Friday, May 23, 2008


I buy a few magazines regularly. WIthout fail,  no matter what subject they specialise in, they're pretty decently art directed.

Wired, Men's Health, Monocle, Good, Fast Company. All, without exception, good-looking titles. Nice type, great photography, consistent looks yet enough flexibility within their design guidelines to provide variety.

So, one question: why the hell are all the ads in these mags so damn ugly?

You'd think someone, somewhere, in some advertising agency would have cottoned onto the fact that if someone buys a magazine, there must be something about that magazine that they like.

And that there's a chance that one of the things they like about the magazine they buy is the way information is presented.

But no.

If a magazine has interesting, modern typography, the ads will look like they were done ten years ago.

If the magazine features lots of information in an article, the ads will be light on facts, with just a few words that could hope to convince nobody.

If the magazine is stylish and slick, the ads will be messy and almost totally un-art directed.

If the agencies involved were smart, they'd look at the environment their ads were going to run in, assume that the readers had some interest in the way content is laid out, and go some way towards looking as if they understood that fact.

And ff the clients were smart, they'd simply go directly to the magazines in question and ask them to do something that demonstrated the same understanding of their audience that they show in the editorial.

Agencies are always complaining that they don't get enough respect. If they continue to show an almost wilful naivety in the way they go about trying to convince consumers on behalf of their clients, they should be getting even less respect than they do already.

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