Last night I had the privilege of attending a virtual conference hosted by the Society of Publication Designers that celebrated the design direction of Martha Stewart Living magazine. The panel of guests included some of the founding designers and art directors who helped shape the Martha Stewart brand, including Gael Towey, the magazine's original art director and eventual executive creative director, and James Dunlinson, who joined the Martha Stewart Living art department in the mid-1990s and eventually became the magazine's design director in the early 2000s. Other panelists included MSL alums such as art directors Matthew Axe and Jaspal Riyait, and the current design director of Martha Stewart Living, Abbey Kuster-Prokell. The panel was hosted by Cybelle Grandjean, a visual-branding consultant who worked on one of the magazine's re-designs. During the one-hour conversation, the guests examined some of the design considerations that made a magazine like Martha Stewart Living so unique in its field, and so attractive to its readers. I discuss some of the highlights, below.
For The Love of "Living"
It was remarkable to hear the insights from so many of the influential art directors and designers who helped shape the Martha Stewart Living look. After a video gallery of the best covers of Martha Stewart Living, the guests provided a detailed overview of his or her contribution to the design evolution of the magazine, from the first issue to its current incarnation.
I learned a lot from this discussion and understood even more clearly how all the details matter. I'm so glad I was able to tune in! (Tickets to the online conference were paid for and the discussion was not available to the general public - however, a video recording of the discussion will be made available at a later date. Click here and stay tuned).