TIME managing editor Rick Stengel leads a toast to our Magazine of the Year Award in the TIME.com bullpen
(Photo by Jonathan Woods for TIME)
Marco Grob for TIME
We’ve been pop culture junkies since the 1920s, and Populist is a curated collection of our entertainment favorite lists, from books to film to TV, with new content added every week. If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll check it out for yourself. (Did we mention it’s totally free?)
We’d also like to send a big congratulations out to the TIME team members who worked so hard on the app: (From left to right) Product Manager Laura Detmer, Senior Producer Christine Lim, Director of Design & User Experience Davina Anthony, Senior Editor Gilbert Cruz and Senior Designer Simon Fung. Bravo, guys.
Ten years ago, artists Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda worked in a studio space on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower. They came to know the buildings intimately. And then, like the rest of the world, they watched them collapse.
After the September 11th attacks, the pair wanted to fill the void. They collaborated to create “Tribute in Light,” an art installation of searchlights pointing skyward, creating the impressive towers of light where the Twin Towers once stood. “I was most struck when talking to one of the workers down there,” Myoda said, of the first time the Tribute was staged, in March 2002. “He basically said that for so many months, all they were doing was looking down into the pit in Ground Zero and this was one of the first times that people looked up.”
Ten years later, LaVerdiere and Myoda have re-imagined their work for the cover of TIME’s “Beyond 9/11” Special Commemorative Edition. They were appearing in the issue already, as two of the 40 interviewed people whose lives were forever changed by the events of 9/11. But for the cover, the two expanded the scope of their tribute.
“When we first illuminated the Tribute in Light, we never anticipated or conceived its staggering height, it seemed to travel upward forever, drawing one’s eye and imagination into the ether and the infinite,” they told us. “Now with a some degree of hindsight and 10 years retrospection, we imagine what the Tribute may appear like from the heavens, drawing one’s eye back down to earth and into focus with our current time and place, now so very changed.”
TIME covers are no stranger to the works of notable artists, but design director D.W. Pine can’t remember one – not Andy Warhol, not Roy Lichtenstein, not Marc Chagall – who received a titled and credited work on a TIME cover. Until now. Named “Tribute in Light Years,” LaVerdiere and Myoda’s image shows 9/11 for what it really was, not just a New York event, or an American event, but a global event.
But artistic credit isn’t the only rarity about this cover. It also marks only the third time since 1927 that our signature red border has been absent from a TIME cover, the first example being the original 9/11 cover’s black border and the second, 2008’s green-rimmed environment special. “We didn’t feel like black was the right color,” Pine said about the decision for another non-red border, ten years on. “But we wanted to borrow from that, and silver seemed to hit the right note.”
Serious online journalistic efforts are springing up more and more frequently as traditional media writers struggle to find new ways to stay in the game. But among the new sites I’ve come across there’s been a tendency towards really sloppy design.
The Faster Times (“edgy” Young Turks who mostly live in Brooklyn) launched in the middle of 2009, and is one of the worst culprits. Horribly photoshopped head shots, spastic spacing, and indecisive typography make this site particularly painful to wander through.
But does that matter? Do hungry readers care what their news/opinion looks like? Or, conversely, do some readers actually prefer the collegiate GeoCities look?
And what can account for this total disregard of basic visual standards (which in a happier paper era would never have been tolerated)? Tight budgets and the Huffington Post. I’ve lost count of how many State of the Media events I’ve been to where the predominant point of reference has been HuffPo. The enthusiasm to duplicate its pageview success unfortunately includes adopting its hodgepodge aesthetic (which thankfully has been iteratively improving).
One patient, who lost the ability to speak after a motorcycle accident, uttered his first words after being presented with the smell of tar. (After nine months of not being able to talk, his first word was “tar.”) Another patient, who had emerged from a 12-month coma, was moved to words after the staff exposed him to the smell of a certain bread that had left an imprint from his childhood.
Jacek Utko is a Polish designer whose art direction at several Bonnier-owned Central European newspapers has won them a boatload of industry awards. His newspaper redesigns have contributed to increases of upwards of 35% and in one case—in Bulgaria—100% in circulation. What is the secret to these impressive results? “Give power to designers,” Utko says. By involving the designer at every strategic decision point, newspapers can improve their product, workflow and branding significantly.
While Utko leaves out one small factor—the prescience and skill of the designer—he does have a point. Since designers are at the frontlines of reader response and psychology they have a particular sensitivity to their audience. They know how the form can shape the reception of content, and can intuit what combinations of copy and layout will generate the most interest. It’s pretty reasonable to see how involving someone with this skillset in business and editorial strategy meetings can generate a more refined product.
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