GreenSource Magazine: Forward-Thinking Design

GreenSource Magazine: Forward-Thinking Design GreenSource is a building trade magazine that is producing amazingly bright, intelligent, original design, filled with spectacular imagery, cutting-edge graphics, and sparkling typography. It's the work of Francesca Messina, Senior Group Art Director at the McGraw-Hill Construction group, and GreenSource art director Ted Keller. This is state-of-the-art magazine design, smartly produced with a small staff and a limited budget. 

Ted Keller was hired as the GreenSource art director in March 2009, and he and Messina quickly began work on a redesign. Says Messina, "Our goal was to create a design that communicated the authoritative and inspirational message of the magazine--that sustainable architecture, and living, can be practiced on every level." The result is a design that Messina describes as "forward thinking and authoritative, but also cool."

GreenSource, "The Magazine of Sustainable Design," is a bi-monthly, primarily controlled circulation magazine. Copies go to members of the U.S. Green Building Council, and additional subscriptions are sold. It's produced in New York City by the McGraw Hill Construction magazine group, with editorial partners Building Green, based in Brattleboro, Vermont.

(Above): "Curves Over Chicago" cover, January/February 2010.

"After the Snow Melts," January/February 2010. Display font: Infoboard.

Francesca Messina: GreenSource, the Magazine of Sustainable Design, covers the rapidly developing sustainable building industry, providing architects, engineers, contractors, and building owners with comprehensive guidance on the design and construction of environmentally responsible buildings. Case studies make up the core of the publication, with valuable technical information, weather charts, plans, illustrations, key project energy performance data, and green products.

"Curves Over Chicago," January/February 2010. Photographer: Steve Hall.

Francesca Messina: In the McGraw-Hill Construction magazine group, architectural firms hire top-tier photographers to shoot their projects, and selections from these shoots are chosen for the majority of GreenSource's project layouts.

"Chill Factor," March/April 2010. Photographer/model maker: HunterGatherer.

Francesca Messina: We try to boil down complex technical concepts to their simplest essence, then we build the story and the presentation to give rich, complex information that the readers actually get course credits for reading.

"It Isn't Easy Grading Green," May/June 2010. Illustration by Simon C. Page.

"The New Green U," September/October 2009. Photograph by Darren Braun. Display font: Cube02.

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Currents department page, July/August 2010. Illustration by Ana Juan.

Francesca Messina: GreenSource has been able to attract star writers (Elizabeth Kolbert from The New Yorker) and artists (New Yorker cover illustrator Ana Juan) who are eager to contribute to the debate about sustainability. Even though GreenSource is primarily a controlled circulation book, it has the crossover appeal of a consumer magazine because it presents a dialogue about the global green challenge.

"From the Ground Up," September/October 2009. Illustration by Alan Kikuchi.

Francesca Messina: "Every visual element in the magazine conveys information, including the photography, site plans, charts, and editorial illustrations. We partnered with information graphics designers Nicholas Felton, Bryan Christie, and Alan Kikuchi to redefine the data charts to be clear and concise, and to present the complex technical information in innovative and interesting ways."

"Yes, in My Back Yard," July/August 2009. Illustration by Bryan Christie Design.

The display font used in GreenSource is Soho and Soho Gothic. The body text is Proforma.

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(Left): "The Building That Breathes," March/April 2010 cover. Illustration by Bryan Christie Design. (Right): "New Havens," September/October 2009 cover. Photograph by Robert Benson.

Francesca Messina: For "The Building That Breathes," we started out planning to make the cover a photo of this green building project in Manitoba. Instead we used a diagram that shows all the building's unique green features. The "New Havens" cover: Yale University turned the site of a defunct power plant into a location for its school of forestry and environmental studies. Approximately half of the red oak paneling used in the interior spaces came from Yale's own sustainably-managed forest.

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  • Mike Solita

    Great stuff -- love this magazine. Smart and gorgeous. One thing you don't see here is how awesome the paper stock is. It's got that great chunky feel like Monocle. Really liked Ted's work at the Village Voice. Great to see more here. Go, Francesca!

  • alese


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