Wednesday, 12:16pm
17 September 2008

Ahead of the deluge

Refreshed, reshaped and more reflective, Icon moves with the times

Icon, the London-based architecture and design title labels its October edition ‘the redesign issue’,

writes Simon Esterson.

If it seems more of an intelligent consolidation than a revolution this isn’t surprising given that the work’s been done by original art director Violetta Boxill (of Alexander Boxill) and that the magazine’s multi-award winning design sprang into life five years ago pretty much perfectly formed for its times.

Above: cover star Nicolas Roope, Boxill’s husband, is drenched in fake oil (cornflour and poster paint). Below: spreads from October 2008 issue, no. 64.

The original trim size was big, like that of many architecture titles. Now it’s a little smaller, but with a 258-page issue to coincide with the London Design Festival the spine width impresses more than page size. The smaller page hasn’t changed the magazine’s trademark style of staggered text boxes cutting into photographs and lots of single pages to cope with all those adverts.

The typography’s been refreshed with bold sans serif headlines and smart serif text, but the spirit of big images, collaged pages and smartly commissioned portraits with a real sense of art direction remains the same.

It’s editorially that one senses the changes. Under editor Justin McGuirk, perhaps sensing our credit-crunched days, we get less hyperbole and parties, more writing and a sense of reflection.

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.