News / Publication

A borderless world is conveyed through design in National Geographic’s Migration issue


National Geographic: Migration issue (August 2019)

National Geographic’s August issue will focus on human migration, and in turn, the graphic design aims to convey the movement of people around the world. Striking, full-bleed photography depicts these people, while the typography of the headlines flows off and on to the page, symbolising a “borderless world”, explains Emmet Smith, the magazine’s creative director.

“We are living in a time when borders fail us. We wanted to reflect that notion in the headlining of our special issue on human migration, having the type move through the pages, rather than obeying traditional rules as to where it can – and can’t – be. It is a signal to our readers that something is changing here.”

The creative team took the subject matter as a basis for shaping the issue’s layout, interlacing their design concept with the human stories at the issue’s heart. This fits within the magazine’s wider redesign, which continues to be refined. “Good editorial design is not just aesthetically pleasing,” Marianne Seregi, design director at National Geographic, states, “it should also convey the mood and meaning of the content. Migration is ultimately a story about movement, and the forces that push men and women from their homes and the promises that pull them forward. We designed the issue to reflect that push-and-pull.”

Only on features related to migration, Marianne and the team removed the usual borders on pages, placing headlines at the top and bottom of the page, cut off to appear as though they are flowing off one side and into another. This design device was intended to highlight the articles on migration and give the special issue its own identity.

Ultimately, though, Marianne says it is the stories and the photographs themselves that will impact the readers. “My job is to stick the landing, to present our words and images in a way that supports and reflects all of the reporting. I look forward to readers experiencing this borderless, movement-inspired design as they learn more about the movement of humanity.”

On how this special issue fits into the wider redesign, Marianne told It’s Nice That: “National Geographic is an endless source of inspiration that fuels exploration, deepens understanding and provokes new questions. With the redesign, we pushed that even further. This package on human migration is one example of how we continually strive to be arresting, pioneering, illuminating and uncompromising.”


National Geographic: Migration issue (August 2019)


National Geographic: Migration issue (August 2019)


National Geographic: Migration issue (August 2019)


National Geographic: Migration issue (August 2019)