Some new print ventures are noteworthy for their groundbreaking ideas, taking on previously overlooked niche topics and hoping to attract readers through being the only place to indulge their enthusiasms. But others do something different and embrace big, well-worn themes in imaginative and innovative ways and that’s where the new Computer Arts Collection comes in. Published six times a year these thematic special editions cover graphic design, typography, illustration, branding, photography and advertising in turn featuring new talent, trends, in depth process pieces and studio guest editors. We spoke to CA editor Nick Carson about the new venture…
Hi Nick. Where did the idea for this series come from?
We felt there was a real gap in the market for a premium, collectable title for creative professionals that has both style and substance, and provides genuinely useful insights that can help readers tackle their own client briefs – a resource for the studio bookshelf to be consulted throughout the year, rather than just eye candy to sit on the coffee table in reception.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about launching a new publication in the current climate?
It’s no secret that print circulations are generally in decline across the board, although as a publisher we’ve also seen a clear trend of digital magazine sales increasing exponentially to offset that. Certainly the iPad (and other tablets) have brought exciting opportunities for the publishing sector in general and this is all brilliant news for publishing, but it’s not paved with gold for everyone – a totally new magazine will have to fight just as hard for attention on Apple Newsstand as its does on the high street.
But there are things that digital magazines can’t replicate. The feel, smell and texture of a beautiful paper stock or special finish; the zing of a fifth colour; the ability to display stunning artwork without the constraints of a fixed screen size, and no need to scroll, pinch or zoom; the luxurious experience of sitting back and turning crisp pages; the thud of something substantial dropping through your letterbox that’ll inspire and fascinate you. These are all unique to print, and from our experience at least, they’re all things for which designers in particular have a real passion.
“Although Collection took many of its visual cues from Computer Arts, it still had to look significantly different and more high-end.”
How did you decide on the design route for the collection and what impression do you hope to make on readers with it?
We were keen to develop clearly defined, distinctive internal sections, consistent throughout each issue, to address different editorial angles and reader needs.
Folio is very much treated as a gallery space with large images and minimal text, while the Studio Project, by contrast, has an almost workbook feel to it – with multiple overlapping images to reflect the ‘work in progress’ nature of what is being displayed. The vast majority of the magazine is designed to a seven-column grid, with larger 7mm gutters to give it a more ‘bookish’ feel than the parent brand. Pacing within the magazine is achieved with the use of clearly identifiable section breaks, endpapers and varying image sizes from feature to feature.
Although Collection took many of its visual cues from Computer Arts, it still had to look significantly different and more high-end.
As already discussed, production values are key – from the rough-varnish cover treatment, through to various different paper stocks, fifth colours inside, and various special additions on an issue-by-issue basis, such as the bound-in posters, prints and gatefolds connected with the Studio Project section. We want to be constantly surprising and delighting designers with the choices that we make.