NYLON Magazine: Comparing the design of Sept, Oct issues

I apologize for this review coming in later than I had hoped. Unfortunately it took 9 weeks to receive my subscription of NYLON in the mail from when I placed the order (arghhh).

When reading NYLON, it appears there are a few style choices that readers can always count on: faux highlighted headlines, a handful of typefaces and great, original content. The design remains fairly consistent in typeface choices from issue to issue. I believe they use Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk for headlines and Akkurat for the typewritten.

Below is a comparison of the two covers. As you can see the covers are almost identical in their colors, layout and type sizes.

Even throughout the magazine headlines are always lowercase. Sprinkled on a few pages is hand drawn type. I love this- it makes the magazine seem so much more personal. The department and section have clever, cutesy names. This works well in print but you’d never be able to do this on the web. Same for the headlines. Various articles, such as “drink of the month,” include sketched illustrations. This works well and contrasts the gritty images used throughout the magazine. Every issue seems very raw without being brash.

The TOC is the same in both issues which is the standard for most magazines. The layouts of recurring pages is pretty consistent in both magazines. One thing I noticed is NYLON’s ability to section off content without using borders or boxes. The magazine uses headlines and decks to frame each article. This is easier said than done and I think they’re doing a great job. Of course, they do reserve artsy borders for a few pages, but not many.

September Overall Design Rating: 4.2/5

What worked:
Wow, this is a gigantic issue. The feature of Christina Ricci was well done. The post-production treatment of the photos in addition to the typeface choices gave it an awesome “vintage feel.” I love how they handled the page numbers for this feature. Little decisions like that really help to bring the spread to another level. The fashionista department did an excellent job laying out their spreads as well.

What didn’t work:
Although the fashionista department overall did a great job (especially News) the design of “Ticket to Ride” article bothered me. It was too messy and difficult for the reader to enjoy. The writing was fabulous, but the position of the headline in the lower right threw me off. I know NYLON has done this before and it has worked well. However this story, which was describes a model who’s also an equestrian, didn’t. Too harsh and unorganized.

October Overall Design Rating 4.5/5

What worked:
Loved, loved, loved this issue! Great work! Although considerably smaller in content than September, the October issue did a fabulous job experimenting with layout/typography without confusing their readers. The “Culture Club” section is much more organized in this issue, giving it a cleaner feel. Normally, I don’t like typefaces that look like someone smeared paint, but the staff chose a happy medium in the “Just a Girl” article. Definitely creates an “edgy, yet playful” feel. Also really enjoyed the “Black Magic” illustration on page 116-17. What a clever idea instead of just using photographs!

What didn’t work:
The “Hey, baby” makeup article was a little too cluttered for my taste. My eye was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to look first. By eliminating two of these “must-haves,” the reader would be able to focus on the individual product (like the Night Shade article). Also, a nit-picky suggestion: the article “Sweet Talk” in the supercute! (which is supercute that you call it that) section looks like “Sweet Tall” at first. Fixing the headline so it stands out more prominently would be ideal.

Keep up the great work, NYLON designers. I’m excited to receive my November issue!

Emily Stewart