We know it’s important as designers to serve a diverse society—to use our creative powers for good. One important step we can take is to change how people of color and people who live in socioeconomic distress are perceived and how they perceive themselves. We designed HRDCVR to be a luxury magazine true to the diverse society in which we all live.
One of our goals is to start conversations about spaces for beauty in media created for people who are often marginalized and to elevate, via design, cultural narratives overlooked as plum content. We created a deeply designed experience because design is what people see from across the street. Because design is proof at first glance of the all-important attention paid to underserved communities. And because we are into building stories that unfold and pull people back to revisit them again and again. We were intentional about every design decision: from the choice of a creative director, to the weight of the paper, to the typography, to the details in footers at the bottom of every page. We created and published a design manifesto because design is as important—in some cases more important—than the written word. HRDCVR is also an actual hardcover to decrease the disposability factor.
HRDCVR is a counter to today’s norm of fast, bite-sized, and shallow bits. In today’s world, proof of creative attention paid may be one of the ultimate luxuries—and we think everyone should have access to it.
Danyel Smith is a cofounder of HRDCVR, a design-centered hardcover media project created by diverse teams for a diverse world. Danyel, most recently a John S. Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford University, has served as editor of Billboard, editor-at-large at Time Inc., and as editor-in-chief of VIBE. She has written for ESPN The Magazine, the Guardian, NPR, CNN, Rolling Stone, Condé Nast Media Group, and the New York Times. Danyel teaches at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. Born and brought up in California, Danyel Smith lives in Brooklyn.
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