Esquire U.K. released an “icons of style” issue in February of this year. Vanity Fair U.S just came out with “Vanity Fair Icons”, a special collector’s edition celebrating Frank Sinatra and 100 years of “The Voice”. The latter is the first release of the new V.F Collection (Yay!). If there is one thing I love as much as cashew butter it’s vintage photography on my monthly magazines. These are no exceptions. I love the flashback effect and for a moment there I feel like time has stopped and a little window to the past has opened.
However, I do have my issues design wise with these two covers…No one’s perfect right?
I’m not here to give out praise like free fonts so here we are.
Let’s start with what I do like: The photography, of course, but that’s a given at this point. I mean look at James Dean’s eyes! Frank Sinatra looks very dashing as well. Points go to Vanity Fair for using a color photo BUT that picture of James Dean is so amazing I do understand the decision.
Now for the fun part (what you don’t think reading me rant is fun? Hey at least you’re not playing Angry Birds).
On the Vanity Fair cover, the combination of the sans serif typeface (Solano) next to the Vanity Fair logo bothers me. It looks gigantic/bulky and very much out of place. The weight of that font doesn’t really fit with the serifs of the logo and I’m not going to mention the drop shadow there… Second off, the white banner at the bottom, why white? Yes it stands out but it looks like one of those ad banners we all hate so much on books and websites (you know the ones). Other than that, this cover does stand out well on news stands. The inside design is alright. I am a little bothered that it looks more like a combination of a few magazines and has lost quite a bit of the Vanity Fair identity and look. Some elements in the pages remind me a lot of Vogue U.S. (which is a magazine that has way too many issues for me layout design wise), so that’s a minus.
Now for Esquire, ding ding ding. Points! First of all, multiple covers (that doesn’t really factor in though because these weren’t special editions but an actual issue, see all alternate covers below). The type is ok but it generally feels a bit flat, not very dynamic. I find that Esquire U.S. does a much better job with typography than their United Kingdom siebling. The photos are holding all these covers really well and the different colors are definitely a fun touch.
These two issues are playing in different categories so…Let’s just say I like the Esquire covers better but as a special edition, the Vanity Fair issue is quite nice despite the little quirks. Looking forward to the next special edition in the Vanity Fair series for sure.