Complex: Style and Design Issue

Complex: Style and Design Issue

Tim Leong, Design Director at Complex, sends a behind-the-scenes update from their Aug/Sept issue on stands now:
It's our 5th Annual Style and Design Issue, in which we did collaborations between artists and the photoshoots for both of our covers and cover stories.

On one side we have singer/songwriter Keri Hilson, and paired her with the great French artist So-Me (who directed videos for Kanye West, Kid Cudi and JUSTICE).

Here's a link to the video/story/gallery and here's a link to an interview with the artist, So-Me. We loved the typography and playful lettering So-Me had done in his video work, and we looking a similar feeling on the cover. So-Me wasn't able to come to the US for the shoot, so we had our photographer, Matt Doyle, shoot Keri on white backgrounds where So-Me's art could easily be incorporated afterward. So-Me's idea for the interior art was to have all these cat characters that were in love with her.
Thumbnail image for keri_hilson_complex_cover.jpg
On the other side we have the breakthrough rapper Kid Cudi and Augor, this great grafitti artist in LA. Here's a link to the behind the scenes video/story/gallery and here's a link to the artist's cover process, including all the different illustration revisions we went through.

We presented Kid Cudi with a couple options for artists and he chose Augor. The idea was to find someone who could do dark and playful themes. This was Augor's first magazine work, and he really did a great job. When he came to set, he already had a bunch of sketches and ideas, which we then incorporated and played with while we were shooting.


Some of the interior spreads from the issue:


The Complex team includes:
Tim Leong, Design Director
Anthony Clarke, Designer
Marian Isel Barragan, Photo Editor
Krystal Atwater, Assistant Photo Editor
Matt Doyle, Staff Photographer

Hey! You've probably got some NEW WORK to share, and we want to see it! We'll welcome anything that's gone to the printer recently, something you're especially proud of and think might be inspiring to the membership and readers of Grids. We'll note the credits and the publication and shine a little light on the latest and greatest in publication design.

Please reduce your layouts to no larger than 1200 pixels wide and don't forget to include all relevant credits and a little background (if you feel like). Send your submissions to and we'll post them as we get them.

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  • Mark Kaufman

    Great collaboration between design dept. photogs, and illustrators around the world. Must have been quite a task to get this to come together so well. And thanks for the link to the So-Me interview.

  • Ralph

    The photography just doesn't measure up to the amazing illustrations and hand-drawn type... it's very disconcerting

  • david ross

    My only criticism would be I think the model photo needs more vibrant, primary colors that interacts a bit better with the typography. She needs to look more plastic to really pull the whole look together.

  • Darrell

    Very Cool! I am surprised at how much I enjoy the mix!

  • Ward Sutton

    This is really, really cool - a brilliant and fun combo of illustration and photo.

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