Project: New graphic concept for “22” magazine
Time frame: March-May 2009
„22” Magazine is the first independent post-December weekly publication, whose first issue was published on January 20th, 1990. Its name makes direct reference to 22nd of December, 1989, which was a critical date for the change of the political regime in Romania. The magazine is known as the best weekly political culture publication in our country.
Client: The Group for Social Dialogue, publisher of „22” Magazine
Grupul pentru Dialog Social (The Group for Social Dialogue) was established at the end of December 1989 as a non-governmental association formed of dissidents and intellectuals, uncompromised during the Ceausescu regime. Its principles – pro-occidental orientation, support for democratic institutions and values, for the market economy, minority support, critical attitude towards the side-slips of the authorities – are promoted in the magazine, whose political and economic analysis has been monitoring history from ’89 up to the present.
After almost 20 years and 1,000 issues, the publisher has decided to change the magazine's look, under the slogan “I have changed you, it is now my turn to change”. The decision has been made in order to adjust the magazine to the current needs of the readers.
Along the years, the “22” magazine has kept its initial graphics, which had been conceived as imposed by the type setters in the old printing companies. Iulian Puiu, Creative Director at Re:ply, was requested by the magazine's publishers, in March 2009, to create a new graphic concept. He proposed an updated concept, adjusted to the new printing instruments and to the lifestyle of nowadays readers, whose reading habits have changed a lot compared to the ones of two decades ago.
This is why Iulian has rethought the graphics of the magazine in such a way as to make it more friendly and accessible. White areas were introduced to facilitate direction-finding and give the public some breathing space within long articles. Also, white areas alongside with various graphic elements create a hierarchy of materials. Thus, the reader is guided through the pages of the magazine and reads the articles in the order suggested by the publisher. A new element introduced by Iulian is the use of a graphic sign – two slashes – at the end of each article. This was needed in order to very clearly indicate where the texts end, given the fact that the materials published in the magazine are usually quite large and may continue on more than one page. The sign is inspired by the name and its repetitive nature.
Another important element introduced by Iulian is the pace. The magazine didn’t pay attention to the rhythm before, or to the article differentiation as regards tone and priority. He set the magazine’s current pace, the number of columns in an article and, in the same time, set the column styles for each and every section. Substantial articles, which are published in the middle sections of the magazine, are organized in 3 columns, and those in the sections at the beginning and the end include 5 or 4 columns, to increase the rhythm and create a higher reading speed. Thus, when they get to the heavy articles, with a decreasing number of columns, the reader knows they are looking at a material they need to give maximum importance to.
Where fonts are concerned, Iulian has changed the old Helvetica, a rather dry and meaningless font, to Leitura, a font which is more suitable to the new magazine graphics. Alternating serifs with sans serifs helps better define the main articles. Also, he has introduced the outsized initial letters at the beginning of paragraphs in large articles, in order to allow the reader to rest their eyes in the pages with no titles or with small visuals.
For reasons related to the possibility of getting high quality printing under the publisher’s current working conditions, Iulian chose to change “22” into a black and white magazine. Where the logo is concerned, the dark shadow that was used for years in front of the two letters of the magazine name was dropped in favor of a solid, 3D treated „22””.
Re:ply’s Creative Director has monitored the way the new graphic concept of the magazine was implemented during the first three issues after the magazine was redrawn.
„Iulian Puiu has been more than an Art Director, he has been a partner for discussion who understood the need to renew the magazine, as well as its spirit. Which we have managed to keep in the new graphic formula, as well. Eventually, Iulian Puiu has become one of the magazine’s friends, on whose collaboration we are counting on in the future”.
Andreea Pora, Deputy Chief Editor, “22” Magazine
On May 12th 2009, “22” magazine celebrated 20 years of existence and 1001 issues, while this edition was published in the new graphic formula. It was an exceptional event, which gathered together politicians, intellectuals, opinion leaders, representatives of the civil society etc. From Horia-Roman Patapievici, Gabriel Liiceanu and Ana Blandiana to Traian Basescu, Emil Constantinescu and Emil Boc, the ones present talked about the role of the “22” magazine in building the Romanian civil society after 1989.
“In the intellectual landscape after 1989, “22” magazine has been the first example of publication that approached its political commitment as an integral civic commitment. The first component of the politics was, in its view, civism. More than a political ideology, it has been trying to illustrate a particular concept of decent society. (…). “22”” magazine has set the tone and the standards of the intellectual critic discourse after 1989”.
Horia-Roman Patapievici, “22””, 1001 issues, in Evenimentul Zilei, Thursday May 14th
“22 magazine has been the first successful attempt of conducting a different kind of press in post-December Romania. The publication has chosen the side of intelligence, free opinion and proper usage of the Romanian language. The miraculous thing is that it has managed to survive without betraying its program and without getting support from any interested “mogul” or institution. And it is this survival that is, in a way, the great performance of the editorial staff – its discreet, but effective heroism.”
“This figure (22), beautiful in itself for its numeric and sound repetition, historical figure for some, magical for others, signifies merely the day when many of us finally worked up the courage, after so many years of humiliating servitude, to overcome the fear and explode chaotically and revolutionary in front of the tyrant couple and a regime that was profoundly harmful, crushing and destructive for the human essence”.
“Born as a result of the fortunate encounter of some complementary talents and from the stubborn will to stay independent, so as to speak freely, “22” has constantly sustained principles, and not people (...). We have managed to be “a critical court of reality”, as we indicated in the first cover article, standing, each time, by those who militated for the dislocation of exclusive thinking. From the rebellions of the miners to joining NATO and then the EU, there have been a lot of unexpected events, ups and downs, which have, at times, exceeded our evaluation capacity, however the attitude expressed by “22” has always been of good-will and firm conviction that it is in the service of the public well being.”
Rodica Palade, Editor in Chief, anniversary cover article
Number of pages: 16-24
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