For this project, we were briefed ‘to produce a proposal for an independent, occasional magazine, about an aspect of visual culture’. The term visual culture was left to our interpretation, allowing us to make a magazine of almost any genre. Our task was not only to come up with the content and brand of the magazine, but to design the first issue as well as the covers for future issues, to show the potential of the magazine to run beyond just one issue. We also had to produce a website and blog based on the magazine, as well as a pitch document, which outlined our design process.
After brainstorming initial ideas for concepts of the magazine, I decided that I wanted to look at endangered animals. Whether you know anything about Zoology or not, everyone is aware of animals such as the Polar Bear and the Giant Panda, whose lives are in peril due to threats of sea level rise and habitat loss. However, there are many other animals, who are even more endangered, which simply do not get the same media attention as they are less classically 'cute' and cuddly.
I therefore wanted to create a magazine that showcased the beauty of these endangered animals, that are more hidden away from public view. I experimented with different names of the magazine such as RedList, as the IUCN Red List lists endangered animals by their risk of extinction, as well as Possibly Extinct?, to highlight the uncertainty around the futures of these animals are they are unknown to the general public. I finally chose Extinct as my final name, as this was shorter and snappier than the alternatives. I wanted to also incorporate the ? to suggest doubt surrounding the survival of these species, as well as allowing me to create an icon which could be instantly recognisable when standing alone.
After designing my masthead, I needed to come up with a tagline. This is something that came to me quite quickly: I wanted to play on the fact that the Giant Panda is one of the most famous endangered animals, which we hear about all the time in the media. I therefore chose: Shining light on the shadow of the panda, playing on the idea that the pandas popularity casts a shadow on other creatures that also need money to help conserve and protect them.
Once I had decided on my concept and branding, I had the task of sourcing articles for my magazine. In order to meet the marking criteria, the magazine at minimum had to contain the prelims, a minimum three articles (including a long article, short article and an interview), listings and reviews. Due to my chosen topic, I felt that things like reviews were less relevant, posing the challenge of finding appropriate content, but this was a good skill to develop which I believe aided the finished design of the magazine.
Making a magazine that had the potential to produce future issues, as well as having a strong online presence and brand was important. The cover design was therefore vital, as they needed to look strong both on the shelf, as well as online. I had decided I wanted to make a quarterly magazine, as the topic would have enough new content to fill 4 issues in a year, as sadly more and more animals are becoming endangered, with new threats emerging all the time. The covers therefore had to reflect the content of the magazine, as well as tie in with previous issues. As my magazine has a strong focus on beautiful images of lesser known creatures, I thought that having one key image per cover would make the most sense. As the images speak for themselves, I wanted the masthead and issue number to frame the images rather than to take centre stage. This also means that these can have the same treatment regardless of the image chosen, to allow for visual consistency across the whole set.
The crafting of the magazine was just as important as the design, as this is what makes it look and feel like a published magazine. I chose perfect binding for its strength and practicality, as well as its suitability for mixing stocks, as I used both glossy and recycled paper in the making of the issue. After cutting each piece out by hand and perfect binding the issue, I had my completed magazine.
This is one of my favourite projects to date, as it incorporated spreads with photography and images, allowed for creative spread design as well as following a grid, and needed a lot of planning, researching and copyediting of articles. It gave me space to produce something based on my interests and explore branding, editorial and web design.
The pitch document (a sample of the total 40pp)