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Style & Substance

“You ever hear what they listen to?” asked a photographer, attempting to explain why the graphic design for a particular reissue recording was overwrought, emphasizing style over substance. “They’re listening to just about everything but jazz and that explains a lot,” he said with not a little exasperation. But for CD designers and art directors, appreciation of jazz is not necessarily in the job description. What counts is the look.

For a magazine, the look is more than important, it’s essential. The design, after all, largely defines the magazine. We expect our magazine to be elegant, sophisticated, witty, clever, creative, original and, don’t forget, readable-the achilles heel of many an art director. Not surprisingly, we’ve been very hard on our art directors. Our current one, Glenn Pierce, is our fifth in seven years! And although each of his predecessors has improved the magazine incrementally, Glenn is our first art director who has a sincere appreciation for the music. And, in just one year with us, he’s already won two design awards for his work with JT-an Ozzie for his typography on a Vincent Herring story; and an Art Director’s Club of Washington award for his design of a Wynton Marsalis spread. Both, incidentally, feature the photography of Jacques Lowe.

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