Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Iconic art director Roger Black leaving U.S. for Hong Kong

Roger Black is one of the best known, bigtime art directors. His name has been associated with the best known brands in the magazine business; their design and redesign. Apparently, while opportunity continues to knock for his ambitious style, it doesn't knock so much anymore in North America. 

According to a story in Adweek, Black has announced he is moving to Hong Kong to work for a Swiss publisher Edipresse, which produces high-end society magazines.
Perhaps the most prolific of his kind, Black made his reputation working on publications like Rolling Stone, Esquire and The New York Times Magazine, but also titles like Reader's Digest and the National Enquirer. He embraced digital technology, working on sites like MSNBC.com and Bloomberg.com and helping create a digital publishing platform, Treesaver. In 2012, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Society for News Design. 
Yet the U.S. print industry declined, and with it, the money for Roger Black redesigns. Black gave up his gracious New York apartment. "The old studio ideas of going around the U.S. and designing newspapers and magazines is not a good business anymore," said Black (who's as upbeat as ever, even when he’s talking about how grim the magazine business has become). "I’ve had this a lot—'Let’s get Roger!’" Black paused for effect. "‘He’s so expensive.’"
In a New York magazine profile of Black, cited when he received the SND lifetime award, writer Michael Wolff said
“We (the general reader) expect magazines to look the way Roger makes them look. Roger has created a standard. … A Roger design helps you deal with your insecurities. Roger moves you to where you want to be. At the front of a newsstand. At a power lunch. At the heart of pop culture.”

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