• Frieze

    frieze front cover (detail)

Graphic Design

We talk about frieze's first redesign since 2007 with art director Sonya Dyakova

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Any magazine that undergoes a redesign will attract some attention, and if that magazine is one of the leading contemporary arts publications in the UK then the scrutiny will be all the more intense. This week the new frieze dropped through our letterbox and we were able to see how its first redesign since 2007 had played out. With the New York Frieze art fair taking place next week, it’s the perfect time for the magazine to reposition itself in line with its new global reputation and art director Sonya Dyakova knew how important it was to evolve along with the rest of the organisation. We spoke to her to get the inside track on the how and why Frieze settled on its new look…

Hi Sonya, what was the main thing you wanted to achieve with this redesign?

I wanted to project the Frieze personality  — authoritative, confident, on the pulse — by creating something that was contemporary, instead of trendy. I wanted to create something intelligent — a design that can evolve with time and last. Setting up design principles and a typographic palette rather than a rigid system is what I’m striving for.

To put it crudely, I wanted for the magazine to be ‘hot’ in the grown-up way.

  • Fr12

    frieze content pages

  • Fr11

    frieze front pages

  • Fr13

    frieze picture piece

Can you talk us through what you consider to be the key features of the new design are and the thinking behind them?

—A multi-faceted typographic voice to create a more free, flexible typographic palette that would allow for a more expressive and more adventurous opening pages and headlines – type that would respond to image and the feel of the subject matter. Whilst keeping basic ground rules very traditional, I abandoned the idea that there has to be only one or two typefaces in order to communicate in a sound and clear way. This helped me create a more dynamic pace in the magazine, to keep things fresh.

— More commissioned photography and illustration (i.e. we commissioned Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin to take a portrait of Frank Bowling)

-The magazine features great artist projects, but I felt they were getting rather lost. To give them their own identity and define their presence in the magazine, I have proposed to print it as a smaller size insert — ‘a small book within a magazine’. Printed on uncoated paper it’s a lovely thing to discover amongst the main features.

—  Tactile Quality
The Reviews section is now printed on uncoated stock which makes it much easier to find and separates it from the articles. It adds a tactile dimension — in the digital age I crave to feel textures and surfaces. The cover features a foil, Yves Klein blue, a colour you cannot achieve with four colour printing process.

“In the digital age I crave to feel textures and surfaces.”

Sonya Dyakova

How will you measure the response and how nervous/excited are you to see the reaction?

I suppose the only way to measure a response is through sales/subscriptions/interest in the magazine. I’m very excited, but also already not letting myself off the hook – thinking I need to push it further and not relax too much.
I’m not so nervous (well may be a little) only because my instinct has almost never failed me. And this time I feel happy with what I have done, so I trust this feeling.

It’s obviously a tough time for print at the moment, how important is great design in this climate?

Great design is important regardless of the times. Does this sound naive? I really mean it. 

  • Fr18

    frieze Frank Bowling interview

  • Fr1

    frieze reviews section

  • Fr2

    frieze reviews section

  • Fr9

    frieze music section

  • Fr10

    frieze books section

  • Fr6

    frieze Mora Davey Artist Project

  • Fr7

    frieze Mora Davey Artist Project

  • Fr8

    frieze Mora Davey Artist Project

  • Fr3

    frieze sculpture survey

  • Frsc

    frieze sculpture survey

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Graphic Design View Archive

  1. List-muir-mcneil-its-nice-that-muir-mcneil-its-nice-that-lcc_type_design_1200

    It’s Summer Shows-time again, and so we’re bracing ourselves for another slew of smart identity projects to go with them. Today, we present to you the work of MuirMcNeil, which has created the identity for the show at London College of Communication, where the duo teach. MuirMcNeil is comprised of Hamish Muir, lead tutor of BA Graphic and Media Design and Paul McNeil, course leader for MA Contemporary Typographic Media. Naturally, it’s a very typographic identity, and “confronts traditional letterform” according to LCC.

  2. Tomaslaar-itsnicethat-main

    Nice body of work here from Dutch design student Tomas Laar, who has a pleasing understanding of typography and the fun there is to be had in publication design. Even though he’s still studying he’s been very busy immersing himself in the design world, taking part in Hort’s raucous After School Club and a number of different group shows and workshops. What I like about his work is that he’s not afraid to mess around a bit, and the more professional journals he’s put together and professionally bound are contrasted by mini-projects that see him making posters in homage to designers he admires and pasting them up on walls around The Hague. Even his typography is light-hearted, and shows how unafraid he is to get stuck in with different materials and processes in order to get the best result. He’s also got an absolute ripper of a blog.

  3. Spd-newyork-itsnicethat-list2

    Call me a massive magazine nerd if you must but I really enjoy the conversation about what makes a great cover. Is there a science to it as Tyler Brûlé maintains? Does it have to be meticulously planned or can it be the simple execution of gut instinct? Where is that fine line between bold and daring on the one hand, and obtuse and gimmicky on the other? Anyway yesterday two “best cover” shortlists were unveiled which gives us a glimpse into what two leading industry bodies think (The Society of Publication Designers and The Professional Publishers Association).

  4. Flatland-itsnicethat-list

    “We hear a lot about the death of print and the dominance of digital,” begins Epilogue’s Kickstarter pitch video for a new version of Edwin Abbott’s Flatland, “but it’s having access to either that makes this an exciting time. The challenge is, how do you make something that is interesting and meaningful with both?”

  5. Jaimezuverza-itsnicethat-main

    If you ever want to read a truly inspiring interview with one of the coolest designers out there, look no further than this one with Jaime Zuverza we ran on the site back in 2013. In it Jaime said: “Lately I have been inspired by the strange things the body and mind create. I think those things must be welcomed in a friendly manner. The body produces blood, tears, boogers, vomit, caca, gas, wax, urine, spit, odours, etc. The mind produces dreams, hallucinations, delusions, paranoid associations, psychic vibes, phobias, visions. All of these things are usually kept hidden but they play a big part in people’s daily lives.”

  6. Stosh-itsnicethat-list-2

    Stosh is the leading case in my new argument (actually my only case, but that’s neither here nor there) that all studios formed of two or more people should be named by combining those two names together. Freelance graphic designers Stephanie Cuérel and Josh Schaub (Stosh!) have been collaborating since 2010 and judging by their website – a trichotomy of bold design made by one, the other or both of them, with the odd GIF thrown in for good measure – it was a good decision.

  7. New-dps-itsnicethat-list

    It probably won’t be of much interest to you, but I wrote my dissertation on the intersection between digital platforms and physical publishing and the interesting ways people are finding to merge the two. For me it was fascinating, for some of you it’s probably exceptionally tedious. But for those of you with a similarly perverse interest in these curiously anachronistic forms of publishing there’s an interesting online archive that brings them all together. P-DPA (the Post-Digital Publishing Archive) is an impressive resource created by Silvio Lorusso dedicated to documenting projects at the forefront of modern publishing. It’s far from comprehensive, but the user-generated archive offers up some exciting examples of progressive publishing. I could go on, but I’ve probably already bored some of you to tears.

  8. Spin-itsnicethatlistfull_screen_simon_pengelly_2

    When graphic designers take on furniture designers, their broadening solutions can sometimes feel formulaic – all wholesome browns and chatter about “craft.” That’s why it’s so refreshing to see Spin’s work for British furniture designer Simon Pengelly. “The idea for Simon’s identity came from a visit to his workshop and noticing the lovely graphic stripes on the edge of the plywood used on one of his chairs,” says Spin. “The various iterations of the marque reflect different thicknesses.” Despite the fact, as Spin puts, it, Simon’s design approach “brings together a blend of organic minimalism and a distinctive feel for natural materials,” the identity focusses on the minimalism and shuns the organic, taking on a bold, direct and a very brave aesthetic.

  9. Anagrama-itsnicethat-list

    Mexican design studio Anagrama has turned its focus to one of its own this time around, creating a solid brand identity and new interior for a “cantina” called Botanero Moritas. Anagrama had the restaurant’s rich brand history – stretching all the way back to 1939 – to wrangle with, and chose to channel as much of its tradition and history into the new identity as possible while still striking a chord with contemporary branding. It went with a simple, bold logo on dark grainy backgrounds for much of the printed collateral including business cards, postcards and packaging, employing a rainbow foil to jazz it up where necessary, while the variety of typefaces used on menus and signage hints at the diversity of old and new references.

  10. Wife_web_backdrme-itsnicethat.list

    It’s always such a joy when great music and great graphics combine, as we explored recently in our Art + Music series. So when we found out that Manchester agency DR.ME was behind the sleeves for one of our all-time favourite record labels, Tri Angle, it was a happy day indeed. “Happy,” however, is perhaps not so apt for describing the sleeves themselves – or indeed the music of Tri Angle’s roster – characterised by a dark, brooding, experimental sound. Some dub it witch house, others drag, but by any name, it’s downright weird and often rather brilliant. But enough gushing about these strange, cracked-out sounds, let’s talk about the sleeves.

  11. Graphilately-itsnicethat-list

    For some years now stamp collecting has been relegated from the status of a widespread and admirable pastime to a somewhat nerdy pursuit, and this is a perception that Blair Thomson, creative director of design studio Believe In, is keen to shake off. Having had a passion for stamps instilled in him at a young age, Blair is the designer behind Graphilately, an Instagram account dedicated to his own beautifully curated, and very well photographed collection, which celebrates stamps as a form of graphic art in their own right.

  12. Anna-kulachek-itsnicethat-list-2

    The very best graphic identities, as designer Anna Kulachek would attest, take on a life of their own. The Moscow-based creative has been working on identities for the Prague School of Design since 2012, and they’ve since grown into an evolving body which grows and reforms with each new brief. “In the beginning it was built on the illustrations of the city,” Anna explains, “because one of the points in the brief was to show what’s happening in Prague. So I decided to draw the school in simple shapes.”

  13. Chris-van-niekerk-itsnicethat-listfine_furniture_1

    Chris van Niekerk’s designs are direct, accomplished and considered, but what makes them extra intriguing are the process stories behind each. Take his special edition vinyl sleeves for Cheap Thrills. They look good enough – all dingy, limited palettes and dynamic type – but he explains that the imagery was created by sampling the sound waves from side A of each vinyl, and visualising them, which is pretty cool. The project that really caught our eye, not least because of how well shot it is, is Chris’ branding for bespoke furniture maker Jake Coleman, which takes a fresh look that’s true to its product, using a puzzle piece inspired by dovetails as the centre of the identity. To show the versatility of this kid, we’ve also included the designs for an Aperture publication, marking 60 years of the photography foundation, which looks very slick indeed.