Designed for Success: Disguising Cutbacks
9. Avoid gaudiness.
The essence of effective branding is elegant simplicity. The less of you there is, the more vital branding becomes. What there is must be special and important. You want to show off its valuable content and control its unique visual character. Color (or, rather, its picked elite) is your best weapon. The fewer colors besides black you use, the better. One is best, because its singularity adds a trademark value to your brand, and it is not black (thus an ideal means of signaling emphasis). Colors are like typefaces: If you use a whole bunch indiscriminately because you “like them,” you deserve the mess you get.
10. Be "with-it."
That’s just a question of fashion, style, contemporary taste. “The look” is what is usually meant by the word “design.” Every publication needs to have its own look that creates its recognizable personality. It is a vital advantage in persuading the viewer to pick it up as an old, trusted friend. Depending on who it is and whom it is for, it can look as up-to-fashionable-date as the most fashionable magazines. But let’s confidently return to what really matters: content. “Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow,” said Aesop, who wrote around 550 B.C. and whose content is still in print in various page sizes, faces, stock and bindings.
Jan V. White is a magazine design guru and author of “Editing by Design” (www.Allworth.com).