I arrived in Milan early last week to put the finishing touches on a redesign project that began back in December. It has been an incredible experience working with the magazine’s collaborative team led by editor in chief Luca Dini. They are a talented and dedicated group. And what they are charged with is no easy task…
A co-worker described this week’s 224-page magazine as a “small issue” (the larger issues are 350+!). She looked confused when I told her I used to work for a magazine that averaged 116 pages every othermonth.
From the first day, the staff has gone out of their way to welcome me into their space and process. I’m so proud to be a part of this team. And I’m especially proud to see the results.
I’ll follow up with another post about the redesign process, but until then here’s a peek at the new look (quickly shot with my iPhone).
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been appointed to the position of Creative Director at Italian Vanity Fairwhere I will be directing the design and photography of the brand’s print and digital properties. I’ll be working out of Condé Nast’s New York offices for an initial period and traveling back and forth to the magazine’s headquarters in Milan. I’m very excited about the opportunity and I look forward to sharing updates along the way. Ciao for now!
Devin Pedzwater is the Creative Director of Italian Vanity Fair, where he is responsible for the design, photography, illustration and typography of the brand’s print and digital properties.
Prior to this, he was the Brand Creative Director of SPIN Media, where he lead the strategic and creative direction of the SPIN brand relaunch in March 2012, including the notable redesigns of SPIN’s magazine and website. He was responsible for the digital conversion of company’s content by leading the design and development of SPIN Play for iPad, which was recently inducted into Apple’s App Store Hall of Fame.
A graduate of Penn State University, Pedzwater started his career as a Designer at Condé Nast Traveler. He then moved on to Sports Illustrated, where he art directed three consecutive swimsuit issues, and was subsequently hired by Rolling Stone as Senior Art Director to work on the magazine’s redesign in 2002. His work has been recognized as exemplary by such groups as American Society of Magazine Editors, the Society of Publication Designers, Print magazine, American Photography, American Illustration and Communication Arts.
For a 27-year-old brand like SPIN to honor its legacy of music journalism and photography, it had to evolve beyond the print product. SPIN needed to effortlessly communicate with its audience of young, socially active and digitally-minded music fans driven by music discovery, regardless of platform. Under the direction of SPIN Media’s CEO, I was tasked with re-envisioning the SPIN experience for both a modern consumer and a modern advertiser.
In my role as Brand Creative Director, I led the edit team in the development of the company’s first-ever content programming grid (premium content is now packaged under 35 branded franchises) and related budget structure. I also worked closely with SPIN’s publisher to bridge the gap between the edit and sales staffs with the goal of leveraging SPIN’s premium content with brand partners without losing credibility as an editorial operation.
The SPIN staff unified around the idea of form and function as a guiding principle. We explored our market research to determine how our content was useful to our readers before we set off designing for the final format. We arrived at specific publishing solutions for each of our six editorial platforms: Web, Print, Tablet, Mobile, Video, and Social. The end result gives SPIN a unique, consistent and dimensional storytelling toolkit.
To help with the undertaking, we hired the innovative teams of Area 17 and Everything-Type-Company to redesign the website and magazine respectively. Drawing from the look of SPIN’s early years in the mid-late 1980s, both groups worked together to develop a system of fonts, colors, and grids that simplifies and strengthens our overall aesthetic across all platforms.
With this relaunch, SPIN wanted to re-establish itself as the leader in music journalism. Over the years, the monthly magazine had been decreasing in size and weight to the point that it was losing the impact it had at its high point in the late 80s-early 90s. But there is no lack of passion for the magazine as an extension of the brand. It needed to be repositioned.
I was asked to rethink the role the magazine played among SPIN’s various media platforms and rebuild it to fit the needs of today’s print reader. Decreasing the frequency allowed us to invest in a better physical product that prominently showcases SPIN’s thoughtful and authoritative writing and photography. There is now an emphasis on timeless, themed content rather than breaking news and album reviews, which have been moved online.
I’ve always been inspired by the early days of SPIN, so I wanted to let those issues influence the redesign. The solution was to eliminate the noise and rely on the basics of color, type and photography. My goal was to make the physical product feel more substantial as well; more like a book than a magazine. It grew from 9” x 10.75” to 9.5” x 12”. And it’s a half-pound heavier than the previous incarnation. We upgraded the cover from thin glossy paper to a thick matte-finish stock; inside, the paper stock is a mix of glossy for the front of book and uncoated for the feature well.