The Art Direction Behind Thread Magazine’s Technology Issue
For the 12th issue of Thread Magazine, our creative director, Cornelius Tulloch, wanted to open discussion on how technology influences our daily lives, the way we interact with others and cultural shifts. In the digital age, we do not only exist in “real life”, but also in virtual realities. The more we involve ourselves with online platforms, the more blurred the line between “real” and “virtual” becomes. Whether this transition is good or bad is what Thread Magazine aimed to explore. In Cornelius’ words:
“We live in a time of followers and likes. A time where human emotion seems to be quantified. And where, I think, we often find ourselves living more on than off the screen”
The breadth of topics related to this theme that could be covered is immense. Thus, we chose to pinpoint five:
- Nude: a look into how the social implications of the nude have been influenced by technology and changed over time
- Love in the Digital Age: a visual and written analysis on the expectations for and assumptions of romance after the inception of social media
- Disconnected: a discussion on how our mobile phones seem to have an omnipresence within our daily lives
- Photography Through Time: a visualization of how different types of cameras over time (ie polaroids, DSLR, film) produce images that are not only different in quality but also sentiment.
- VR: imagining how the inception of VR and virtual realities can impact our future and discussing the impact it is already having in our daily lives.
While the nude was once the epitome of fine art, it is now widely regarded as a grainy, vulgar Snapchat, one that can be reproduced and shared easily. That such a stark contrast can exist within the Nude’s own existence shows how much technology has influenced the way in which we perceive and create nude images/portraiture. Thus, I wanted to use fonts that immediately communicate “technology/pixels” along with motifs that are associated with the Renaissance period. The clash of the two visual styles not only reflects how the Nude’s social implications changed over time but also shows how there can be a beautiful marriage between old and new perspectives.
Love in the Digital Age
To a lot of people, love in the digital age is dead. While a vague claim, we aimed to discuss how the inception and growth of online dating applications have changed the way we deal with and think of romance. Often, it’s less about the real love and more about the convenience, need for affection and hooking-up. Ironically then, we could potentially feel disconnected with the people we connect with. Thus, throughout this spread I wanted to work with a very minimalist layout to convey the bareness of love we feel. Above, I also cradled one paragraph in another to reflect a form of affection that many crave today: cuddling.
A lot of times in our daily lives we are completely glued to our phones. Whether we are conscious of that or not, it is undeniable that phones have become omnipresent in today’s societies. To convey the phone as a natural element of daily life, I wanted the layout and aesthetic of this spread to be very simple, “vanilla” and block-style organized. However, small details such as the spaced-out lettering of “DISCONNECTED” remind the reader that the phone—while an ingrained part of our daily routines—is in fact subtly drawing us farther from a “normal” reality.
Photography Through Time
Different mediums of photography produce different artifacts; as mentioned above, they don’t only differ by type but also by sentiment and context. During this photoshoot our photography team used five different cameras: a DSLR camera, a polaroid, a film camera, an underwater disposable camera and an iPhone. Not much commentary was needed in this spread, so I used a lot of full-spread or half-spread layouts to place great emphasis on the beautifully shot images and the nuances between each medium. A small detail, but the introduction spread is reminiscent of the overlay one would see right before taking a picture.
The visual theme of four colors—red, blue, green and yellow—was suggested by the creative director and I thus wanted to heighten this motif by creating vibrant pages (as shown above) that would definitely catch a reader’s attention.
When one steps into a virtual reality, it seems like a different world. Thus, I wanted to explicitly convey this idea by making all the pages of the VR spread black. A stark contrast between the white pages before it, the black pages serve to shift the reader’s perspective. The motifs of dark blue lighting throughout the spread are reminiscent of tech lighting as seen in major media such as Tron. In addition, the styling and coloring of the VR title graphic is intended to tie the whole magazine together. A minor reference to the magenta lighting used in the first spread, Nude, the last spread VR then cohesively closes the issue.
Furthermore, while cyberspace identities can be regarded as artificial, separate entities, they are actually extensions of the diverse self that are refined and publicly explored, resulting in a more fluid relationship between real and virtual environments. In a way, the identities one assume in different spaces can be seen as different “reflections” of the self. Thus, I made the layout of the pages (as shown above) somewhat symmetrical to allude to this concept.