AIGA’s print magazine aims to be “testing ground” for design ideas

The organisation has launched a quarterly print version of its online magazine Eye on Design, with its pilot issue being brought to life by Lebanese graphic designer Tala Safié.

The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) is one of the oldest and largest professional organisations for graphic design in the world. Founded in in 1914 as a small club of graphic designers, printers, publishers and illustrators in New York, over the last century it has grown into a network of 20,000 professional designers, educators, students and design enthusiasts.

To mark its centenary in 2014, the institute launched non-profit, online magazine AIGA Eye on Design, with the aim of showcasing great work and putting a design spin on important social issues such as mental health and gender.

Now, the publication has expanded its remit with the launch of a quarterly print magazine. The hope is that it will allow the AIGA team to experiment more with design ideas and story formats, as well as giving them the time and space to “deep dive” into big themes.

AIGA Eye on Design founder Perrin Drumm, says: “From opinion to satire and some of the more experimental narratives…we’re hell-bent on creating an allover different approach to what a design magazine can be.”

The magazine’s pilot issue has been designed by Tala Safié, a graphic designer from Lebanon who is currently studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York. At half the size of what the rest of the issues will look like, the pilot aims to be a “teaser for what’s to come”, says Safié.

The design aesthetic takes inspiration from AIGA’s visual archive, and in particular borrows design elements from the tabloid-style AIGA Journal edited by art director and journalist Steven Heller during the 1980s and 1990s.

The cover design uses the brand’s distinctive eye icon as its starting point. The iris of the eye appears in the brand colour of bright pink – complemented by the cover’s bright turquoise background – while the cut-out pupil is made up of text that “reveals a glimpse of the inside content”, says Safié.

Inside the magazine, the page layout gives equal importance to the written word and image, meaning that visuals can be used to “complement the text” or as “standalone pieces”, says Safié. She has introduced side margins with the aim of ensuring a smooth reading experience when a story is text heavy. The side columns can also be used to include extra information related to an article.

The pilot issue of the magazine features stories ranging from a reported piece on design and depression to a three-part exploration of high-design erotica. Each issue in the future will explore a different theme through a design lens, and will be created by a different guest designer as a “testing ground for their ideas”, says senior editor Meg Miller. Safié will continue to work on the magazine, collaborating with the guest designers to ensure that particular consistencies remain from issue to issue, and readers “feel at home” but are still “surprised and delighted”, says Drumm.

She adds: “As editors we espouse thoughtful, experimental design, and we want our magazine to be a playground for designers who want to go there with us.”

AIGA Eye on Design’s first full issue will be available in winter 2018. For more information, head here.

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