Posted tagged ‘Details’

Details: The Beige Toyota Camry of Men’s Magazines.

April 22, 2008

Do Ashton Kutcher covers sell magazines? While everyone else is putting Robert Downey Jr on their cover (instead of Jeff Bridges, but more on that later), Details decided to go with Mr Demi Moore for their May 2008 cover. It’s nice to see a black cover for a change, as all of Details’ covers seem to blend into one another, although I find the heavy photoshopping around the eyes distracting. I guess I wonder if he’s a good choice for the cover because really, there’s nothing on the cover that makes me want to read this issue. It’s got the usual men’s mag crap (Did You Have Sex at Work Today?, The Gay Baby Boom, 10 Must-Have Summer Essentials), but nothing new or interesting. If Kutcher is on the cover, why not have coverlines on his new show where he’s setting up the papparazi and others (like the rubbish with Paris Hilton meeting that guy in the robes)? Otherwise, why is he there? Are they trying to be classy? Classy is great if you’re also interesting. A big IF.

It’s interesting that they decided to make him look beaten up for the interior shots (and they go into his childhood somewhat in the story, which may be one of the reasons why), and I bet the photography was great right up to the moment when they put his face directly into the spine. Good job guys. I was trying to decide whether or not this was deliberate, like maybe they were trying to hammer home the underdog theme they seem to be trying to get across, but … it looks dumb.

Moving on… the contents pages do little to make me excited, but a little farther on there are some really interesting and well-designed singlepage product/up-front type stuff. Even if I’m really having a hard time finding anything interesting to read, I think these pages LOOK great. They make me want to try to read them (and in some cases you really have to try, there’s a thin, san-serif font used a lot in here which is kinda hard to read over the murky, grayish paper and beige or earth colored backgrounds). The product photography looks all original to the magazine, and is ok, hardly inspiring. But the designer’s use of white space and breaking up the grid with dashed lines and small graphics, as well as a multitude of mostly good, smaller images combined with not too much type (just too small sometimes) really save the whole front of book.

This made me stop and look (‘cos I couldn’t figure out where they’d got a picture of me naked from the waist up).

One thing that strikes me about the photography in Details is the studio-lit feel of everything, even stuff that’s been obviously shot outdoors. It’s not bad, but I personally find it a little too sterile. Having said that, I love this shot by Nicholas Prior of a kid in a basement. The office blowjob photo is just kinda meh. Neither here nor there.

Still, I just can’t get over the sense of blah that I get from this magazine. It’s like the magazine equivalent of listening to a recording of office background noise – immediately recognizable, completely inoffensive, and easy to ignore. It’s a single 35 year old who lives in an apartment on his own, has a black leather couch, plasma screen, a frameless black and white photo of Manhattan and drives a Nissan 350Z. It’s a dentist’s waiting room. It’s middle-aged guys everywhere copying George Clooney’s haircut circa 1997. It’s beige. Know what I mean?

Details contents page

February 22, 2008

New issue of Details arrived in the mail today. I blew straight past the contents pages, couldn’t find them at all. Here they are up around page 65 or so, hiding the best they can.