Sunday 25 March 2012

Magazine Analysis : One Small Seed (Exercise 2)

So this time I picked up an older issue of One small Seed from the college library to answer the question for the blog requirement. Unfortunately they didn't have a newer version and I was sort of short on money at the time I I figured this one will have to do. I can say straight away that not much has changed for o\One Small Seed. Last year I looked, albeit briefly at a newer edition of the magazine and there was not a lot of changes in terms of it's overall design.

Now for anyone that does not know, One Small Seed is a contemporary South African pop culture magazine. The racial and cultural diversity of our South African people almost forces this magazine to adapt a multitude of writing styles as well as design elements. I actually thik that this exact clash of elements is one of the difining points of our country, there are so many different people living in this country that it would be extremely difficult for a magazine like this one to have to appeal to just one or two specific audiences. One Small Seed does have a target audience, however I would say it's more the demographic rather than a particular group of people. Because the content is so different it's bound to have something you like, but hang on a second, like most popular culture publications this one basically says 'You must be this tall to ride', yep, it features a lot of imagery which the older generation might raise an eyebrow at. There is some form of nudity on at least one page but this in most cases due to photographer profile showing their work, and One Small Seed likes to take a slightly edgy approach to imagery and the writing is less formal, both attributes that appeal to me as a young reader.

The one thing that we spoke about in calss just recently that has caught my attention is the depictions of people in photographs. The vast majority of magazines, adverts, billboards feature as many varied human expressions as the amount of fingers I have on one hand. They can easily be counted, how many of the really go out of their way to show that we humans have more than just the generic 'sexy' pose or the ridiculous pout of the lips? One Small Seed does not disappoint in this department, I give a lot of respect to the photography featured on the pages for its natural qualities. A lot of the photographs are just regular people, doing regular things, not being forced into one expression all the time, the photographer is most likely surprising the people, I'm sure we have all felt at some point in our lives that one guy that wants to take a photo of you but you refuse since you just got off your daily job as the school janitor and require immediate make up in order to appear in photographs. It's not true for this magazine, people of all sorts appear here, be it toothless, dirty, nude, painted, whatever you can think of that is not considered 'conventional' magazine photography graces the pages of the magazine. Of course a magazine would not be complete without it's share of the usual dolled up pretty skinny girls, but that is instantly forgiven since those type of images are typically forgotten and only appear on two or three pages at maximum.

Photography is great, but one thing that sets this magazine aside is the featured art. It's great to see so many different styles merge together to create something that I have only seen in design publications. One Small Seed caters primarily to the youth and the art speaks for itself. Anything from Japanese Kawaii to African sculpture and beyond can be found here and the articles themselves are very down to earth, it seems that the authors just wrote town exactly what they heard from the artist rather than having a piece of forced edited dialogue stuck on the page.

I am very pleased with the overall aesthetic of the magazine, the semi-hard cover prevents it from flapping around that the paper quality varies as one goes through the magazine, sometimes it's to enhance an article by printing on special paper and other times it's to divide the magazine into portions each having their own stylistic feel. The typography is clear and unintrusive, easily readable sans serif type finds a perfect places amongs the plethora of imagery, which is in fact what the majority of the magazine is made up of. If you're looking for long-winded walls of text then this is not the place. Articles are relatively short contrasting with the large images with a nice variation of overall layout.

Overall One Small Seed is as interesting to look at as it is to read, definitely one of my favorite South African magazines, a lot of inspiration can also be found here as I sad the art is great and sometimes all it takes is that one picture to shift your brain onto overdrive and put yourself to work.

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