With Volume 2 of Computer Arts Collections already on the shelves of your local Newsagent for a few weeks now, we caught up with editor Nick Carson & art-director Luke O’Neill to find out about the new series.
FFF: Great work on the first series, how was the feedback from your readers in general?
CA: Feedback has been extremely positive, both to the premium production values and the content itself – particularly the guest-edited Studio Project, which is a really strong USP of the title, and the depth and industry access of the Process section. The Trend Report, another strong USP – produced by a professional creative consultancy on a rolling basis – has stimulated strong opinions on both sides (including on FFF!) – which is exactly our intention. It’s the kind of topic that *should* provoke debate.
FFF: What we’re you able to learn from the first volume and how did this influence the design of the second?
CA: The entire magazine has benefited from a creative overhaul, including a totally new approach to the cover design (complete with luxury soft-touch laminate, on which we worked with finishing specialists Celloglas) and the various internal sections have had a shake-up too to keep things fresh and current.
There are various editorial tweaks – the Trend Report has been adjusted to put greater focus on the smaller, self-contained ‘micro trends’, with more space for larger imagery to show off more inspirational work – and the broader ‘macro trend’ feature is delivered as an update that charts how the style has evolved and developed, and explores how it’s manifested across the different disciplines we’ve covered so far. It’s all about building up an ongoing reference series that studios can continued to dip into and back-reference.
The Industry Focus section has also been reworked as an A5 booklet, illustrated throughout with a Pantone spot-colour and printed on matt art paper for another quality production touch. Editorially, in the first volume we went for a more expansive overview of the whole industry; in the second volume we’re putting sharper focus on a particular field, discipline or issue in a ‘special report’ format, kicking off with branded app design (and we’ll be looking at bespoke typefaces for brands next).
We also made the decision to reduce the total pagination slightly, in return for upping the paper stock considerably – from 90gsm to 130gsm. This included scaling back the Talent Directory at the back from a rather self-indulgent 16 pages to a more sensible five.
Finally, there’s a new regular slot in which a designer introduces the city in which they live and work – all their favourite creative haunts, eateries, places to be inspired, etc, illustrated with plenty of their own photography. It’s the most ‘lifestyley’ piece in the mag, and after a lot of intense, in-depth, investigative content about style, process and creative approach, feels like a nice laid-back way to conclude the mag. We kicked off with Portland; next time it’s Bangkok. We’re hoping it’ll go down well.
FFF: Where there any challenges to face in the design of the second series?
CA: Haha, there was one little production issue, in that we were told that 130gsm was the maximum possible weight that could be web-fed by the printer – but it turned out that we’d pushed it that little bit too far and it jammed the press, shutting it down for a few hours. Still made it to newsstand in time though, fortunately! Subsequent issues are going to be sheet-fed instead to overcome this.
FFF: Have you already selected topics for each issue of the second series? Are we allowed to know what they are?
CA: That one’s easy – the topics are consistent year by year: graphic design, typography, illustration, branding, photography and advertising. The concept is to build an ongoing collection that reviews the 12 months that have passed since the last time we covered that topic, and issues back-reference each other wherever appropriate with this in mind.
FFF: Are there any plans to incorporate the Collection into the CA website in the future or do you see the Collection purely as a printed resource?
CA: Occasional Collection content is made available on the CA site, and we’re sold through there of course (as well as digitally on iPad, Android, Zinio etc) but yes, Collection is designed primarily as a collectable, desirable print title for the studio bookshelf.
Get a copy for your bookshelf at your local bookshop, newsagent or online.