What designer of a certain age has not been inspired by that greatly experimental publication, The Village Voice. It published its last print edition Sept. 20. Some of the art directors have reminisced. Interesting stuff here.
For some of us at the start of our careers in visual journalism, one of the most frequently consulted “textbooks” was, without any doubt, The Village Voice. Indeed, for some of my journalism professors in the 1960s, it was an institution, a go to reference guide to the best headlines, with the most inviting headlines, and, of course, visuals that the daily newspapers of the day would not dare welcome into their pages.
Sadly, The Voice published its final print edition Sept. 20, and with it volumes of great design, memorable illustrations, headlines that never failed to seduce, and visual surprises that still surprise, some of them decades later. Founded in 1955 (Norman Mailer was one of the founders) ,The Voice was a haven for photographers, designers, illustrators, cartoonists and anyone who believed in messages presented visually. The Voice also invented the concept of the alternative newspaper. Lead stories always carried headlines that made one stop to read:
The print edition of The Voice had recently suffered from a malady common to many other newspapers: declining advertising revenue that had migrated from print to digital, especially classified ads that have virtually disappeared from print in the United States.
Fortunately, The Voice will continue to publish digitally. The tradition of good journalism continues.
Here is the final print edition cover of The Village Voice, with photograph by Fred W. McDarrah, art director: Ashley Smestad Vélez. It carries Bob Dylan on the cover. For an editor’s note on the farewell printed edition; https://www.villagevoice.com
Editor Stephen Mooallem wrote:
In thinking about the September 20, 2017, edition of the Voice, which is the last weekly print edition, I’ve done my share of leafing. I’d liken the experience to watching the life of a city flash before your eyes — except that, with the Voice, it’s hard not to slow down and get lost in individual moments.
“,,,,,the Voice, in its heyday — and when that was depends on who you ask — was a prime mover of the tectonic variety, and it attracted revolutionaries. The Voice tackled subjects that no one else did in ways that no one else would. If you were a politician, a real estate developer, a wealthy industrialist, a would-be art, music, or film star, or anyone deemed to be of dubious intent or motive, the Voice could be brutal. If you were marginalized, mistreated, ill, poor, a victim of injustice, or an activist or advocate for those who were, the Voice could be a beacon. At its best — and sometimes, its worst — the paper has been a combustible melting pot of people, ideas, and ambitions. The Voice changed the course of journalism, elections, court cases, legislation, political careers, popular culture, lives, loves, and New York itself.”
My friend Carlos Llerena Aguirre, the talented artist and illustrator and now a professor at the University of Miami , told me about his time with the Voice:
I have great memories of the Voice. I worked full time as an illustrator for a couple of years. Mary Morgan Rockefeller was the editor, Bob Eisner, Art director and Milton Glasser graphics advisor.
I did crazy projects besides the usual woodcut editorials and ink surreal drawings. For example George Delmerico sent me to Brooklyn to do drawings as visual journalism on site. I had to sketch a transaction between a person and the Shark Loan people in the bar. Those project were daring and fun!
Several art directors reminisced about their Village Voice experience here;
The Village Voice‘s list of design directors reads like a Who’s Who of the best in our business, including my friend Bob Newman, who served as design director. Here he is profiled in the final print edition:
Rolling Stone draws robust intrest for majority stake in iconic magazine
This two-day event, organized jointly by WAN-IFRA and the News Media Alliance (NMA), will provide a unique opportunity for North American news media executives to hear and discuss digital revenue strategyfrom the world’s most advanced media companies.
I will be one of the speakers for this conference in New York City.
Sept. 22, Columbia University, special program for Argentine journalism students Universidad Blas Pascal in Cordoba.
Oct. 19, WAN IFRA Digital Media North America, New York City
Nov. 16-19, WAN IFRA Latin America, Buenos Aires, Argentina