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The Mistakes Issue

By Design

How to ruin your magazine.
Κείμενο 3eige

Welcome to the VICE School of Design. Thanks again for paying on your way in. Today we’ll be talking about design mistakes: mistakes that won’t necessarily get you fired from your cushy job—these are more likely to get you hired, actually—but fuck employment. We are uncompromising idealist designers, people who weep in the presence of a fine 60s screenprint or a perfect hand-drawn circle. You are Jackson Pollock with that mouse, and our dead buddy J.P. wouldn’t settle for no half-assed drip, would he? I think the safest answer is “No, no, he wouldn’t.” So when it’s 6 a.m. and you’re standing, mouse in hand, in front of your 22 inch color-calibrated canvas, tired and struggling for that easy formula to get you to bed before dawn, fight on and remember that you will be held up in a public forum and ridiculed should you take the road more traveled or trick yourself into thinking “nobody’s going to notice.” These are the notorious mistakes made by some who failed our class (but paid).


Mistake #1:
The Slick Tricks
Trying too hard is definitely grounds for a good punching. I know you’re a Futurist and the Internet is a war zone of garooovy homepage one-upsmanship and all but if you are going to resort to the top three easy design fixes (tits, cars, and arrows), don’t combine them all into one big, wicked orgasm of Wal-Mart cool. All the perky nipples in the world aren’t going to make it any less paint-by-numbers. I know, I know, let he who has never sucked cast the first arrow, but it’s safe to say that after about a gajillion people have done something for over seven or eight years, it’s time to… Recommendations: First, apologize to your mother. Then go get some Gothic lettering and stick it on a trucker hat so we can see you coming next time. Mistake #2:
Designing a men’s magazine after a women’s magazine
Nylon is for girls. Nylon for Guys is also for girls. This may sound like an editorial quibble, but it’s the subtleties of design that give things their delightfully gendered persona. What guy likes grrl-punk fontography, an abundance of raw products, and men shot through a “Leo D.” lens that makes them look like mom would totally disapprove (but secretly want him)? Now add Cosmo Girl-esque cover lines like “The Lather Was Hot: A Straight-Razor Survival Story” and “How to Be LL Cool J” and you’ll realize not only that women’s magazines are fucking weird but also that it is you, young designer, who bears the responsibility when magazines suck. Don’t blame the editor—he’s fucking busy. When it’s the night before press and you’re too tired to think of a new design for the cover and grass green is looking usable, may these words haunt you like a codependent goth lover: You have five seconds to prove to that person at the newsstand flipping through the pages that your magazine is worth buying, and if you don’t succeed, your colleagues hate you since you are all soon out of a job. Later! Oh and this is another brutal mistake, upside-down typefaces on a page: To the four adventurous souls who tried to read this, I salute you. Recommendations: If you are this upside down designer, I suggest you put down this free magazine, put on a pot of coffee, and get back to work. Put the lid back on your can of rebellion and turn that fucking text box so we can read it. If you are a budding designer hell-bent on world domination (creator of the next arrow trend), go buy Nylon for Guys now, since it’s about twenty times more valuable as an educational tool than any Photoshop how-to rag. Granted, there’s always a ton of learning to be done on the job, but hopefully this will save you any public humiliation. Class dismissed. 3EIGE
Send your portfolios, zines, show catalogues, and tormented left ears to Dave Girard, 3445 Parc Ave., 3rd floor, Montreal, PQ, H2X 2H6, or e-mail me at Designer/Artist of the month: Kawamoto Yoko (Photorealism rules.)