The Covers of the Century – UK Edition

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A quick heads-up about a cool thing going down on the other side of the pond: The Professional Publishers Association, a UK-based publication organization, is hosting a “Cover of the Century” competition.

The PPA has chosen ten finalists for the competition, including covers from Vogue, Cosmopolitan, MacUser (what?) and TimeOut London.

For us Yankee users, some of these magazine covers might seem odd. (Wait, did I just call magazine readers “users?”)

Still, some of these covers are pretty awesome. From a cover featuring Darth Vader that plays audio of his iconic breathing to a photo of Kate Moss looking casual in the Crown Jewels, you’ll be entertained.

Go visit and cast your vote.

 

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Instagram’s Fetish for Fashion Week

Anybody with any sort of journalism experience knows that mobile, crowdsourced, and pro-am reporting is becoming more important than ever.

But, just like always, nobody talks about how mobile reporting is tossing up the magazine world. This year, mobile proved to be a valuable asset for magazines at one world-renowned and utterly fabulous event: New York Fashion Week.

Fashion Week or NYFW (#NYFW) is singlehandedly the most important event of the year for fashion magazines, especially those based in New York. It happened the week of September 9 this year. For those of you who aren’t aware of Fashion Week, you probably should be: for one week each year, all of the world’s most famous fashion designers come together in New York for a week of runway shows, gorgeous models, self-indulgent parties and rabid-live blogging. The main purpose is to show off all new lines of ultra-expensive clothing, just in time for the new fall season. Everybody shows up, including celebrities, designers and models.

And how.

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It’s so important for magazines that several devoted special issues to Fashion Week, often with several hundred pages. This guy even dropped acid and attended a runway show in the name of journalism (sort of.)

Like I mentioned in a previous post, branding is a deeply important aspect of magazines. In the industry, tight budgets are demanding a tighter grip on the audience, and several magazines have nailed it perfectly with this frickin’-sweet app you might know: Instagram.

By having a constant, intense feed of photos that expand beyond selfies, several magazines turned their Instagram accounts into mobile traffic drivers that reflect the visual style of their own brand. Check out some of these shots:

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Click on any one of those photos and look at how many people have interacted with them.

It’s complete genius. Look at Instagram by the numbers.
-There are 58 photos uploaded every second.
-Instagram gains one new user every second.
-Growth is spiking and hasn’t plateaued.
-Instagram hit 100 million users in two years. It took Twitter and Tumblr five years to get that many.
-Of Instagram users, 53 percent are female. If you ask me, that statistic is way convoluted. I only know like two other guys with a ‘Gramz.

So what better way to hit millions of girls and women who want to attend fashion week than give them a feed straight to their phone? Also, you can interact directly with the designers who obviously have Instagram and a buttload of dedicated followers. It’s a beautiful photographical social media orgy that magazines are definitely enjoying. 

Check out these great feeds from ElleVogue, and Mercedes Benz. Addenum, 10/1: Here’s a story from MPA about publishers and Instagram. 

Plus, being the reporter assigned to “Instagram all of Fashion Week” can’t be so bad, right? After all, you might meet Pharrell. (read: “dream job.”)

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Vanity Fair’s New Logo (Kate Upton is Still Gorgeous)

So when it comes to fashion magazines, reputation is everything. Of the top names in the business, one is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this month: Vanity Fair.

And to celebrate, they really have gone all out.

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Notice something? Anything besides Kate Upton sporting a Monroe-esque hairdo?

After years with their iconic font, Vanity Fair has officially changed their logo – and interestingly enough, they’ve gone in a direction opposite of other industry leaders.

Here’s the old logo:

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And here’s the new:

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See the difference? The new logo is a serif font.

What I’ve noticed recently is a design shift towards sans serif fonts. This may be driven by a number of reasons, from the demand for futuristic fonts for digital publishing to the crackpot argument that sans serifs are easier to read.

Either way, the font is a wise move in my opinion: while iconic, the old Vanity Fair logo was very 80’s-chic, and for a younger reader, it probably invokes images of Francophone-themed winter sports posters hanging in their mother’s bedroom.

At least that’s what it does for me.

But then there’s the cultural standpoint: Fashion Week is coming in hard with vintage pieces, and the trend shows no sign of stopping. The film The Great Gatsby made flapperwear cool again, and Gatsby-themed parties – while horribly, terribly ignorant – are all the rage. Also, all of the other major magazines, like Elle and Vogue, have strong, timeless serif logos.

My only lament about this rework is that I still can’t read Vanity Fair in my student union without being judged.

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Dammit.