Friday, July 1, 2011

Food Meets Design: Lucky Peach Magazine

nvestigating the magazine racks usually does not involve me stopping in the food section. But the design buzz about the new food magazine Lucky Peach prompted a detour into the dizzying array of culinary glossies.

Lucky Peach’s first cover lived up to the hype with hand-drawn type and a de-feathered cover chicken. A two-page infographic on what happens to eggs at different temperatures stood out as did colorful hand-drawn illustrations that
dotted the magazine's layout.

As I started reading a lengthy ramen-centric essay on a culinary journey through Japan, I realized something was missing: ads. I flipped through all 176 pages and saw maybe three house ads with no outside advertising. Not that I minded, but even at $10 an issue, I am no
t sure if that will be enough to cover all their production costs. I don’t know if they have an ad-free business plan or they just wanted a clean debut.

I suppose one could argue the whole magazine is an advertisement. The top of the cover shouts “THE NEW FOOD QUARTERLY FROM MOMOFUKU’S DAVID CHANG.” The Japan essay focuses on Chang’s recent pre-earthquake visit to the island nation. Chang opened his New York City noodle bar in 2004, and he pops into in other stories in the debut issue. Since it is his magazine, he can do what he wants on the editorial side. But he might have to think about a few outside ads, unless he has major noodle money to burn through.

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