New York Times Magazine has reached new typographic heights
In June social media was buzzing with images of another special edition of The New York Times Magazine. Titled the ‘High Life’ this issue is the magazine’s latest annual issue about New York and celebrates the height of the city therefore the issue has been designed so the pages turn upwards instead of left. “The dimensions of the magazine are 8.9375 inches by 10.875 inches… in its customary orientation, the magazine is 9,589.125 inches shorter than the 800-foot-tall highrises of Manhattan…” explains the editor Jake Silverman in his introduction. “To make up a small fraction of the difference, we rotated the entire issue (including the crossword and all the ads) 90 degrees, creating a magazine… with a 17.875-inch-tall dimension… this is as tall as it is possible for our magazine to be.”
“Initially there was excitement but also some hesitation,” explains design director Gail Bichler, “mostly because in order to do it right we felt that the ads would need to be sideways as well. It was hard to understand what the format would look like without seeing a physical copy of it, so Matt made a mock-up, and once we showed that, the idea seemed more concrete and everyone got excited about it and got onboard.”
The subject is perfectly suited to another of the magazine’s art director Matt Willey’s bespoke compressed sans serif typefaces. The format change enabled Matt Willey, lead designer of the issue, to create a series of vertically-oriented, poster-like spreads.
“Matt drew the type which allowed him to elongate or shrink headlines to fit the layouts,” Bichler explains. “This was quite helpful since the space for the headlines varied with the page design and length of the display copy”.
Bichler says that the NYT Magazine also created a virtual reality film “that allows readers to climb the spire of 1 World Trade Center with Jimmy Chin, the photographer and professional climber who shot the vertigo-inducing cover image”.
For more typographic heights enter the issue here.