Francoise Mouly Lecture

Last Wednesday, I attended a lecture given by the New Yorker’s art editor for the past 19 years, Francoise Mouly. I found this lecture to be both extremely entertaining as well as educational, as she took us from her beginning in the publishing world, through the many famous covers of the magazine as well as the artists who created them, and finally to how things are going currently. Mouly began in New York City with a magazine called Raw Graphix Magazine, which she showed several covers as well as their innovate construction. I think it was very interesting to see how she took her experience and approach to magazine publishing from working at Raw, to her new position as editor. Francoise said that she found it refreshing that when putting together covers for the magazine, she didn’t have to worry about the covering them with obnoxious text to catch attention of buyers, due to the fact that many readers are subscribed, the magazine sells itself. She began her time at the New Yorker by referencing earlier covers from the 1930’s and 1940’s in order to get a full feel for what the magazine was originally trying to accomplish and how she could expand on that idea in today’s context. She would also bring cover artists to view these examples as well, telling them to keep these directions in mind when developing concepts and sketching. One statement I found very intriguing was her view that the magazine does not tell viewers what to think, but rather tells you to think, something that I personally believe many other publications lack. As for the relevance of this lecture to web design and the development of the web over all in the past few years, Francoise stated the web is convenient in the speed of communication it allows as well as the broader range of artists it opens the magazine up to. In regards to people’s need to comment on everything they see online, often negatively, the editor said she doesn’t read too much into feedback from readers, for she doesn’t want to be bullied into making decisions about the New Yorker.

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