, there is mood music and only one way, the correct way for a cow to stand, see Kessels' book Useful Photography #005).

In a similar way in which he works with ideas, Kessels showed that these individual photographs may have little value but together form an intriguing collection. There is a method to the madness, although there is no finishing point as his working process is always ongoing. Due to this there is a sense that ideas are both precious and dispensable. A stream of endless collecting and collections.

The most inspiring points Kessels made were simple. You have to challenge yourself and then in doing so you challenge everyone around you. You challenge them to understand, to try, or maybe to find something they love. Kessels has the ability to make sense of the obscure and give it a context, not just for himself but so that everyone has a way to connect to it.

Other people fascinate him: their ideas, of course, but also how they think, and their emotions. There is a care for people and their community, he is intrigued by how they make sense of what they see and what they need to do in their world. He always tries to find his audience, connect with them and understand what they do. He showed the documentary The Other Final, where KesselsKramer organised a football match between the two lowest-ranked teams in the world. Played on the same day as the 2002 World Cup Final, the match became a considerable event for both countries, something Kessels took obvious pride in, speaking passionately about the teams, as if he had coached them himself.

There was a lot of ground to cover and at times it felt like their were vital parts of stories missing, however, what made this lecture different was that the audience felt part of it: it was about understanding Erik and not his work. Which you came to realise are one and the same. How connections were made, how ideas were formed, how it all worked out, how it never happened, and why the cow finally stood still...the mood music, apparently, makes all the difference.

Amber Smith is one of the organisers of the Leeds Print Festival. For details of future D&AD North events, go here.


CR for the iPad
Read in-depth features and analysis plus exclusive iPad-only content in the Creative Review iPad App. Longer, more in-depth features than we run on the blog, portfolios of great, full-screen images and hi-res video. If the blog is about news, comment and debate, the iPad is about inspiration, viewing and reading. As well as providing exclusive, iPad-only content, the app will also update with new content throughout each month. Try a free sample issue here


Stand-up poet and creator of the Poetry Takeaway, Tim Clare’s Bookshelf

Posted: April 22nd, 2012 | Author: Bryony Quinn | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Tim-blare-list

Like all good purveyors of fast (soul)food should, the Poetry Takeaway serves up made-to-order and digestible poems to the “hungry yet discerning literary consumer.” Among its rotating kitchen of poetry chefs is creator Tim Clare, a writer and stand-up poet who can be seen on his bio page comparing head-size to a ukulele which we must assume he also plays. Tim will be found touring in the next few months with his How To Be A Leader show – and so will the Poetry Takeaway! – but right now, we welcome him to our Bookshelf slot…

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25 Quotables from the 99% Conference

Posted: April 22nd, 2012 | Author: The 99 Percent | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off
Pithy wisdom on putting ideas into action from Jack Dorsey, John Maeda, Seth Godin, Jill Greenberg, and many more.