Why The California Sunday Magazine Gets Our Vote

We talk a lot about good design around here, whether it’s striking advertising or stunning magazine covers. It’s an integral part of any publishing effort.

So, of course, we had to share this great article about the design work behind The California Sunday Magazine. (We’ve talked about this title before, and they continue to delight.)

“The California Sunday Magazine is a unique project,” writes Jeremy Leslie in MagCulture. “Produced in San Francisco by the small team behind Pop Up Magazine, it’s distributed monthly with local Sunday newspapers Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle — a clever model that provides a base distribution and allows them also to offer print subscriptions as well as a strong web version.”

What’s so compelling about the magazine is the incredible attention to design detail and how it amplifies the stories inside. In fact, MagCulture is featuring the title as their Magazine of the Week … a well-deserved honor.

“The magazine is editorially free of its host newspapers, and the editors take full advantage to publish big, bold photographically-led stories presented with a delightfully subtle touch by creative director Leo Jung,” Leslie notes.

From the cover – with its minimalist approach that draws the imagination to the feature story – to the small yet heartfelt “thank you for reading” message on the tail end of the unusually small subscription insert, the attention to creating a unique reader experience is palpable.

“Inside the cover there’s a tiny 60x30mm insert selling subscriptions (above), a fresh take on the common US hard-sell subs insert. In the proceeding Shorts section, headlines stick at about 20pt, sitting in open space with subtle colour effects,” Leslie explains. “The layout of the whole magazine uses white space carefully without ever feeling empty, the elements of every page locking together in different combinations like a jigsaw. There’s a load of design thought thrashing away beneath these calm pages.”

If you can get your hands on one (subscribe here), it’s worth a closer look … and worth keeping on your design shelf.