On a recent trip to D.C., I couldn’t wait to visit one destination that came close to upstaging the cherry blossoms blooming on the National Mall. I remember race-walking down Connecticut Avenue with a look of determined anticipation on my face. Ridiculous? Yeah, probably, but I didn’t care. I was on a mission. Rare sites like this were once a dime a dozen. Today, they are sadly disappearing at alarming rates all across America. Suddenly, there it was right in front of me, an old-school newsstand. That’s right, a bona fide, family-owned and operated newsstand.
Back in the day, hometown newsstands were the cornerstones of many communities. They were places where you could catch up (face-to-face) on local news, political gossip, and find unusual or foreign titles depending on the mix of folks in your neighborhood. Where I live in the south, newsstands have completely disappeared and going to the local Walmart is not the same.
When I crossed the threshold of this rare establishment, the light scent of ink and paper perfumed the air. It reminded me of the scent that emanated from the mimeographed paper of my youth. This newsstand’s entire 1,500-square-foot space was festooned with both familiar and unfamiliar titles, covering a treasure trove of domestic and foreign topics. I relished the moment and took time to slow down, catching what I believed to be the faint, glorious voice of Cesaria Evora serenading me from the boom box sitting on the counter. I was transported.
I perused row after row of periodicals marveling at some of the well-designed nameplates and cover visuals. Their success in catching my eye conjured up memories of working for a magazine fresh out of design school. Our constant challenge was to develop covers that popped and content that engaged readers, enticing them to consume each and every page. The lessons learned from veteran printers while on press at 2 a.m. in snow-covered Wisconsin continue to inform my decisions today. I fully embrace the virtual world and like where its technology is taking our profession, however, I don’t want to let go of the inherent surprise and warm tactility of a well-designed printed piece.
Eventually I stumbled into the business section. This section has usually been a visual snooze with predictably conservative covers. In the corner of my eye I spotted one periodical that didn’t seem to belong. It was completely out of place in the sea of wealthy, pinstripe-suited magazines on the shelf. The cover playfully featured a crowd of bowing smartphones surrounding a gilded frame. I took the obviously misplaced fanzine to the cashier for restocking. As he reached for it, I read the masthead out loud, “Bloomberg Businessweek.” Intrigued, I bought it.
That night sitting in my hotel room, I devoured the stories and thoroughly enjoyed the avant-garde visuals created by Creative Director Richard Turley and his audacious in-house team. If you have access to a local newsstand in your area, support them, especially one that is family-owned and operated. The day I stumbled into Richard Turley’s brilliant work that is “Bloomberg Businessweek,” I felt like I’d just found the golden Easter egg in the best place for hunting—a good, old-school newsstand.
The In-House Design Annual
Take a look into the in-house design team of “Bloomberg Businessweek” who Ed Roberts had the pleasure of interviewing and get inspired with this year’s In-House Design Awards. Be sure to download or pick up your copy of the January Issue of HOW magazine now on newsstands.