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Amazing little magazine
December 10, 2004 8:12 AM   Subscribe

This tiny (24 pages or less!) magazine is the best graphic design pub around, even at six bucks a pop. I’m not a designer, but I’ve picked up enough from this that people think I am. And for you cheapskates, they’ve just done a $16 book with the best stuff from all the issues. Their site also has an interesting analysis of the Bush and Kerry logos, showing why one (guess which?) had serious flaws.
posted by escorter (49 comments total)

 
My advice to you, escorter, for what it's worth, is to turn off your computer right now. Whatever's about to happen here, it's almost certainly not going to be pleasant.
posted by veedubya at 8:21 AM on December 10, 2004


*hugging knees, rocking in corner with hands over ears*
posted by glenwood at 8:22 AM on December 10, 2004


...uh, why? This isn't a self promo. I'm not a Bush guy. It's a little-known pub that I have subscribed to for years, and it is genuinely interesting and useful. Ands I don't have an Amazon account where I get a kick-back, I just listed them becuase they're cheaper than buying from the publisher.....
posted by escorter at 8:29 AM on December 10, 2004


This tube of toothpaste is the best toothpaste around, even at a buck a pop. I'm not a dentist, but with my whiter than white teeth, people think I am.
posted by veedubya at 8:33 AM on December 10, 2004


I suppose it's not a great post, but the logo analysis was an interesting read. I thought it was on-point.
posted by driveler at 8:34 AM on December 10, 2004


veedubya, unless I'm unaware of a right-wing design mafia that patrols Metafilter, I don't see what the problem is here. escorter, thanks for the link - it's interesting stuff, especially the Bush vs. Kerry logo analysis.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:36 AM on December 10, 2004


Dr. Wu, it's an advertisement. You don't even have to click the link to know the price.

The problem, as I see it, is that this sort of thing is frowned upon by those that were here before us. Let's not give the big kids an excuse to throw rocks us. Personally, I can avert my eyes and move on, but there are folks around here that are just looking to blame us 'n00bs' for the demise of all things good about MeFi.

That's my take, anyway. If I'm wrong, it wouldn't be the first time.
posted by veedubya at 8:41 AM on December 10, 2004


It is not an advertisement, it is a personal recommendation from this Ohioan who has not the slightest connection to this magazine other than being a subscriber. And well, veedubya, in fact you do sound like a dentist, and so you probably aren't interested in design. But lots of people, including me (an engineer) are. And if you haven't noticed, a magazine that's 16 or 24 pages is quite unusual--one might even say newsworthy--and for it to exist at all (the issues have no advertising ) must mean the content is unusually good. I thought the Bush/Kerry logo thing was interesting enough, but thought I'd also post the details on the mag, since I am a fan. No apologies here, sorry, try again next time.
posted by escorter at 8:44 AM on December 10, 2004


Yeah, the magazine might be nice.

But their website sucks.

Heck, this page doesn't even render correctly.
posted by linux at 8:49 AM on December 10, 2004


Well, apologies if I caused offence, escorter. I don't have an axe to grind (at least not about this), so I'll bow out now, having said my piece.
posted by veedubya at 8:50 AM on December 10, 2004


I thought it was a neat read.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 8:52 AM on December 10, 2004


For future reference, a post about design merits of presidential logos is interesting. A post about an irresistable deal on a magazine subscription isn't.
posted by coelecanth at 8:56 AM on December 10, 2004


escorter: Thank you for sharing. I had not heard of this magazine before and I found it interesting. I come to Metafilter to be exposed to new and interesting things. This is one of them.

veedubya, glenwood: Yikes. Do you see any "big kids throwing rocks" here? Relax.
posted by evoo at 8:57 AM on December 10, 2004


its a friday morning. the big kids are all drunk.

I do think that the logo for bush was much stronger, and i agree with the explanation listed in that post. The book looks like a much better value than a small, expensive magazine....and it will go on my wishlist.

coelecanth, exactly.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:06 AM on December 10, 2004


escorter, i haven't clicked on the link yet, but veedubya is aligned with my initial sentiments after reading your fpp.

This wording "This tiny (24 pages or less!) magazine is the best graphic design pub around, even at six bucks a pop", and even your title "Amazing little magazine" is very Ron Popeil-esque. It feels like you're overtly pandering solicitation. Your fpp is tenuous because your description sounds like a telemarketer is trying to foist an unsung product.

Try to be more subtle next time. No one on mefi enjoys feeling like a guinea-pig consort of viable, potential customers, which is what you have accomplished in your wording.
posted by naxosaxur at 9:07 AM on December 10, 2004


I love the analysis of the bumperstickers but it would have been better to compare it with the other Kerry/Edwards sticker that didn't suck as much. Team Bush did a decent job of keeping its bumperstickers consistent throughout the campaign, where Kerry has about 1,000 different designs.

[aside: Do you people see cars that have a black square decal with a W and in smaller letters THE PRESIDENT, or is that just a Texas thing?]

[and thanks for the link to the magazine, the wording may have been a little too Pepsi Blue, but I hadn't heard of it before.]
posted by birdherder at 9:13 AM on December 10, 2004


The Bush/Kerry logo analysis is pretty cool. Thanks for linking to it!

Am I a big kid? Here's how I would have done it:
Bush won the logo contest over a weaker Kerry, according to the excellent Before&After (who just put out a best-of book).

posted by me3dia at 9:13 AM on December 10, 2004


They may be good at graphic design, but it seems they could really use a good editor here. Reading this article about designing logos with connected letters, I found that by the third page or so, I couldn't help but hear the words in the voice of Beverly Gelfand, between the overuse of exclamation points and the super-short paragraphs.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:27 AM on December 10, 2004


Thanks for the link. I did enjoy reading the Bush vs. Kerry logo analysis, because I was thinking the same things they did when I first saw their logo.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:29 AM on December 10, 2004


It's cool that B&A is still around. I remember reading them 10 years ago. The only problem with the magazine was that after every issue, our art director would go hog wild with one of the techniques in it. I remember after the B&A that showed how to make convincing water drops in Illustrator, the next issue of our newsletter had a school crossing sign on the cover that had so many water drops on it, it looked like it had the chicken pox, or was bubbling up from a nearby nuclear strike, or something. I did learn a lot about design from their newsletter makeovers, though.
posted by kindall at 9:29 AM on December 10, 2004


[birdherder: I haven't noticed any of the black, square 'W' stickers up here in Chicago, but there are a number of white, oval 'W' stickers in the style of the European country code decals for cars.]
posted by mathis23 at 9:33 AM on December 10, 2004


Naxosaxur: please do not presume to speak on behalf of the rest of us.
posted by St.Pudalia at 9:34 AM on December 10, 2004


I don't care if people buy the thing or not, but I do agree that this is one of the better "how-to" design pubs around. This post reminded me to renew my subscription, and alerted me to the best-of collection. So thanks, escorter.
posted by Dean King at 9:53 AM on December 10, 2004


I think it's cool. Thanks.
posted by xammerboy at 10:07 AM on December 10, 2004


St.Pudalia: I'm incredulous that you choose to lambaste me with your inane criticism, when within this very thread, veedubya, glenwood, coelecasnth, and th3ph17 all share my same opinion - just not as verbose. Your selective sassiness is transparent, just like your comment.
posted by naxosaxur at 10:32 AM on December 10, 2004


Some people seem to have an issue with this post, but I'm not among them. Like others have stated, I found the logo comparison very interesting, and wouldn't have known about this magazine if you hadn't posted. Thanks.

Don't let all the nit-picking get to you; Just use it to get a feel for how to do things in the future. Don't let that stop you from posting links to things like this either. Some of us find them useful.

Well, I do at least *grins*
posted by Stunt at 10:41 AM on December 10, 2004


birdherder: I've seen some of the black/white "W: The President" swag, mostly when I was in the south, though. When I first saw the hat, I thought it was a W Hotel employee.

What Do I Know had a post about the design and campaign branding of this specific "collection" (the link to the Bush store is dead now - this page works, though).

At the top of the Bush store page, they have the different product lines - like "The W Collection" and "Farm Ranch". The "Kid Gear" section is kind of creepy. Kerry's stuff didn't have these different collections like Bush did.
posted by milkrate at 10:45 AM on December 10, 2004


*praise for the logo link*

*agreement on FPP wording critique*

*self-effacing comic outro*
posted by petebest at 11:14 AM on December 10, 2004


veedubya and glenwood as always if you don't like the post move along. Also a little hyprocritical coming from the poster of the Keyhole 7 day free trial post me thinks.

This was a decent post, and the logo thing was cool, enough with the high and mighty act.

good night
posted by zeoslap at 11:24 AM on December 10, 2004


Excellent link escorter - the Bush/Kerry design analysis was (as said by others) very interesting.
posted by SpaceCadet at 11:40 AM on December 10, 2004


My advice to you, escorter, for what it's worth, is to turn off your computer right now. Whatever's about to happen here, it's almost certainly not going to be pleasant.

yeah, it was unpleasant like smelling someone else's fart. The ensuing discussion, that is. Thanks for the self-fulfilling prophecy. As for the BA mag link, thanks for something interesting.
posted by sandmonk at 11:46 AM on December 10, 2004


If you have a problem with the post, take it outside.
posted by euphorb at 11:47 AM on December 10, 2004


I like the two options on the downloads page. Kind of makes me want to see more of those. We're always trying to keep a nice clean design with our creations and it seems like Before & After come from the same ethos. I'm going to check the library today to see if they have any back issues.
posted by Captaintripps at 12:09 PM on December 10, 2004


This is a fine post. Leave him/her alone.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:15 PM on December 10, 2004


Try to be more subtle next time.
Naxosaxur- That line is reason enough to single you out relative to others who criticized the post. On behalf of escorter, I would like to apologize that not everyone here has their prose up to your high standards.

Oh, and escorter.... I found the logo article interesting and didn't bother to click the other link. Don't let the bastards get ya down.
posted by Doohickie at 12:22 PM on December 10, 2004


I don't really see anything wrong with the post either, although the analysis of the Bush and Kerry logos seems to have overlooked one glaring point: The Kerry logo fails so miserably because it has the letters K•E•R•R•Y on it (and yes, I did vote for the guy).

Fortunately, they won't have to change the Bush logo too much when his brother runs in 08'. Weeeeeee!!
posted by j.p. Hung at 12:47 PM on December 10, 2004


1) The brilliant Paula Scher already did that for the New York Times.
2) This article totally discredits the magazine, in my opinion. All pretentious logo-building theories aside, I'm going to safely say that clever ligature in the place of actual communication is a weak approach to the problem.
3) In reference to said article: If you need a guide explaining how to connect letters in clever little manners, you need serious help.
4) "Name the font!" and "Making superhero type!" remind me of games played by my worst, least successful professors. If you want a good graphic design publication, go for How, a business-oriented process mag, or Communication Arts, a Best-Of-The-Best design showcase mag. Some may tell you go look at Print, but some of their stuff seems nostalgic for the late nineties.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 12:51 PM on December 10, 2004


I’m not a designer, but I’ve picked up enough from this that people think I am.

I feel very safe in assuming you don't know any designers because no professional is going to believe it, unless they're just trying to keep from hurting your feelings. A quick peruse proves that Before & After is still what it has been since it started: a design cheat-sheet for non-designers. The "techniques" will start showing up on websites and in departmental publications created by non-designers right about... now. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just don't confuse it with actual periodicals that designers woudl actually read.
posted by JollyWanker at 1:04 PM on December 10, 2004


It's like Critique Magazine (RIP) was resurrected. It's a weakness of many design magazines to show great design and say, "LOOK! GREAT DESIGN". But what of the process, how was this piece arrived at? 80% of design is client communications, what kind of problem is being solved with the piece? Magazines like Comm Arts equate good design with '42', but if you don't know what the question was, the answer is useless.

The Big Crit (Critique's design annual) would take the best 2 winners from each category and have the judges write about why the piece won. Looks like this magazine is doing the kind of case study that made Crit (and Eye too) such a great magazine. Comm Arts is just a coffee table book.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:19 PM on December 10, 2004


This very-long-time MF user enjoyed the link quite a bit, escorter; I am honestly baffled at why people are even the slightest bit annoyed.

(Of course, even had I found myself annoyed, I can't imagine that said annoyance wouldn't have been overwhelmed with my annoyance at the exuberant designer ego that's quickly taken root in the comments...)

Welcome to the dysfunctional little family here at MetaFilterLand.
posted by delfuego at 1:48 PM on December 10, 2004


A quick peruse proves that Before & After is still what it has been since it started: a design cheat-sheet for non-designers.

It is nothing of the sort. It explores and explains good (and bad) design, illustrating with examples. Not many magazines are worth 25 cents a page, but this one is.
posted by centerpunch at 2:20 PM on December 10, 2004


It looks interesting, kind of a Cook's Illustrated for design. Thanks for the link.
posted by cali at 4:49 PM on December 10, 2004


veedubya and glenwood as always if you don't like the post move along.

i wasn't dissing. i'm just plum wore out from all the bickerin'.
posted by glenwood at 6:09 PM on December 10, 2004


I thought the analysis was cool. Appearance is a very important item, more so the subliminal stuff.

Consider the campaigns... Bush was always surrounded by supporters, with full bleachers behind him to further the effect. The scene was always full of Bush people.

Kerry had supporters around him, but when the cameras panned, it would reveal the thinning of the crowd and empty spaces in the distance, or show that the town hall was less than full.

Another appearance item... after the Clinton : Dole race... why was Dole seen so often exiting Air Force One while Clinton was already at a podium? Or back in the distance among Clintons other staff folk?

I enjoy a reference to a good mag (no ads! Woo Hoo!), and why not be enthusiastic about what one enjoys?
posted by buzzman at 6:29 PM on December 10, 2004


You know what -- I don't care if this was a good FPP or not.... but it did remind me that a few years ago, when I first encountered a copy of B&A magazine, I subscribed and sent them a check which they were happy to cash. In return, they sent me three old issues on the same day -- like a year old -- and then nothing again. Ever.

Fuckers.

Oh --- and the NYT had a much better and more in-depth analysis of the Bush/Kerry bumper sticker design back when it actually mattered. Same conclusion.
posted by spilon at 10:25 PM on December 10, 2004


Perhaps if non-designers saw fit to inform themselves about the very basics of design theory and terminology e.g. ligatures by reading publications like this, then designers would have less (justifiable) cause to pull their hair out over idiot clients?

On the other hand, I can imagine a horrible backlash where clients who were once (justifiably) intimidated by their kick-ass designers now felt confident telling them to "Ligature it up a bit."
posted by idontlikewords at 11:50 PM on December 10, 2004


...it did remind me that a few years ago, when I first encountered a copy of B&A magazine, I subscribed and sent them a check which they were happy to cash. In return, they sent me three old issues on the same day -- like a year old -- and then nothing again. Ever.

Spilon, I think several years ago they had some problems, why don't you email them and let us know what happens....
posted by centerpunch at 8:02 AM on December 11, 2004


Buzzman, it's funny you say that because all the Bush fans I know say it was the other way around. Media pushed crowds together in Kerry shots, shot empty parking lots for Bush.

/politicfilter.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 10:02 AM on December 11, 2004


I think several years ago they had some problems, why don't you email them and let us know what happens....

Didn't even have to -- someone from the magazine actually saw my post in this thread and contacted me about it. I thought that was a really stand-up thing for them to do. They apologized, explained what happened, and offered me my money back. I said I'd be happy just to finally get the subscription -- so that's the deal. Yay!
posted by spilon at 8:44 PM on December 13, 2004


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