magazine design


In 1999, while I was the Senior Designer at Bloomberg’s Creative Services Department, I was asked to completely redesign Bloomberg Japan Magazine. Previously, the Japanese-language version of the magazine was a direct translation of everything in the english edition of Bloomberg Magazine. Overseas customers had been requesting that the magazine be more focussed on the asian markets, so I was asked to revamp the look and feel of the magazine to more-closely reflect this audience’s tastes

Because this bimonthly magazine had a tight production schedule to follow, I had to come up with a new design and templates for the entire publication in only two weeks. An additional challenge was that the entire layout needed to be created in the Japanese version of Quark XPress, which primarily only had kanji menus. Since I don’t understand Japanese, this was a real problem at first, but I quickly adapted. I was intimately familiar with where all of the English version of the software’s functions and menus were located, so it wasn’t long before I could navigate and build the layout, even though I couldn’t read what most of the menus said.


Because I would be the sole designer responsible for the look of each issue, it was essential to simplify the number of templates, style sheets and fonts used, which actually ended up fitting in perfectly with the Japanese aesthetic. For example, I used a symmetrical design for the top and bottom of each page, so there would be no need to reformat a page if the addition of a full-page ad changed a editorial page from a left-hand to a right-hand layout. I consulted with other asian journalists and the Bloomberg Japan Magazine’s Editor in Chief, and picked up as many Japanese magazines as I could in order to get a sense of what was expected design-wise in a financial markets magazine tailored for Japan’s audience.

Another issue was that - because of the shift in editorial emphasis toward original articles tailored to the asian markets - new photography and illustrations would be needed. The Editor in Chief would give me a brief synopsis (in English) of each article so that I could come up with ideas, and assign photography and commission illustrations for each article. I also did all of the scanning and color correction of photos and illustrations as well, and occasionally, because of deadline restraints, shot the cover photography myself. The January/February 2000, September/October 2000, and July/August 2001 issues shown here are examples of covers and interior pages that I conceived, assembled, composed, photographed  and digitally manipulated myself.

The first issue of the redesigned magazine was a huge project to execute in a very short time, but I managed to get the new magazine printed on schedule, and customers in Japan were very pleased to have a magazine that was more tailored -- both aesthetically and editorially -- to their interests. 

Bloomberg Japan Magazine eventually morphed back into a design that more-closely reflected the English version (now called Bloomberg Markets Magazine), but for the ten years I served as Art Director of it, the Japanese edition (until it was killed off in 2009) was a unique publication in which I am proud to have participated. 

Click below to see larger images of the covers I designed, as well as the featured cover article layouts and related illustrations.

Contact me at pyxl8r@me.comRésumé available upon request. This site ©2017 by Ken Palmer. Images by other artists and photographers are shown for portfolio purposes only. Requests for removal of images owned by others will be honored immediately. Do not copy or otherwise infringe upon my -- or anyone else's --  work!