• 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. Fantastic-man-list

    Fantastic Man magazine has been redesigned, as shown in its teaser image of its tenth anniversary issue. The magazine’s new issue cover star JW Anderson has shown the new cover on Instagram, which reveals a new design seeing the masthead run vertically and horizontally, instead of its previous preluder horizontal configuration. The cover image also runs to both sides, moving away from its previous white-edged format. We’re excited to see what changes might have been made to the inside of the mag…

  2. Dwp-bikestock-int-list

    This morning I had a puncture that I couldn’t fix and had to get the train to work, so it feels timely to be writing about Bikestock, a vending machine of cycling essentials that can be found all over New York and Boston. The concept is a simple one; inner tubes, spanners, tyre levers tyres and any number of other little bits and pieces that make your wheels turn smoothly are boshed into a vending machine so you can grab them on the go and, more importantly, at any time of day!

  3. List

    Joost Bos is a recent graduate from the Academie Minerva Groningen in The Netherlands where he’s spent three years studying for his bachelor’s degree. Like many of his Dutch counterparts he’s a dab hand with typography both traditional and experimental and has a plethora of printed pieces in his portfolio. This one, Sequence 1, is an exhibition catalogue for a show of artist books at Joost’s alma mater, which perfectly demonstrates his design sensibilities. Immaculately set type is interspersed with hand-drawn elements and bright colours bring intrigue to an otherwise monochrome publication. Like what you’re seeing? He’s available for freelance work right now!

  4. Sam-coldy-penguin-int-list

    Is it just me or is Penguin killing it at the moment? The publishing house only recently celebrated its 80th birthday by launching a range of its classic titles for 80p each, accompanied by a slick website and a poster campaign which has reached even the furthest corners of London’s transport system. And right now, they’re in the midst of a new campaign called On the Page which celebrates women authors and characters in literary masterpieces.

  5. Karansingh-mop-int-list

    The glorious coming together of pattern, shape and colour makes for a joyous experience and that’s why print designers are held in such high regard. Last week we commissioned Animade to turn three eye-poppingly good Pucci x Orlebar Brown patterns into trippy GIFs, this week we’re turning our attention to profiling creatives we believe are among the best around when it comes to working in this area. We are proud to present these #mastersofprint.

  6. Gerard-marin-int-list

    There’s something of a trend going around at the moment for identities using 3D logo-marks, and with this one by Gerard Marin we can see why. Barcelona-based designer Gerard developed the branding, stationery and corporate materials for interior designer and visual merchandiser Neus Ortiz. Recognisability and malleability were at the forefront of his mind for this project, and the flexible “N,” which changes according to its application, prove a neat solution to both. His is an unfussy aesthetic which lends itself perfectly to branding projects – here’s hoping more make their way to him very soon.

  7. Nike-logo

    There’s a moment in this film where Michael Bierut comes over all Hayley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense as he declares: “ I can see things in typefaces that normal people can’t.” It’s part of his discussion about how “design can be a lonely thing” and that as you immerse yourself in that world “you’re actually making yourself less normal than regular people.” Filmed at Design Indaba in South Africa last month, this interesting short film moves onto to look at logos and why designers are so interested in them. Using famous examples like the Nike swoosh and the Target, um, target, Michael explains his theory that we’re drawn to them because they’re primitive and yet we invest them with so much meaning. “A lot of what we see when we’re looking at the logo isn’t really happening in the logo; it happens in our own mind,” he explains.

  8. Emilyoberman-snl-int-hero

    One of the undoubted highlights of this year’s Design Indaba conference in Cape Town was hearing Pentagram partner Emily Oberman detail her long-running work on Saturday Night Live. Emily has worked with the programme for 20 years, creating three separate versions of its identity, various title sequences and even spoof adverts to run in the breaks (like this). Now Emily has teamed up with writer Alison Castle to produce Saturday Night Live: The Book, a 500-page paean to the show which coincides with its 40th anniversary this autumn.

  9. Studio-lin-stampa-int-list

    Sometimes a dead simple idea is all you need to create something really striking. In the case of Studio Lin’s branding of Stampa that simple idea was a rolled up poster. Stampa specialise in limited edition prints produced by some of the best illustrators around – shipped direct to your door. How do they do this? By rolling them up in a poster tube. So what does their logo look like? A pair of rolled-up prints joined at their edges to form an S. Studio Lin also commissioned an entire custom typeface for the brand, but for me it’s that swirling blue S that hits the nail on the head every time. Simple!

  10. Ines-cox-int-list

    Scrolling through what feels like an endless array of projects, it’s difficult to believe that Ines Cox only founded her studio last year. Since parting ways with former partner Lauren Grusenmeyer, co-founder of five-year endeavour Cox & Grusenmeyer, Ines has branched out on her own to establish an eponymous practice based in Antwerp. While she still includes much of her old work with Lauren in her portfolio, her new work demonstrates an exciting and playful approach to typography and innovative poster design.

  11. Dot-dash-flatpack-int-list

    Film festivals and great graphic design go together like Powell and Pressburger; as proven by the identity for Iceland’s Stockfish Film Festival, and Dot Dash’s designs for Flatpack Film Festival in Birmingham.

  12. Two-int-list

    Italian studio Think Work Observe designed a pricelist for furniture design company Tacchini and it’s made an already delectable furniture collection even more appealing. Its use of close to fifty shades of grey and austere, considered layout of sofas and chairs gives the publication a lifespan and potential audience you wouldn’t otherwise expect for a brand’s pricelist. Every technical detail in Tacchini’s collection is covered and all on lovely Fedrigoni papers.

  13. Gaggero-ra-annual-report-int-list

    Proving that annual reports don’t have to be painfully dull, here’s a great example of a fab design studio working with a fab client to get all those tricky numbers and things down in a visually engaging, clear and rather beautiful way. Said client is the Royal Academy, and said studio is Gaggero Works, which created the designs around the concept that “the RA is a place where art happens; a place where art is made, exhibited and debated.” The report is split into two books, Accounts and Report, bound together using a bright yellow belly band which adds a much needed line of playfulness under the rather heavy-going subject matter.