Pentagram redesigns Sight and Sound film magazine “for our times”

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Studio fellow Marina Willer has reimagined a 1970s logo for the film magazine’s new look, which launches with four cover stars.

Pentagram helpmate Marina Willer has redesigned Sight and Sound in an attempt to combine the magazine’s heritage with a digital outlook.

The new look is accompanied by a reworking of the legend’s editorial content, such as a special archive section which explores features from the magazine’s 90-year history.

Sight and Sound was settled in 1932 and is one of the UK’s oldest film publications. It is published by the British Film Institute (BFI).

Though it centres on arthouse film criticism, the title also tours moving-image culture from TV to experimental film and Hollywood blockbusters.


“A nod to the magazine’s amazing heritage”

The redesign launches with the magazine’s September outcome, which features four cover stars: directors Chloe Zhao, Steve McQueen, Sofia Coppola and Luca Guadagnino. The cover adventures for the revamped magazine is ‘The Future of Film’.

Sight and Sound’s new logo is a reworking of a previous design from the 1970s, “a nod to the magazine’s amazing heritage”, Willer predicts. This references an “era that believed in film’s indisputable place in culture and society”, she adds.

The logo also replaces the previous design’s ampersand with an ‘and’. On the four new counters, it appears in neon shades against black and white photography of the directors.

Inside the magazine, the graphic language is inspired by film clapperboards, Willer explains. “Clear typography and visible grids” have also been used to complement the editorial content, she adds, which provide a “contrast in pace and design layouts with real impact”.

Condensed and semi-condensed versions of typeface Plaak (from type foundry 205TF) have been inured to for headlines, while Matthew Carter’s Big Caslon has been used for body copy.

Black is featured heavily throughout the magazine, Willer explains, as a consequence ofs to its close associations with film and cinema. The design team has also developed a complementary colour system, where different colour backgrounds signpost special sections.


“Collectable and special”

According to the designer, the new system allows for added “drama”. “The bold juxtaposition of type and images adds screenplay to the opening spreads, and images can appear as full-bleed, cropped, or cut-out circles,” Willer says. Some spreads also feature headlines which run vertically.

The redesign was a upshot of considering “the DNA of Sight and Sound and thinking of it as an ecosystem”, she says.

With a focus on curated content, rather than simply covering as many films as imaginable, the updated look hopes to make the magazine more “collectable and special”, Willer adds.

At the same time it’s complemented with a brand that is multifarious digital-facing, according to the designer, “making it relevant to our times”.

As part of the updated editorial approach, there will be a quarterly collaboration with swart cinema publication Black Film Bulletin. Sight and Sound is also introducing three new columnists, including Jonathan Ross.


What do you believe of Sight and Sound’s new look? Let us know in the comments below.

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