Washington Life loves Vanity Fair

The fam and I took a trip to DC a couple of weeks ago, and I grabbed this copy of Washington Life from our hotel room. It calls itself ‘Washington’s premier luxury lifestyle magazine since 1991’. The cover has artwork by Shepard Fairey, who is the guy who created the Obama ‘Hope’ poster (below, under the cover), and got a letter of thanks from Obama in return, which is kind of cool. I wonder how much lead time they had to give him to create this one, or did he already have it ready when they came asking.

100_10671 obamaposter

Opening it up, the contents pages are fairly standard, nothing exciting going on here in the layout or photography. In fact throughout the mag there’s a very suit-ish, up-tight feel to the whole thing, which is probably a pretty good representation of its intended readership… but I think it could maintain its snootish-ness and still push the photography a little further, try and shake some of that association magazine or annual report feel and be a little more creative with the environmental stuff. Although it’s a pretty thin mag, they do have a lot of very high-end advertisers up the front, and the usual fractionals scattered throughout the latter half.



The other front of book pages feel very Vanity Fair Lite. There’s not much effective white space, and everything is kind of mushing together, nothing is really making me want to read… would be nice to pull one of these elements out, like maybe the cutout photo of the dancers on the first page, and the floating b&w heads on the second, and really make more out of them. Those chunks of copy could also use some trimming and left justification to let the page breathe a little, and allow the graphics to pull people in.



There are a TON of grip n’ grin photo pages of events in here. Again not much that deviates from what a million other magazines do here, but kudos to the designer for having the patience to make these pages consistent and readable – I’ve made a lot pages like this in the past, and the photography you usually get at these events ranges from barely usable to downright awful, with people turning yellow, bright red, blinking, bright red shiny noses and so on. It’s really hard to change much on images like this without it being glaringly obvious that something has been done in Photoshop.



I was pleasantly surprised by this semi-graphic opener to a section on the people Obama is surrounding himself with. The following spread wasn’t all that great but an interesting enough read, but again felt a little clunky and heavy-handed. Just a little extra time spent considering white space and the placement of copy could really have made these a couple of outstanding looking/reading pages.



Finally, I blew right through this fashion section, mistaking the opener on the right for a full-page ad opposite a page of fractional ads.


Explore posts in the same categories: Advertising, contents pages, cool, Covers, deadlines, design, Influence, Infographics, Magazines, Photography, Production, Readers, trade magazines, Why is it like this?

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