Rolling Stone Magazine and Newspaper (1987 -2001)

The rolling stone had team members such as Art Director’s Fred Woodward, Robert Kingsbury and Annie Leibovitz as well as Photographers Mike Salisbury and Roger Black. This team worked on building conceptual covers and illustration along with unusual typography to create the magazines unique image. The rolling stone magazine originated in San Fransisco and Woodward used its culture as a reference point for inspiration such as the oxford border which became a classic part of the design. This was a framing device used for clarifying the relationship between typography and photography which is the whole designs visual signature. The magazine built its identity on this border used in many layout techniques as well as its use of stand out feature openers. The rolling stone was the first magazine to introduce this part of magazine design and this has now become a standard icon for making an article eye catching.

Woodward uses a wide range of text and experimented with wood-block display typefaces giving that American modernism style to the design. He continuosly made new front cover designs by sometimes only working with photography to let it speak for itself. Woodward states he loved the fast paced nature of the publishing company, having to come up with multiple layouts at a time he allowed room for mistakes and spontaneity. Trying to make over 400 different issues was a strenuous task which Woodward was awarded for, his efforts noticed by many design agencies one of which being the Art Directors Hall of Fame in 1996. He is one of the youngest inductees to date. After leaving rolling stone in 2001 he mentored many Art Directors who went on to become prominent art directors in their own right.

Fred Woodward hadn’t immediately wanted to become a graphic designer from day one. He changed course three times before settling on graphic arts and finally found his feet when entering the Art Directors club competition in 1982. So much of his work was accepted that he became more confident in his capabilities and found rolling stone in 1987 where they were getting ready to release the companies 20th anniversary edition.

20th Anniversary Issue

This is where Woodward first introduced the oxford border and rarely parted with it. From starting with uncertainty and continuing with award winning design the rolling stone was a great turning point for the designer. His work has even been commented on by Milton Glaser who states, “the invention and high energy that he brought to the job at the beginning has never flagged. One might truthfully say that Rolling Stone is better now than it has ever been.”

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