A little under a year had passed from the moment we started discussing Slova (The Words) magazine till the time we actually started working on the project. Department of Communications and Mass Media of the Voronezh region together with RIA Voronezh saw the need to launch a glossy magazine about positive changes in Voronezh and its suburbs. Slova project was allocated a special place even despite the cost of restructuring teams, projects and budgets.
We are passionate about hyperlocal projects and urban development; Manufactura created Downtown.ru, redesigned RIA Voronezh website, partnered with International Platonov Arts Festival and Edward Boyakov. So we quickly found common ground with the client and were invited to take part in the project. Our design team was responsible for visual aspects and Downtown.ru team helped prepare material for publications.
We managed to complete the project in just 2 months.
Number one: Logo
Logo is the first word that the readers see. We presented four different logo concepts to the project management team.
The word "slova" that did not fit on the magazine cover. We suggested making a hyphen a mascot of the entire project as a symbol of something that lasts, a process between the beginning and the end. The title was going to have a lot more than just letters behind it — It represented one month of the city life. So hyphen was a symbol of the unsaid that did not fit on the cover.
Modern geometric grotesque without unnecessary drama and mystery. It leaves a lot of room for creativity and serves as a simple, but solid foundation. Big John font was used as the basis for this logo.
Letters form words, words make up sentences and sentences tell the story. The idea to call the magazine Slova (The Words) focuses the reader's attention on the content and its meaning. In this version we proposed to highlight just the first letter and make it large and contrasting. We wanted to convey the idea of focus and concentration.
Thin and thick strokes create contrast. There has to be contrast in order for something to happen. Wind is caused by differences in atmospheric pressure, a ball starts to roll due to height difference. Events are generated by tension and hypermotivation. Slova is about events, motivation and contrast.
Number two: Process
Grids, layouts, printing, dummy content, real content, fonts, colors. Disputes. Meetings with the editorial team, presenting design ideas and concepts. Corrections, corrections, corrections.
The visual language is based on the objective of the magazine. Of course we would have loved to experiment more with it, but the format of the popular urban magazine that will appear on the governor’s table, in barber shops and family restaurants dictated more quiet and simple solutions. For the titles we chose GT Walsheim (which was not as popular back then) in all possible sizes and styles, Minion Pro was selected as a typesetting font and Bodoni was used to emphasize the most important parts. We used a simple 6-column grid with a large text field. We tried to keep the rhythm and break it at the same time, create complexity with a full range of tools and use empty spaces as independent players in the text.
Number three: Master layouts
We've developed master layouts for all occasions, which allow to quickly put the new issue together without spending a lot of time on assembling the material while keeping integrity of the visual style.
Types of layouts:
- cover (several versions);
- table of contents;
- editor’s message;
- photo gallery (2 versions);
- interview (2 versions);
- reviews (3 versions);
- listing (3 versions);
All master layouts were assembled in Adobe InDesign to help facilitate putting the magazine together.
Number four: Cover
We looked at several cover design options, both classic and fluorescent. The idea of a paddle cutting through the water of the "Voronezh sea" seemed bold and appropriate at the same time. However, the classic one was selected. We were ready for it tough; we never suggest options that we don’t want to be chosen.
Instead of numbering magazine issues with figures we used words, for instance "First" instead of "No.1". It suits the magazine title very well. There are so many ways you can play with it: "from words to deeds", "you have my word", "as good as one's word", "beyond words" and so on.
Number five: Magazine
In July 2016 the magazine turned one year old. Haters predicted its soon death in the war of glossy magazines; they gave it six months at the most. Others said it will soon run out of things to write about or become outdated. The magazine didn’t die, didn’t run out of topics and is still popular. It comes out every month and we collect all issues in our office. We grind our teeth from time to time when running into visual solutions that we wouldn’t have used but overall we are very happy with the result.
We often take on tasks that we are not familiar with. Like navigational signage for the Voronezh Chamber Theatre or design of Slova magazine, which was our first experience of designing a printed magazine. Our work finds an echo in people’s hearts and we get new contracts, rewards and a little bit of fame. Each unfamiliar task extends our competences and sharpens our skills. A sense of responsibility inspires us to do the work the best we can. Sometimes we pay a high price for it, but it’s totally worth it.
"Being a government institution we had certain criteria when selecting a design studio for our project. Our goal was to make one of the best magazines in Voronezh, so we looked at several studios including the ones from Voronezh and some of the best design studious in Russia. We selected Manufactura because of many high quality projects in their portfolio. Manufactura is one of the best and most famous studios in Voronezh. Yet they offered us a lower price than Moscow studios did.
The magazine turned out very stylish. Many people note that its design is not inferior to the works of famous Moscow studios. The only complaint I may have is that we didn’t receive the guidelines we expected. But overall we are very happy with the result. The magazine looks cool and trendy."
This case uses photos and materials from the Green Soccer Journal and Afisha, Sir Geoff Hurst photo taken by Neil Bedford.