The Voice: Why Leo Jung is Good for Magazines

Cali-Sunday-Mag-coverLeo Jung’s mind works in ways beyond typical. And that is a very good thing for his current project, The California Sunday Magazine. The magazine itself has a unique distribution model, so outside the box thinking would seem a good fit for their creative director.

“The California Sunday Magazine is a monthly magazine that is published independently and distributed as a Sunday supplement to several California newspapers. This unique publishing model is typical of the company behind the magazine, who also conceived the live Pop Up Magazine,” writes Jeremy Leslie in Mag Culture.

Jung comes from a decidedly design-centered background, having worked for big names including The New York Times Magazine and Wired. In his current project, he brings exquisite attention to detail to the creative direction, helping create a brand that truly has a voice of its own.

“The California Sunday Magazine offered an opportunity to develop a design, an identity, and a voice that was all its own. What’s never changed wherever I’ve worked is the approach,” he tells Leslie. “The design, photography, and typography are all in service to reflect the tone, mood, and subject matter of the story.”

It works, quite beautifully. Jung’s understanding of the ability of the smallest nuance to influence the overall design is masterful.

“I am always more drawn to solutions that are simple but (more importantly) surprising.”

As a monthly magazine, there is no down time, and there is also no time to work out ahead of the train. And that’s okay, Jung explains.

“We’re a brand new magazine so we have just enough folks to put out a magazine each month. At the moment, there’s no ‘ahead,’ there’s only ‘now.’ So long as more and more readers enjoy and support what we’re doing, we’ll get bigger and even better at what we do. In other words, it happens fast. Really fast,” he tells Leslie.

It could be that this approach works because they have such a good understanding of their brand. It’s easier to see what fits when you have a solid voice already established, so there is no time wasted agonizing over those decisions. It either works or it doesn’t.

As I read the article I was struck by just how deeply this understanding goes. The magazine industry could use more people like Jung. Good luck to him and the team as they grow.