Art Direction | Typography & Layout | Illustration
How might we carve out a niche for a new magazine in the highly-saturated women's magazine market? How might we connect with women's lives and problems, while offering content that differs from the mix of self-help articles and listicles that make up most women's magazines?
StoryGarden Magazine puts a human face on the self-help articles, how-to pieces and listicles that are a staple in most women’s magazines. Instead of a list of ten rules on how to pack efficiently for your vacation abroad, our magazine would feature a story by a woman whose Indian parents would pack a suitcase full of lentils, spices and pickles when they returned to America after a trip back to India. Our core belief is that every woman has stories about her life. We present these intimate narratives, stories women tell each other over a cup of tea.
Content curation, editing, art direction, illustration, layout and typography.
Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign
There is no dearth of research supporting the claim that women's magazines feature content and images that make their readers feel insecure about their appearance. They also create anxiety and stress in women by focusing on content that presents women with rules, how-to articles, and "best practices" for relationships, chores, work-- in short, all aspects of their lives. How might we provide the guidance women seek in a more gentle, less prescriptive fashion? How might we create a reading experience about women's lives and problems that is more serene and supportive?
My approach was to create a women's magazine that would be a cross between "Real Simple" and "Narratively." The magazine's engaging stories would be supported by simple layouts and clean typography facilitating an immersive reading experience. Evocative photography and illustrations with a hand-made quality would increase the reader's connection with the text. The content would be by women and about women, but for everyone.
The masthead features the word "story" in a serif typewriter-style font (aptly named American Typewriter ITC Pro) that evokes a literary feel and the word "garden" in a graceful calligraphic style typeface, Adorn Garland, whose extended flourishes create a feeling of relaxation and loosening. Together they create the impression of a wrought iron gate with vines growing over it, a portal to a serene place of contemplation and reflection.
Readability is of great importance to our brand since we aim at an immersive reading experience. At the same time, we want to convey friendliness and empathy. To ensure both, I chose a warm, nostalgic typeface, Goudy Old Style, which also has large counters that make for a comfortable reading experience. I chose larger margins and white space to give the magazine an airy quality that makes it easy to dive in and be absorbed in the interesting stories on the page. The magazine features many long-form narratives, so I broke up large blocks of text with pull quotes.
One of the challenges was deciding whether to illustrate the article or use photographs. Sometimes the article and its title seemed to beg for illustration! An article titled, "A Box of Puppies," gave me the opportunity to draw a whole litter of cute puppies, but also suggested the use of the text columns as a "box" to hold them. Another article about having too many houseplants, allowed me to humorously depict a woman being squeezed out of her own apartment by the house plants she has accumulated.
Sometimes, the content demanded the use of photographs rather than illustration. For instance, the spread seen below, "Dirty Work," is part of a story about working during the summer at an animal shelter. The author talked about witnessing how dogs are euthanized there. The investigative and dark nature of the article called for realism in the visuals, so I used photographs.
View and read all of StoryGarden Magazine by clicking the button below: