Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Publication Design"

Standing out on a crowded shelf requires an arsenal of cool design and excellent content!

Visit any newsstand and on the display racks you'll find dozens of magazines, all vying for your attention. Some are bold, some understated and others are classics that we have formed a relationship with over the years. Yet how do you make a magazine stand out from the crowd? The answer is there is no one true factor that ensures a magazine's success, but rather it is a combination of great design, good font choices, excellent content, format and of course an eye-catching cover.


Wooden Toy magazine is a world renowned skate and design magazine, the trademark of which is super slick design mixed with decidedly impressive content by magazine's founders Timba Smits and Chris Meyer. The 'no rules' layout and design of Wooden Toy magazine is largely a credit to art director Smits, a self-confessed typography perfectionist. When he can't find a font to suit a certain page design, he hand draws the type himself, before scanning it into his trusty workhorse, an old Mac G4, and colouring it in Photoshop. The results are striking to say the very least. "We developed a publication with no fixed positions and a dedication to quality design and intricate typography. Each page is treated like a new publication itself," he says. Smits is also quick to point out that Wooden Toy is now in a class of its own. Strictly limited to 5000 copies, making it even more of a collector's item.

Mag's like "Wooden Toy quarterly" ar'nt the typical mag you would pick up doing the grocery shopping, reading it at the register...You know the ones with the fashion, latest recipes and most importantly...gossip of the stars! but what you dont know, or maybe hav'nt ever realised is the continuous repeatition every week, month etc. Each page, templated for each section. Its not creative, not adventurous, not personnalised or artistic, definately graphically layed out perfectly every time. but hey!...you found that little black dress you always wanted or those pair of Sex in the city heels you've been dying to try on, right!

I guess you get the jist of what im trying to say....so i found some other awesome mags worth checking out, like "King Brown" and "Monster Children"


You cannot help but fall in love with King Brown from the moment you remove it from its custom designed brown paper bag. The first things you'll notice, aside from the fact that it is a weighty and wonderful looking magazine, are the added surprises that come with it, usually stickers, confetti or stars, a coaster and other various extras. The magazine itself is beautifully designed and features the work and words of various artists, both local and international. King Brown is what you might call an independent magazine, as it does not have the backing of a big publishing firm behind it and runs on the passion of its staff. The magazines founder, Yok, an artist from Western Australia, started King Brown after seeing his first Lodown magazine. King Brown's content has a focus on art in all of its forms and the featured artists are allocated six pages each in which to showcase their work and tell their stories.


First the name grabs your attention. Then, after flipping through the pages of this beautifully designed magazine, it is easy to understand why it has gained so many compliments from peers and readers alike. The content is varied, but at the end of the day is derived, as co-publisher and art director Campbell Milligan advises, from skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing. You will also find, however, a diverse range of articles on completely unrelated topics, such as the gangs of Papua New Guinea. The readership of Monster Children, which is itself an assorted collective, can range from students through to an architect living in Norway.

I love the way these magazines represent raw artistic talent, freedom to push thier creativity to the limit. No rules!

Wooden Toy mag has its own personal style, each and every detail is unique in itself...page after page, and has a handmade, personal feel towards the reader. Wooden Toy's intriguing articles, layout, illustrations, artistic flair and great sense of humour will have you struggling to put the book down. And to make it that little more personnel...each issue presents you with an official certificate of authenticity......with love.



  1. thats great Katie i love those mags....how good are they aye

  2. I would love to work on something like these magazines myself

  3. yeeeerrrrpppp11111