If you’re an SFA member, you noticed that Gravy magazine got a face lift for the fall issue. For that spiffy new design, we thank Richie Swann, a Charleston, SC–based magazine designer.
Gravy: Where and how did you learn magazine design?
Richie Swann: I started my magazine career at Garden & Gun in 2007. Rob Hewitt was the art director at the time, and he taught me the fundamentals. In 2008 Marshall McKinney came on board and taught me how to work off of a grid. They are two of the most talented individuals I’ve ever worked with and have greatly influenced my personal style. I was also grateful to work on a print redesign at Southern Living under Felicity Keane, Bob Perino, Paul Carstensen, and Chris Hoke.
G: What drew you to a food-culture organization like the SFA?
RS: I was born in Georgetown, SC, and raised by three phenomenal cooks: my mother and two grandmothers. I have been fascinated by the waves Southern cuisine has made nationally with dishes I consumed almost every day of my life. Organizations like SFA allow me to learn about the nuances between different regions of the South and its people.
G: Let’s nerd out on design for a moment: What are some of your favorite magazine designs, either individual elements or entire brands?
RS: New York magazine is one of my biggest influences. I gravitate toward restrained design with little pops of color and beautiful use of type. I also like to follow superstars like Tom Brown and Rob Hewitt, who design multiple titles and really push the limits of what a magazine is supposed to be. And of course, I admire what Marshall McKinney is doing at Garden & Gun.
G: What’s your dream story to design?
RS: I would have to say a feature that opens on a double-trucker (spread) with beautiful, contrasting images—one close up, one far away—with a super cool type treatment that adds to the graphic tension. Smart photography would adorn the piece throughout and include accents of some incredible illustrator’s spots paired with great pull quotes from the story. I love maps too, but that might be overkill.
Sounds good to us, Richie! We look forward to seeing what you do next in the winter issue.
Join the SFA now to receive the fall issue of Gravy.