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We’ll Have That Redesign Chicken-Fried To Go, Please

We’ve always been card-carrying, flag-waving Texas Monthly fans (which is, in our esteem, currently a better magazine than New York, though that bias could stem from our hometown’s proximity to the Mason-Dixon line) but we’ve been immersing ourselves in past issues lately for reasons that will become apparent on the mothership tomorrow. In fact, we’re so smitten with the look of the current issue that we decided to do some research into the redesign TM unveiled about a year ago.

Behold the 28-year-old creative director: Scott Dadich joined the art team back in 2000 (Yes, at age 23; yes, we’re jealous.) and as he’s risen in the ranks, the magazine’s just gotten purtier and purtier. TM, of course, has a long history of being incredibly good-looking (former AD DJ Stout is now a partner at Pentagram), but in Dadich’s hands, the book has really become something to behold.

The redesign brought more color, a playful use of parentheticals, L-shaped brackets in the gutters of edit pages to distinguish from ads, and a cool typeface, Sentinel, that was custom-made to be “distinctly Texas.” What that means, we’re not sure, but we believe it when we look at the display type that crimps where the lines of a letter meet. Just look at this “t” and try not to think of the notches in a longhorn, the curve of a saddle or spurs, and other stereotypical Tex-cessories!

Oh, and the photography’s also pretty top-notch, too. Here’s Dadich to PDN a few years back:

“The work the photographers were turning in was not that good,” says Dadich of his first year on the job. “I had several heated conversations with photographers who shot for the magazine for a long time. I put the photographers on notice that predictable and safe wasn’t going to be good enough… I’m looking for pictures that don’t default to a shooting standard of mythic Texas. We needed to go 180 degrees.”

“I have a specific goal and agenda for every piece. The photos tell a parallel story that goes to the emotional core. They build a mood, an alternate take. I want the readers to turn their head a little bit and ask, ‘What’s going on here?’”

Check and check. If you don’t stop to gawk at the queasy grotesquerie that accompanies this month’s article on chicken-fried everything, well, then, you’re made of heartier stock than we are.

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