Each summer, when we begin discussing options for the cover design of the Regional Design Annual, the biggest question is how to present American design as both six distinct regions as well as a whole. Digital technology, for all its benefits, has rendered fluid regional design identities. So we kept coming back to the core concept of the publication: geography.
These discussions led us (where else?) to Google. The Google Maps satellite images not only allowed us to establish a sense of place—they provided a way to use a web tool to create something tactile, to flip things around, and use the web to benefit print. A free digital service became a design solution.
Each region’s “map” icon is set as an equilateral triangle, and on the interior pages (below), the triangles are organized into patterns that add depth and narrative while still keeping the modular function. Sometimes, you’ll catch a glimpse of the familiar: a stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, the tops of buildings in Stuyvesant Town, a curve in the muddy Mississippi, Fenway Park. Other times, the landscape blends into the page like notes taken on the back of an envelope. The result is a deconstructed, reinterpreted, and reassembled overview of the country and some of its most compelling graphic design.
Below are some shots we took of the openers that introduce each region in the magazine.
Go here if you’d like to order a copy of the magazine or download a digital version of the issue. You can go to the Print website to see the full Table of Contents, where we’ll also eventually publish interviews with some of the featured designers. Congrats to everyone included in the issue and thanks to everyone who entered their work! To learn how to submit your work next year, see our guidelines page. If you’d like to contact us, send us an email at info |at| printmag |dot| com.