Vice Magazine Redesign
The redesigned Vice Magazine is an informative, dynamic package of news, entertainment and retina-searing imagery, blurring the line between the linearity of print and the randomness of the web.
Vice is often described as akin to being punched in the face. With the redesign of the magazine, we aimed to refine that analogy. A punch in the face is painful and shocking but it’s also over quickly—we feel that Vice Magazine can comfortably deliver that punch in the face, but also leave a lasting impression.
The main tenet of the new design is the rhythm and story pacing we brought to life in this magazine’s pages. In a flash of lightning and creative brilliance, we realized that the magazine should emphasize a polarity of views and ideas, and have its loud and quiet moments, not unlike a Pixies song.
We used this idea of contrasting tones not just in graphic design, but also in how we structure and editorially present content—by grappling with the extremes from either side of the spectrum, rejecting mediocrity and banality. This dichotomy is evident when, in the same issue, we publish work from established artists with agency representation like Bruce Gilden, as well as photos by emerging artists like Rose Marie Cromwell. This same loud/quiet principle is at work when we contrast long-form, narrative writing with short, informative articles, eschewing run-of-the-mill content that neither informs nor substantiates.
The Vice philosophy of editorial design remains unchanged: keep it honest. We choose not to over-stylize the design or editorialize too much, because the content speaks for itself and the new design works to facilitate and enhance that message. We treat the subject matter without passing judgment, and tread carefully to not denigrate the subjects or make fun of them. In this case, we kept our irony in check when showing pictures of chador-clad Somali women on the beach. Back to that aforementioned dichotomy—in the same issue, we also show pictures of young Americans on the beach, not wearing chadors—in fact not wearing much at all, the theme of the photo shoot being “Tan Lines”.
We needed a new way to visually support Vice's strong editorial voice, so we created a new exciting custom font, Vice Gothic, designed by Elizabeth Carey Smith from ihearttype.com. Vice Gothic is our new workhorse, its ultra weight supplementing and building upon Trade Gothic, while adding unique identifiers in forms of alternate characters and ligatures. The magazine's typographic toolkit was further enhanced by the addition of the geometric sans serif font Proxima Nova by Mark Simonson and the modern slab serif font Sentinel by Hoefler & Co. For all you type nerds, our choice of Sentinel, besides it being a wonderful, versatile reinterpretation of Clarendon, is a subtle nod to our past when we used LinoLetter Black as the main headline font.
The front of the magazine was reconstructed to be more informative and dynamic than ever, with an expanded news section consisting of infographics and short, punchy articles. As we are aware of an ever-shortening attention span, we complement stories with illustrated factoids that help with scannability.
The feature well, with longer, multi-page articles was redesigned to further reflect the loud/quiet concept. Like a Norwegian spa for words and pictures, there are distinct treatments for different types of stories. For example, quiet, contemplative stories like fiction excerpts now receive more room and generous margins for the words and pictures to breathe, while loud, expressive stories that need to speak up now have devices like sidebars and pull-quotes that help break up the information into impactful chunks.
The redesign was influenced and informed by the changing landscape of today's media. Experience has taught us the power of the story, regardless of how it's consumed—on paper or on screen. On the new pages of Vice, we'll still take you to that weird, sketchy part of town, but we promise not to let go of your hand—squeeze hard!
Oh, and you can see all of this (and more) in the glorious retina-searing clarity of the tablet version of Vice Magazine. Come to the light!