This was an individual magazine design project for a senior graphic design course at Simon Fraser University. The goal of the project was to identify a target readership, define a distinctive editorial mandate, and to create a memorable brand.
Unlaced magazine is for sneakerheads and streetwear superfans who enjoy sporting the latest fashion trends and savour in anticipating for the next drop of product. Each edition features articles on the next big product line in addition to a larger story covering histories of past products. Unlaced dives into deeper content for superfans in an uplifting tone. While its readers may be serious fanatics, they also indulge themselves into lighter content on the side. The magazine provides the inside scoop behind-the-scenes of the designers, their products, and its community.
The magazine is distributed in luxury streetwear shops in urban cities where the street fashion elite are likely to congregate.
The target reader is a young adult (age 22–35) who has a high disposable income and lives in an urban city. These readers hope to add to their portfolios from winning shoe raffles and being the first in line when the next product drops. To keep up with the trends, they use Instagram to find out what product is releasing next.
Unlaced's name is used as a metaphor to describe content unravelling to the reader. While short and catchy, the name is indicative of its relation to its subject matter at first glance. To begin looking deeper into details, Unlaced intends to help strip away parts to guide readers there.
The art direction was inspired by the popular aesthetic that many streetwear brands embrace: bold typography. The choice of using a black and white colour palette aligns with the intent of focusing on the details rather than distractions.
For the logotype and headers, I decided to use Monument Extended as the typeface to fully represent the Unlaced brand. That is, a boldness that makes a statement of power and prominence; qualities that hypebeasts and sneakerheads exude.
For the body copy, I decided to use the classic typeface Neue Haas Grotesk for its readability from its taller x-height and tight letter spacing.
The cover was designed to capture the essence of “hype” using bold typography and impactful imagery. This was done through the use of the wide typeface, Monument Extended, and a full bleed image of legendary basketball player Michael Jordan to represent this volume’s main coverage.
I chose to include two other stories as well as the feature story for the cover lines to leverage the presence of strong brands to attract the target readership of sneakerheads and hypebeasts. These cover lines were laid on top of a black bar to highlight its significance in addition to preventing the type to drown in the image. The cream white and bold logotype was used to juxtapose against the black-and-white image. The colour of the logotype would alternate with a black version if it contrasts better than the white version.
I decided to make the table of contents strictly typographical so that when the reader opens up the section they want to read, it would provide a richer feeling of reward from limiting what the reader expects. Using strong typography here also aligns with the art direction of boldness. I also decided to not list the cover credit in the table of contents but rather in the masthead. I thought that it was more logical to credit the photographer along with other members of the Unlaced team. I also used a white box to highlight the feature story to signify its importance in the volume.
To match the style of the cover and table of contents, I designed the first spread to be in the form of a poster to indicate that the reader had reached the feature section in the magazine. To help inform the reader of this, the first spread consists of a large image with a black background to contrast against the white background of the other pages. With a target audience of street fashion elites ranging from ages 22 to 35 with discerning tastes, I included as many close-up photos to show details of the Air Jordan sneakers. I intended to keep the photo captions separate from the photos themselves to provide myself with another cluster to be dynamically laid out and to lock elements down so that they would not float.
My main takeaway from this project was that even small print design projects require sufficient foundation to hit the ground running. As this was one of the first branding projects I've worked on, I appreciated how much impact the smaller exercises of putting together a moodboard and choosing a typeface had towards informing the overall art direction.