Surface Magazine vs Residente Magazine

It’s time for another mayor battle of bitches magazines. We have two great magazines that seem to share more than an interest for the contemporary stuff: Surface Magazine and Residente. 

The other day I received this magnificent collaboration from graphic designer and of course I had to share it. It is clear that we have a copycat in here, and I know this word is very serious, but it’s the only one that comes to mind; and I often give the benefit of the doubt hoping that they are just coincidences and inspirations, but this time I have no doubt. So the question here is not who did it better because they are the same, but who did it first?, so let’s see.

Surface vs Residente my f opinion

“Surface” is a magazine founded in 1993 in New York City, and they define themselves as the American magazine of global contemporary design; it is published 10 times a year and provides articles of architecture, fashion, art and design. And like all projects this magazine has also evolved over time, its current editorial design (the one you are watching) was released in its issue no. 101 of July / August of 2013.

Now let’s see its opponent. “Residente” is a Mexican publication of the publishing group Periscopio Media and was founded in 2008. It began as a magazine of urban consciousness that talked about of environment, economy, infrastructure, society and culture of different cities like Monterrey, Mexico and Cancun. During this year (2015) the Monterrey’s edition changed its concept to “Culinary Culture” to discuss month by month the cuisine of this city, and with this conceptual change came also this “new design” which seems to be identical to the magazine Surface.

So there you go, I don’t need to point who copy who right? And since many designers have realized this and have expressed their disagreement, Residente had no choice but to respond, and here is what they said:

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“Dear reader, in fact, the arrangement of the grid on the cover, the section “En Portada(On Cover)”and the first page of “Sociedad(Society)” are taken faithfully from the US magazine Surface. The rest of the publication contains a strong influence of it (Surface), as the titles rotated 90 degrees. As issues go on, Residente will take its aesthetic and graphic path, and its needs will take it to its own course. However, the influence of this great publication will still be present in the coming years. We are very sorry to have disappointed you and we trust that in the future issues you notice the changes to your satisfaction. We appreciate your comments that have made us think about it and will rush us to make improvements.”

Let’s not try to disguise this with inspiration and “a strong influence,” the copy is clear. But those characteristics, or influences as they wanted us to call them, aren’t all, there is much more from where that came from, and I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but I would like to enlist what I found:

  1. Identical grid and arrangement of the elements in the cover such as titles, photography, and date.
  2. Three-column grid in the inside.
  3. Same location of headers and footers.
  4. The use of black and white images in the same sections and ways.
  5. Titles, captions and photographs of the articles located in the same positions.
  6. Color transition within the publication, sheets in ivory, white, and light blue.
  7. Interview sections with the same typographical characteristics: bold typography with left indent for questions, and regular serif typeface for answers.

I don’t understand the need to make a copy, there is no reason to do it even if you get really inspired by it, we have to respect the work from our fellow designers, and the worst is that if people hadn’t realized about this, I’m sure they would still use it. So let’s hope that in their next issue we can see a real change because remember I’ll always be watching, and if it’s not me, there will be a collaborator happy to help.

 But well.. at least this is my f opinion.

Surface vs Residente my f opinion 7

Left: Surface          Right: Residente

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UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2015

After hearing and reading the discomfort from many designers of Monterrey, the magazine Residente: Cultura Culinaria, in its September issue No.090 made some changes in its design, being the cover design the most significant.

Although the grid and some details remain the same, the magazine made some changes that start giving the magazine its own style, so let’s see our list to see what they did:

  1. Identical grid and arrangement of the elements in the cover such as titles, photography, and date. Totally different 
  2. Three-column grid in the inside. It still has the 3 column grid, but now they are using two columns as one for the main text in the articles. ✓
  3. Same location of headers and footers. They changed their location to the sides instead of positioning them in the center. ✓
  4. The use of black and white images in the same sections and ways. In the few pictures I could find there are no b&w images, but don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that they can’t use them, they can use them, but not in the same way. 
  5. Titles, captions and photographs of the articles located in the same positions. They are still using the pictures in the same way and with the same blank frames, but the titles and captions did change, they are no longer vertical and now they are bigger and with a sans serif typography. 
  6. Color transition within the publication, sheets in ivory, white, and light blueGoodbye light blue, hello light pink. Pff
  7. Interview sections with the same typographical characteristics: bold typography with left indent for questions, and regular serif typeface for answers. Now everything is serif and the questions have no longer the left indent. 

I know, the change wasn’t an extreme, but at least they did something about it. I really thought that they were going to change all the editorial design after the complaints, but they didn’t, they stayed true to what they said about the “the influence of this great publication will still be present in the coming years.” thing. But I think it’s going to be very difficult to remove that image of copycat and not associate every change with Surface magazine, unless they make an extreme makeover.

Btw, sorry for the bad resolution photographs, I took them from their video, they are no longer uploading the editions to the internet, I guess they don’t want more of my posts. Ha.

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2 thoughts on “Surface Magazine vs Residente Magazine

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