• 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

    There’s something about the painstaking perfectionism of type design that doesn’t scream fun and frolics, but Commercial Type’s new webfont showcase is ready to prove me wrong.

  2. List

    Lotta Nieminen is one of those graphic designers who is able to creating a lasting impression with her work in spite of it often being incredibly subtle in its approach. In my opinion this goes above and beyond her colour palettes, though they often combine pastel shades with serene muted tones; rather her projects seem to be finished with a kind of nuanced subtlety that resonates long after you first see it.

  3. Main2

    Not much makes us as happy as a brilliant studio churning out spectacular work, but to find out each member is a fantastic designer in their own right is even better. Diogo Potes just got in touch to show us some of his personal work away from his day-to-day collaborative venture, Portuguese design studio Alva Alva. Diogo’s solo work boasts all of the vibrancy, sense of humour and love of hand-drawn elements that Alva Alva has, but also contains a good dollop of personal style. For me, I think his work is strongest when he incorporates photography into his designs – something about choosing off-the-wall shots and enveloping them in rich colours and bold typography is very, very pleasing. Nice work Diogo, keep it up!

  4. List

    Like their counterparts over at Unit Editions, the Viction:ary team has an unerring eye for putting together graphic design books that are a cut above the competition. This stems from their ability to select a theme that is relevant and interesting and (crucially) identify the right creatives to showcase in exploring that subject.

  5. Wadelist

    When showing off a new typeface, most designers opt for the go-to panagram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” On one of the promotional posters for his new font Hardy, Wade Jeffree has plumped for “It’s too easy being a c**t.” In other words, this is a typeface with attitude.

  6. List

    20 years ago in 1994, little known designer Eike König set up his “graphic design playground” Hort, creating a community in the centre of Berlin where creatives could collaborate on ideas and client briefs side by side. Nowadays, the playground is slightly bigger, undertaking work for Nike, The New York Times and Walt Disney among others, but the underlying emphasis on collaboration and experimentation remains exactly the same.

  7. Main

    Political, powerful and poignant (although not always all at the same time), Abram Games’ work earned him a place as one of the 20th Century’s most iconic and influential graphic designers. Notoriously, one of his posters was banned by Churchill in post-war Britain and, although he crafted advertising for the Times, Transport for London and Guinness, his most impactful work was created for noble causes. During the Second World War he designed hundreds of recruitment posters and images discouraging waste, with slogans like “Use Spades, Not Ships” and bold dynamic graphics.

  8. Andrealist

    Sometimes the simplest things can be the hardest to pull off, but that is precisely what Andrea Evangelista’s graphic design achieves with quiet aplomb. I imagine most young creatives would quail at the notion of designing a book titled Trafficking Survivor Care Standards, but Andrea’s work is confident and careful, lending the text the clarity it demands. He lets the content sit in plenty of white space inside its buttercup cover, resisting the temptation to chuck in a bunch of pretty images.

  9. List

    As newspapers change, so the meaning, placement and purpose of their mastheads change too. This archive of Indian newspaper nameplates is therefore a celebration of the beauty and communicative skill that goes into them, and a snapshot of the contemporary news media in the sub-continent – see how the odd editorial email address crops up alongside some pretty historic type treatments. The collection has been compiled by Pooja Saxena, a Bangalore-based type designer who previously worked in Apple’s font team and studied at Reading University’s world-leading Type Design and Graphic Communication school.

  10. List

    Here at It’s Nice That we’re very aware of how often we cover certain creatives on the site, and we constantly make time to search out talented practitioners we don’t know as well as feting the latest work of those we do.

  11. List

    Every year during graduate season we sift our way through an enormous number of grad show identities. It’s arguably one of the trickiest briefs for a young student; creating a comprehensive identity for a showcase of upwards of 100 creatives’ work – all of them with different styles and concerns. Some of what we see is excellent, but many seem to struggle under the pressure of pleasing their peers.

  12. List

    Creating a visual identity to capture an aural experience seems like a near impossible task, let alone when the music is as lustrous and strange as Amy Kohn’s, but Non-Format have succeeded gracefully with their work for her new album PlexiLusso. The USA and Oslo-based team manipulated original photography by Merri Cyr to recreate the ethereal quality of her music, conjuring up a glass-like aesthetic with a hint of abstract surrealism in the form of floating boulders and rippling waves. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is all conceptual nonsense though; they’ve also made an original typeface to mimic the sonorous melodies, using disconnected arcs which resemble the notation of quavers and clefs laid out on the stave, as in sheet music. It’s an oddly alluring combination which creates an impression of Amy’s music before you’ve even pressed play.

  13. List

    Some cracking work here from our friends at Studio Makgill with this beautiful Specials Applied book for our other pals at G . F Smith. The paper company has an unerring knack of working with some of the best design studios around – whether that’s Hamish and his team or the ongoing partnership with Made Thought – and the quality of their promotional material is testament to the importance of creative, collaborative working relationships. This book showcases G . F Smith’s more unusual stocks and through a clever use of cut-outs we’re taken on a journey through a selection of interesting samples.