Posting Date: September 23, 2002
The Decline of Western Magazine Design -- "Today, the art of the magazine cover has been vanquished by celebrity worship and bad taste. Designers are simply fulfilling the dictates of their industry, not unlike the paint person on an auto assembly line. Innovation, creative expression, or even cleverness has been mostly abandoned."
Whoah, wait a minute bub. You're complaining that magazines which feature celebrity covers are no longer clever and unique? I argue that we're merely seeing the magazines' true colors. Years of marketing research have boiled these magazines down to their bottom line -- what they're really about. Maybe you just don't like the truth.
When I see a person reading a celebrity-cover magazine, the last qualities I would attribute to that person are "innovative," "creative," or "clever." You are what you read.
...and you are what you write.
Certainly makes the creative exceptions stand out.
This article brings up an interesting idea. I do agree with the idea that celebs sell more magazines than illustrations do, but the question is why? I think it's due in part to a busier populace and in part to a cessation of reader loyalty. Readers used to subscribe to magazines, or pick them up without flipping through. That's not the case anymore - subscriptions are a rarity. That, combined with the typical rush through checkout lines and past newsstands at high speed means that if something between the grinning celeb and the article headlines don't catch our eye, it never will.
I agree w/ Jack - it isn't so much that companies are getting lazy, it's just that they need to respond to consumer demand. They have to protect their bottom line.
This is why good TV shows get cancelled and brain-dead shows make it (and, to complete the chain, this is why I don't have TV anymore).