Slow journalism

This year journalism has got faster, with tweeting and live minute-by-minute blogging becoming second nature to most newspapers. But next year a new quarterly title from the Slow Journalism Company, Delayed Gratification, aims to measure ‘news in months not minutes, returning to stories after the dust has settled’. Design Week caught up with Delayed Gratification art director Christian Tate to talk about the design behind the new magazine.

Delayed Gratification cover, with artwork by Shepard Fairey
Delayed Gratification cover, with artwork by Shepard Fairey

DW: What is the thinking behind Delayed Gratification and The Slow Journalism Company?

Christian Tate: The thinking behind both Delayed Gratification and the Slow Journalism Company is to make considered, beautiful print (and eventually tablet) products that people will treasure. You cannot compete with the internet in terms of immediacy, ease and reach, but equally to really appreciate great design and to enjoy the way it interacts with editorial there is nothing, for now, to match print. We’re not interested in investing time in tomorrow’s chip wrapping, we really want this to be a product people hang on to. 

Delayed Gratification spreads
Delayed Gratification spreads

DW: How will this thinking translate into the design of Delayed Gratification?

CT: We have tried to create something rich, both editorially and visually. We have been eclectic in our commissioning – always looking for unique ways to illustrate stories. The result is a magazine in which the work of comic book artists sits next to reportage photography and where pithy infographics co-exist with 3,000 word-plus editorial pieces.

November infographic
November infographic

DW: What was the thinking behind choosing Shepard Fairey to create the cover?

CT: After the work he did on Swindle magazine – which was also about creating a timeless publication – we hoped he’d be a fan of the idea and support it. Thankfully he did and he’s been terrific – not only with letting us use the image but also agreeing to be interviewed for issue one and supporting us on his site, Twitter etc. His ‘Freedom Of The Press’, which is our cover image, perfectly matches the philosophy of the magazine. According to Fairey it’s all about his “love of craftsmanship“ and that’s why he let us use the image and why he let us create posters for the first 200 subscribers. 

Delayed Gratification spreads
Delayed Gratification spreads

DW: What about your choices for typography, layout, and colour palette?

CT: We have two classic fonts that also have quite a contemporary feel. They’re our news anchors – Century Schoolbook is our friendly but authoritative Huw Edwards to Akzidenz Grotesk’s versatile and easy-on-the eye Fiona Bruce. Because we have such varied content it was important to have a very simple but recognisable framework to hang everything off – the date. DG runs chronologically so at the heart of what we do is the date. Our date tags with the circular motif are a navigation system which ties everything together and creates consistency – there are no page numbers, which gives us flexibility with the page-plan while still being able to cross-reference items throughout the whole magazine. There’s a simple colour palette, also derived from the date concept, with three key tones of a seasonally representative colour for each month – so browns and greys in winter graduating to yellows and oranges in the summer.

October infographic
October infographic

DW: How will you go about digesting three months worth of news and presenting it without being cluttered?

CT: Because we have a very simple framework, with a strong navigation and regular features like ’The moment that mattered’ and a monthly DPS infographic to anchor everything. Because of this structure, we can be very varied in the presentation and illustration of information without everything being cluttered – we have a lot of freedom and flexibility in the design but at its heart is a very clear framework that ties everything together coherently.

The first issue of Delayed Gratification will be available from January 2011.

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