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154 DESIGNING THE EDITORIAL EXPERIENCE
TEXT
Case Study:
Vanity Fair Italia
WEBSITE: VANITYFAIR.IT
FREQUENCY: WEEKLY
FORMAT: PRINT
LOCATION: MILAN
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: DEVIN PEDZWATER
EDITOR: LUCA DINI
OWNER: CONDÉ NAST
FOUNDED: 2004
International editions strike a delicate
balance between staying true to the
flagship publications editorial mission
and forging their own creative vision,
with content that feels true to its
readers’ interests. The truth is, Vanity
Fair has stood for many dierent
things in the more than 100 years
since the title first appeared—early
incarnations dating back to the
nineteenth century covered humor,
society, and theater. Regardless of
whether it’s speaking to European
or American readers, Vanity Fair
is universally witty, cosmopolitan,
and cultured.
The redesign of Vanity Fair Italia,
launched in May 2013, came after
more than a year without a creative
director at the helm. When American
designer Devin Pedzwater came
on board in late 2012, he had a lot
of cleaning up to do and worked
quickly to get the publication’s grid
structure, typography, and color
palette standardized once again.
With a preference for high-quality
photography (“the photography
is the star,” he says), Pedzwater
has divined from the pages a
renewed essence of glamour
and sophistication.
Devin Pedzwater
Creative Director,
Vanity Fair Italia
Devin Pedzwater is no stranger to
designing magazines for a mass audi-
ence. But the size, popularity, and
frequency of Vanity Fair Italia, which
produces more than 300 pages every
week, puts him in a whole new league.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylva-
nia, Pedzwater studied graphic design
at Penn State University and has built
a hefty editorial design portfolio that
includes art direction for Condé Nast
Traveler, Sports Illustrated, and Roll-
ing Stone. In his eight years at Spin,
Pedzwater was the creative director
responsible for the full brand redesign
in 2012, which was widely praised
for playing to the strengths of each
medium, but ultimately paved the way
for the publisher to pull the plug on
print. When we spoke just weeks after
his Vanity Fair Italia design relaunch,
he seemed remarkably calm for some-
one whose time is now split between
two countries.
When did you start working as
creative director of Vanity Fair
Italia and how has the transition
been for you?
I got the job oicially over Thanks-
giving 2012, and since then, I’ve been
going back and forth between New
York and Milan, doing two weeks
there, two weeks here.
The work culture and also the
life-in-Italy culture both came at
once. Everyone involved knew that
was going to be a challenge for me.
I always expect the worst and hope
for the best. But when I got there,
the transition was very easy. The sta
was very open to change; they wel-
comed me because they were looking
for someone to help them direct the
magazine into a new place.
What was the situation like when
you stepped in?
The last creative director was
Brian Anstey, who is now at InStyle
magazine. He worked directly in the
Milan oice for about two years. In
that time, he took the magazine,
redesigned it, and directed the whole
sta. Then, once his term was done,
Covers of Vanity Fair Italia, before
(left, May 2012) and after (right,
May 2013). The redesign was led
by Devin Pedzwater.
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