Wired to Design

 In Design

Each morning I try to find one or two things to inspire me for the day. They’re usually design-related, but sometimes they’re other things, like a social cause or my cat. But lately, whenever I’m thinking about design–especially if it involves page layout or book cover design–I always go to the well and reach into the magazine holder on my desk. It’s loaded with design-related things: HOW, Layers, print. But there are also magazines I just love the design of, like Esquire and Wired.

Wired, in particular, is a magazine I just can’t get enough of. I’m a big geek, so I love the content. And from a design aspect, I think it’s probably the best thing on the newsstand. Every issue is filled with innovative pages that find the delicate balance between minimalism and clutter, wrapped in a futuristic little package. Each month I’m sure to learn something, both through information and visuals; it’s like a continual classroom to me. And I’d always wanted to get into magazine layout and design, so seeing Wired all the time keeps that idea fresh and reminds me to keep looking for those opportunities.

There’s one specific issue of Wired that I’ve just about worn out from paging through over and over again. It’s the May 2009 issue, which was dubbed “The Mystery Issue.” What makes this one so special is that it’s a roller-coaster ride that changes its path every time you get on. Guest-edited by someone I find to be a true inspiration, J.J. Abrams, it’s packed with puzzles and mysteries, some of which I’m still confused by, a year later. If you’re familiar with J.J.’s work–of course you are–you’re well aware of how it’s always loaded with questions and open to interpretation. This issue of Wired is no different. And that’s why I love it. And, of course, the design is just brilliant. With so many intricacies and turns, doesn’t it have to be? And an added bonus: the prominently featured fonts throughout the issue are done by House Industries, which I consider to be one of the coolest, most unique type foundries out there. Apparently J.J. likes them too. Every element of the Mystery Issue is an inspiration to me and my work, so I’m very happy I found it. Oh, and it won the National Magazine Award this year for the Best Single Issue, so I’m not alone.

If you’re interested in checking it out, you can probably find it for sale on the Wired website. Or, if you don’t want to shell out the money, you can get a glimpse of how cool it is and the process behind it by watching this TED Talk with J.J. Abrams.

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