"Maybe you never thought about it this way, but design is your constant companion, and it has a profound impact on your life."
Taken from Wired editor in chief Scott Dadich's introduction "One Perfect Day," this is the premise upon which DesignLife special issues are based. It drives everything about the magazine, from the product choices to the editorial theme to the smallest on-page details. Each year brings a batch of new products (tested and recommended by the editorial team) and new opportunities to let the ideas and the images shine. DesignLife 2014 was the last Wired project on which the future o Banquinho partners collaborated, and it was a keeper.
DesignLife is part of the Wired brand but is also a standalone product. The letterforms of the nameplate are customized versions of standard Wired typefaces (Tungsten Rounded and Ambroise Std Francoise), rendered in a distinctive combination that both relates to the parent brand and reinforces the intent of the special issue (functionality + aesthetics). We initiated the nameplate, and type guru Tal Lemming perfected it.
The editors organized the issue in chronological order: A day in the life of an idealized family (living in a house with an amazing array of stuff!). They designated seven timeframes, identified by activity and populated with appropriate products. We developed vignettes for each activity and created custom numbers and letters to serve as a consistent environmental graphic thread across the section openers. Because the final activity was designated as “playtime” and was assigned the weekend, we renamed it “time off” to make the construct compatible with the three digit time-stamps on the other sections. The shoots were a four-day frenzy of setting, propping, styling and shooting with photographer Justin Fantl.
Mala took her star turn in "Dream" in stride; our visiting feline talent (on the "Unwind" set) was less complaisant.
The issue opened with a Wired design thesis that included an introduction from the editor in chief; a who's-who of inspiring designers; and a line-up of classic products that we covet. Because the bulk of the issue is colorful and dynamic, we went with a more book-like approach and a monochromatic palette (befitting a thesis) for this front-of-book content.
And the reason d'être…
In addition to the opener, each time-of-day section includes 10 to 14 pages of products that are beautifully designed from both a functional and an aesthetic standpoint. The images include both commissioned photography and pick-up art, so we developed a modular framework that allowed us to mix the disparate imagery seamlessly. We added mini-sidebars, styled in a hang-tag format and tucked between the product panels. (Fun fact: We hand-made four different hangtags with distinctive ribbons, and alternated them throughout the issue. It's all about the details…) Each section ended with a visual product index and a related flowchart or mini-story.