The Cut Magazine
Print, Editorial, Creative Direction

The Cut Magazine, Carnegie Mellon's first music magazine, needed a new look that is as bold, exciting, and alternative as its content. Noah Johnson and I worked together to create a new visual system and layout for the magazine, complete with a brand new cover.

The Problem
In 2007 The Cut published its first magazine. The cover was a black and white photo filled almost to the top with headlines and on the top left corner was the word "cut." The cover delivered a punch that suited the writing within.

With a different design director every few years, the magazine saw changes often. Every year the magazine experimented with different ways of placing text and images, and only in 2012 did the magazine find consistency. Version after version, the changes made started to be less about what would fit with the content of the magazine and served more as band-aid solutions to what seemed to not look right. By the Fall of 2015, when I took over as the Design Director, I was merely adapting the magazine with little changes to type system and slightly altering the grid in an attempt to make up for how far the magazine had falling visually from where it began. I knew I needed to bring back the force and boldness of the first issue and recruited Noah Johnson to help me do so.

On top of making the magazine more visually exciting, we needed to think about showcasing the work of the people involved in the magazine and not let graphic elements overpower it. We also had the challenge of working with a magazine that only printed grayscale, so we needed to keep things interesting without the crutch of color.
The Product
Starting with the type system, Noah and I played around with different typefaces and finally landed with Shrikhand and Rubik as headers and Sabon for the body. We liked the way Shrikhand delivered a punch and a care-free attitude that reflected the writing in the magazine. Rubik is a sans serif that was scalable and through its rounded edges showed playfulness and an unapologetic attitude. The visual treatment of different elements in the magazine became centered around the literal meaning of 'cut.' We cut off parts of titles and placed them in different parts of the page and we used the graphic element of slanted lines to represent the idea of 'cut.' The words on the page started to organically come to life and accommodate the often sporadic placement of words and images across the page. A new grid system was also created. Working with the knowledge that some pages needed to have a consistent layout every issue, we created layouts that would be adaptable. Every month, I work with a team of layout designers that help me adapt every issue according to the writing, photos, and artwork that we have to make new layouts in the visual system we've set up.
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