Mastheads – that top third of real estate is king.by Renée Lam on 19/09/2012
Recently, I was conversing with a friend about a new magazine publication they were involved in. The name that they were going to bestow on their venture was currently up for debate. Anyone who has tried to name something – be it a tiny human or perhaps more relatable, their website – knows it is no mean feat. In the end, we both agreed that over time it would be the content rather than the name that would ultimately shape the success and perception of the magazine. In saying this, a rookie publication still needs to fight for attention to even be considered.
When scanning the plethora of shiny covers, the eyes of the reader tend to glaze over with the surplus of choice and it can come simply down to a well designed masthead that captures the hand’s attention.
In spirit of this observation I’ve revisited a couple of publications who’s masthead’s are favorites of mine. They stand as iconic figures among the rest and speak clearly of the era in which they were conceived.
Founded in 1892 | Editor Anna Wintour (American edition)
Typeface: A custom Didot re-cut by Terminal Design
Like the spindly models that inhabit the publication, Vogue’s font has slender pins that threaten to snap under pressure, with beautifully sharp drapery to flatter all the right curves. At first glance this masthead speaks of feminine class and cutting sophistication. It’s arguably simple, which speaks to its elegance but also allows for easy replication.
V. The magazine described as ‘the “younger sibling” publication to the limited-edition quarterly Visionaire’ is known for its forward aesthetic and concentration on popular youth culture. The dynamic nature of its masthead speaks to this spirit of boundary pushing with it literally breaking out of the conventional top page allocation. I particularly love the interaction that commonly occurs between the V and its environment.
Founded in 1967 by Jann Wenner and Ralph J. Gleason. | Managing Editor: Evie Nagy
Typeface: Custom typography by Jim Parkinson
Identified with the hippie counterculture of the time and named after the Muddy Waters song “Rollin’ Stone”, this masthead smokes with an unmistakable ease. You can almost imagine the lick of the “R” like an unfurled rolling paper.
What would be yours?