Making a spin-off stand out but remain ‘on-brand’ is often harder than it looks.
Actually that’s not quite true. What is hard is trying to reign your creative ideas in, so that you remain on-brand (god I hate corporate speak, but sometimes there are no better words – go figure). As a magazine designer, you see images and text and whirl them around in your creative juices. You picture big openers, flashy pullquotes and cool colours. Maybe you draw sketches in a pad or on paper of your layouts – I know I do. Then you look at who you’re designing for and alter your designs to fit.
This project was a case in point. Total Anime was a spin-off from the massively successful SFX magazine and so had to be treated respectfully. I was art editor on this project (with full creative control), but had to use SFX fonts and grids for the magazine. It had to look new but still resemble the parent magazine.
The decision was made to use a new ‘Ghost in the Shell‘ movie on the cover and main feature because we had an exclusive first-look and review. The lead character is a funky looking lady (Major Motoko Kusanagi) who really jumps from the page. Motoko was also used on the branding for the DVD release and this added extra impact for free because ‘fans’ would spot her a mile away from the shelves. I elected to mimic the circles from the main image throughout the feature and took the purple colouring from the DVD release. I am a great fan of repetition in magazine page design. I think it helps to move content along smoothly as your eyes naturally follow the same lines.
Total Anime was a successful first edition and it’s since spawned more issues.
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