The current landscape of archaeology- and history-oriented magazines (and educational magazines in general) consists of many publications that have evolved little since the late-80s and 90s. They tend to be text-dense and retain the old-fashioned look of a trade publication. Useful photography and information is easy to overlook because of the lack of shelf appeal and sensory overload.
Academically curious high school and university students interested in exploring archaeology in and out of the classroom (ages 16-25). Aesthetically sophisticated adults who enjoy exploring academic topics in their leisure time (ages 26-55). All adults interested in aspirational travel topics.
The main challenge in designing Artifact was in creating a magazine that feels “designed” while presenting valuable information to readers. This required laying-out text-heavy articles in a way that didn’t overwhelm the reader. The design of the covers needed to be striking in order to stand out on a crowded shelf of publications.
I began this process by looking at physical copies of various contemporary art and design magazines, including: Artforum, Art Review, and CURA., as well as i-D, Luxiders and Hype&Hype. I wanted to explore the cutting edge of image-oriented magazine design. Much of my specific layout inspiration came from the selection of interesting archaeological photography. For typography, I explored a light and modern combination of serif and sans-serif, looking particularly for a sans-serif that didn’t feel clunky.
Using contemporary art and design magazines as a model, I designed an archaeology magazine with an unusually sleek and minimalist feel. I relied heavily on white space and wide margins to achieve this aesthetic and reduce reader-overload, to the point of avoiding the full-page photos standard
in educational magazines. I selected Futura as the brand typeface to give Artifact a simultaneously contemporary and nostalgic vibe.