Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Image and Words: Long Form Stories Reinvented

In the New York Times Magazine this week (5/6/18), we see an innovative use of the concepts of storytelling and design merge for another stunning media blend that works as a vehicle of the stories, and creates a sense of intrigue and visual themes that is really important in our ability to comprehend complex and intricate stories in a time of quick news flashes and multimedia (picture and word) layouts that are almost expected of the media we consume. 

In an article and video, Gail Bichler explains that they brought in illustrator Francesco Francavilla, who defined his inspiration from noir-fiction and film and brought that style into the cover and the articles. Because the criminals and the actual crimes were difficult to capture in photos, it makes sense that some of the illustrations push the edge of the reporting, while unifying the concepts of crime and money. 

This is not the first time the New York Times has been on the forefront of nonfiction reporting, style, and design. Tomato Can Blues was the first acclaimed story that merged the story of Mary Pilon with the illustrations of Attila Futaki to bring the creative story nonfiction storytelling together with high-quality illustration, and an engaging computer interface that helped define this story. While other mediums can produce this kind of work, the New York Times has the readership, the vision, and the budget to make these innovations stand apart. 

As readers, in a magazine format, we expect complex stories and articles, but it makes sense to tie them together with artwork, and a vision of light and dark illustrations. Long form nonfiction is changing with the impact of Twitter, social media, and how media is consumed, yet this is another fascinating look into multimodal storytelling that meets the expectation of the reader, using illustration, vision, and thematics storytelling to make it more attractive to a variety of readers. It is exciting to see good illustrations, great design vision, good writing converge in a fast moving, hyperspace of text and images swirling all around us. 

8:07 AM