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An off-grid format for Surface Magazine
Front-of-book is never easy. It is content-rich with multiple islands of text competing for a rather small sea of page. It must be intuitively flexible, widely adaptable and visually inviting. The trick lies in avoiding the inherent monotony of grids. Tasked with creating a new format for a magazine calling itself “The American Avant Garde”, I knew I could contemn this law of grids and rely instead on pure composition. Instead of fitting the content to the format, I would let the content determine the format for each page. Layouts were constructed around stark abstract forms, often inspired by the content itself, and held together by tonal layers of repeating linear elements. The caveat: the success of each page depended upon a talent for composition but being a monthly with a very talented staff made it all quite natural.