Return to Regular Programming

I haven’t updated the blog for close to two months, and if this is not a kick in the ass to be more regular here, I don’t know what is:

Yes, the blog was shared by the Design in India team on their Facebook page. I found out today – a good week later, but it made my day! And with this post, I hope I will be back with regular programming. There is lots to share, so pardon this slightly disjointed post.

Critique of Magazine Design in India
I recently read an article on magazine design in the November issue of Outlook. Titled, By Accident or Design, the article traces how the design of newspapers and political magazines in India have come to be.

Sadly, however, in most magazines today, graphic design has come to rely on the general Indian approach to all things visual: less is not more, less is just less; in fact, less is too little and more is not enough. Like middle-class drawing rooms, pages are filled with every form of clutter. Photos, cartoons, ads, all swirl around a text caught in a whirlpool of mixed media that screams at the reader: Look at me, aren’t I clever. Images quickly downloaded from photo banks, mutilated and touched up, are cleverly juxtaposed against contrasting—often contradictory—backdrops. The result is an amalgam, without cheer or clarity, leaving everything looking repetitive and ordinary. Political magazines look like displays for party symbols and persona; travel magazines, an excuse for aerial photography; and design journals are catalogues for lighting and furniture. In the absence of ideas, everything looks like everything else.

Even though I briefly worked on the design of a political magazine during an internship two years ago, I realize there is so little I know about the history and evolution of magazine design in India. A more informed discussion about this article can be found here at the Little Design Book.

The Typographical Covers of Seminar Magazine
And speaking of magazine design, reminds me of an exhibition I missed last summer. This was W+K Exp’s exhibition on fifty years of Seminar Magazine in India. Seminar is a unique magazine, each issue of the magazine is about a single topic or subject and the content comprises opinions and thoughts about it. Like the website of the magazine states, There is no editorial, no summing up. What makes the magazine unique design-wise is that its covers are purely typographic. Since its first issue, which was way back in 1959, they have had nothing but type on the cover. Currently, the covers are designed by New Delhi based Akila Seshasayee and her team at Sesh Design. I’m sure Sesh Design make a lot of designers envious because of this monthly opportunity to work with just type; they certainly make me jealous. One can see all their covers since 1999 in the online archive of the magazine.

Here is a preview of what of expect,

You can also view images of the W+K exhibition here.

Upcoming Event: What’s your Type?
And finally, there is a wonderful type-related event happening in Delhi this weekend. If all goes well, I should be making at least one of these three – edible type, letters made from board & card games, and from clothes’ lines and pegs. Hopefully, I’ll have lots of images to share from ‘What’s your Type?‘ here next week!


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