How to cut and paste

In case you haven’t heard, Wallpaper* magazine has handed the design reins to its readers and given them the chance to art direct the front cover for its August issue. Sort of.

To complement the issue’s ‘handmade’ theme, the glossy style title has created an online application which allows readers to design their own personalised cover, which will then be printed, bound to the rest of the pages and dropped on to their doormat as would any other issue.

Today was the last day to give this a go, bringing the rather asynchronous nature of this blog to light once again. But I sneaked in a quick go before the deadline, and my attempt can be seen above.

Basically, the process wasn’t 100% personal. Wallpaper* put a clutch of artists and designers on the payroll to create a special range of textures, type, illustrations and backgrounds for the project for the user to select and drop into the ‘cover-making’ application. These can then be adjusted with some rudimentary manipulation features, such as rotate and scale.

So how did I fare? The selection of images wasn’t exhaustive and to begin with I was a tad disappointed with what was on offer. But the more I played about with and tweaked my design, the more I found the restrictive nature of the application forced a bit of lateral thinking; in fact, it also got me thinking about cut-and-paste culture – sampling etc – and how moulding scraps of someone else’s work into something new shouldn’t be considered any less inventive and credible.

Boring postulations aside, though, for me the best thing about this Wallpaper* project/promo is the way it combines new and old media. It uses the web to take the readers back to and get excited about print, which can only be a good thing.

I know I can’t wait to see my cover in the ink.

Oh, and as for what I was thinking with my design? Well, I was at work and after around 45 minutes of brief spells of designing peppered with lots of frantic window-minimising, I settled for this: a kind of Saul Bass-influenced music theme just in time for festival season, complete with a Vertigo-referencing vinyl-style swirl for all the people that will be getting dizzy and dancing in fields this summer. Or did I make that up afterwards? You decide.

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