On October 7th, 2011, during its regular schedule, the new week’s issue of Bloomberg Businessweek hit the newsstands and began to arrive in the mail for subscribers. But, instead of the planned cover featuring the GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry, the entire issue was scrapped at the last minute. After learning of the unfortunate passing of Steve Jobs, a dedicated team of designers and editors started over from scratch and worked tirelessly through the night to make a 9 a.m. Thursday morning deadline. They ensured that a thoughtful, memorable, well-designed magazine just barely made it to press on time.
“...This week, we offer the biography of a boundary-breaking thinker and endlessly astute businessman. From his birth and adoption by the Jobs family to his days in the California counterculture making games for Atari; from the peak of the insurgency against Microsoft to his forced exile from Apple; from Woody and Buzz to iTunes and the iPad, it’s all here, a signature American life as told by our staff of writers and reporters, and the people who knew Jobs best. It’s different from any issue we’ve ever done, and that’s the most fitting tribute there is.” —excerpt of editor’s In Memoriam noteThe opening spread (seen above) includes an excerpt from the commencement address Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University on June 12th, 2005. It's refreshing that this prime magazine real estate was not given over to its usual two-page advertisement (as was the case in the preceding week’s Businessweek). Throughout the 64 pages there isn’t a single ad placement.
The thought that media publications often prepare obituaries and special editorial features far in advance as to publish promptly when someone passes away doesn't sit well. The Bloomberg Businessweek (October 10 – October 16, 2011) issue does not feel contrived or overly somber. It does not read like an obituary that was written months or years in advance. Some parts of the content are fresh and humorous, others ride on nostalgia, but overall it is evergreen. If it was hardbound perhaps it could've been marketed as a commemorative coffee table book. Instead it is accessible and flows like a magazine telling one story from many perspectives. The Glossary section at the back, "an abridged lexicon of the world of Apple”, might be one of the more lighthearted sections of the issue (renamed iGlossary online).
The magazine is filled with essays, quotes, and anecdotes from friends, business leaders, and some could say his greatest rivals. Though every page of the magazine is about Steve Jobs, you find that at times it is less about one man and more about the lives of others visionaries he influenced.
“I think you can say he built three companies. He built the first Apple. He built Pixar. And then he built the second Apple. That is pretty extraordinary.” —Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon.comThere are numerous nuggets of interesting information relating to failure, achievement, business, design and tech integrated within one issue. By absorbing the issue from start to finish, the reader doesn't only learn about the life and accomplishments of Steve Jobs, but also about the individuals he touched with his words, passion, commitment, and innovation.
In record time (a little unsettling), the memoriam front cover featuring a black & white photograph Steve Jobs started circulating online on October 5th (shared on Twitter by @BizWeekDesign).
The effective, iconic magazine cover is beautiful because of its simplicity. The sparse cover, free of crowded headlines seems very appropriate and tasteful. Creative Director Richard Turley and his team of designers designed a special issue that visually and emotionally sets itself apart from past Businessweek publications while still following form with the magazine’s redesign launched back in late April 2010.
The cover of the printed magazine is not grey, it is PMS Metallic 877 silver. The metallic ink wraps to the back cover. The use of metallic ink is usually best used as an accent, but in this instance it feels just right. As a subscriber, it was an appreciated decision that the mailing label was left off of the front, avoiding any obstruction to the strong cover (though once in the hands of the postal service it had no chance of arriving in pristine condition).
The "good bye" message on a classic Macintosh computer on the bottom right of the back cover was a sweet touch. But as Steve Jobs's legacy reaches far past just Macintosh computers, it was correct to not have it overpower the photograph on the front.
Here it is blown up to a larger size:
Also missing from the October 10th issue of Businessweek is a traditional masthead, table of contents, and design credits. It isn't clear if names were omitted due to last minute time constraints or if this was a gesture symbolizing that the completion of the Steve Jobs tribute issue was truly a collaborative effort and no editor or designer would claim ownership.
We have been inundated with information about Steve Jobs and his legacy of the past and what is anticipated to continue even after his premature departure. Many may think they've read enough editorial pieces, especially in the days following his death. But, even for the tech savvy and the ultimate Steve Jobs fan, there is probably still something new to learn or find inspiring in the pages of the Bloomberg Businessweek Steve Jobs tribute issue. If you’ve read or heard the words somewhere else before, it resonates when combined with careful editing typographic care. Here he is not honored by financial data and sleek gadgets but by the sensitive juxtaposition of words and images.
The same sheet also features lovely snowflake designs (or a bird's eye view of the egg patterns?).
A follow-up to the Uniqlock, the Uniqlo Calendar iPad app (released on June 24th) retains much of the same quirkiness, and generous use of sound. While the imagery on the Uniqlock site may at times strike one as odd, the "movies" in the calendar are simply eye-catching and gorgeous with stunning color. The music is also an integral part of the experience, but there is an option to turn the sound off.
The default setting for the weather and time is Shibuya, Japan, but it was simple to change this to New York City. For iPad 3G there is GPS function to determine your location. There is also functionality to link to iCal and Google Calendar, though this seems to have a few kinks to still work out. It might be little more than a novelty app with pretty moving pictures, but when it's free who cares?
The Uniqlo Calendar was previously available as a web app and for the iPhone and iPod Touch
(link for iPhone download).
Tilles Singer's video compilation made up of cut-out skateboarding magazine photographs is quite amazing.
Photographer: Derek Caballero (Soulless & Changeless), Tiny Dragon Productions (Blameless)
Model: Donna Ricci
Font: Knockout & Baskerville
Publisher: Orbit Books
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