Throughout December, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Martha Stewart Living magazine, I will examine 25 of the most memorable and influential people, moments and milestones at Martha Stewart's company over the last quarter century: the Martha Moments that fans are especially grateful for. I hope you enjoy these reflections on twenty-five years of excellence!
DECEMBER 12: PAGE BY PAGE
One of the reasons I love Martha Stewart Living magazine is because of its design and layout: the arrangement of the text on the page and where it intersects with an image, the way it flows from page to page through the use of colour and composition, the fonts, the large photographs, the design details. If you're anything like me, the details do not escape your eye. I've often told people that I don't just read Martha Stewart Living, I study it. I not only read the text for the information it imparts I also study the way that information is conveyed. I've always been fascinated by the visual presentation of ideas and few do it better than Martha Stewart Living magazine.
Much of the genius behind the layout and design of the magazine we hold in our hands today lies with Gael Towey (the former creative director of Martha Stewart Living), James Dunlinson (the former design director), Eric Pike (the current editor-in-chief) and with Cybele Grandjean, Kevin Brainard, Jenn McManus and Jaspal Riyait - four external hires who were commissioned by former editor-in-chief Pilar Guzman to revamp the design in 2013.
Since the magazine began in 1990 it has won numerous National Magazine Awards for both content and design. The design is sparse when it needs to be, leaving plenty of room for large photographs, and contains a "well" at the back of the magazine with feature content that is uninterrupted by any advertising. One of the things I especially love about the magazine is that you will never see these words at the end of a page: "continued on page..." As a reader, I hate that! I hate having to flip through a magazine, past a bunch of content I have not yet read, to the back of the magazine to finish an article I had begun at the front of the magazine. It's terribly disrespectful to the reader. So, thank you, Martha Stewart Living, for not ever doing that!
Below are more examples of the beautiful layouts and photo spreads. Look back at some of your favourite issues this weekend and study the design a little: observe the details of how the content and photography is put together. It is magical. Click here for a more in-depth look at how each page of Martha Stewart Living is considered and designed with an essay by Sarah Gonser for Folio Magazine from 2002.
The visual glossaries were such a beautiful addition to the magazine: figs, shown above, and irises shown below.