from the editor

 Contents: UU World Back Issue

Style and substance

Robert Delboy, this magazine's new art director, thrives on challenges. And it's a good thing.

Big magazines will sometimes spend thousands of dollars to get a single cover photo, sending a photographer halfway around the world accompanied by an art director, an assistant photographer, a photo stylist, and crates full of lighting equipment. But for a religious magazine, that sort of approach is an unthinkable luxury. So to make our contents inviting to the eye, we count on ingenuity rather than dollars—the art director's ingenuity. Here's an example:

One of this issue's features originates in Malawi, a small country in southeastern Africa. Since there's no chance we could send a photographer, the editors rounded up a stack of snapshots. The story is very interesting, but the editors had no idea how to use these modest images to let you to know at a glance that it's worth your time.

So we shipped Bob the snapshots—and the challenge. To see what came dancing out of his imagination, check pages 39 to 43. I predict that it will bring a smile to your face.

UU World is one of several projects in Bob's portfolio as a freelance designer and illustrator. His most visible work for us is our covers. It's his job to make sure not only that they are visually arresting but also that they have integrity. They must be true to the spirit of the stories that inspire them and, in a culture saturated with exaggerated images intended to manipulate people into buying more stuff (including magazines), a religious magazine's covers must be scrupulously honest. So Bob carefully selects illustrators for the cover and for the major features, whose pages he also designs. His fine sense of visual metaphor is evident in this issue's cover, an illustration by David Hollenbach, and in the photo illustration that Bob himself created for the cover story (see page 26).

Bob has been an illustrator and a designer of books, magazines, and newspapers for more than thirty years, after studying printing arts in college and starting his career as a printer. He enjoys painting, and even though he lives on Long Island and has a fine New York accent, lately he has been painting western art, working in acrylics. Bob's illustrations have appeared in many national publications—including a fine cover illustration for World magazine in 2000, before it became UU World.

“With any design,” Bob says, “you consider the audience first. With the UU World audience, the words are really important. They should be presented in the best possible forum—giving them the right weight and space, balancing the typography and the visuals that help present it. The goal is to make reading a pleasure.

“If I were designing a fashion magazine, it would be very different.” UU World is no fashion magazine, but Bob certainly brings it a sense of style.

Tom Stites

 Contents: UU World Back Issue
: 2

Unitarian Universalist Association | 25 Beacon Street, Boston MA 02108 | 617-742-2100
Copyright © 2002-2004 Unitarian Universalist Association | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Search Our Site | Site Map