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The stories and the ‘lessons learned’ from the visual leaders of a great magazine

A TYPE event celebrating the contributions of Rolling Stone to the worlds of typography, publication design, photography and illustration—and considers the changes ahead for the iconic brand.

Rolling Stone magazine is at a turning point in its history. This conference celebrates its contributions to the worlds of typography, publication design, photography and illustration—and considers the changes ahead for the iconic brand.

This event happened Friday, May 25. Full video coverage will be available here soon. (Let’s say, July!)

Presented by TYPE. Sponsored by Rolling Stone, Penske Media Corporation (PMC), Alta magazine, and Type Network.

The event brings together the people who created a design legacy, from Rolling Stone’s first art director to its current one—plus photo editors and photographers who’ve immortalized a whole culture.

If you are interested in design, photography, typography, or rock and roll—you’ll want to be there. We’ll take stock of the magazine’s visual record as it embarks on its next 50 years—and a new partnership with Penske Media Corporation.

Register now!

Registration is closed.

Sign up now for The Art of Rolling Stone on May 25th. It’s the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, a great time to be in New York.

Tickets are just $129, plus Eventbrite’s handling fee.

For $10 more, become a TYPE Magazine member and get admission to the event for $139, plus fee.

Members of sponsoring design associations (TDC, SND, SPD, and Type Thursday) are also eligible for a discount. Log on to your group’s site, or look out for an e-mail message with the checkout code.

The presenters

Three generations of visual artists from 1967 to 2018 helped create an iconic publication. They’ve had diverse and interesting careers, inside and outside the media. These leaders will present their work, tell stories, share lessons, and explore the impact of their contributions today.

The designers and art directors

John Williams, the first art director, met Jann Wenner at Sunday Ramparts, a short-lived weekly.  John later was partner in a San Francisco design firm.

Lloyd Ziff, associate A.D. in the first decade, helped bring the style to the top rank of magazines. Lloyd later headed departments at New West, Conde Nast Traveler and Vanity Fair

Roger Black, editor of TYPE Magazine, is credited for Rolling Stone’s enduring typography. Roger was the fifth art director, and he is the program director of this event.

Melanie Ress, promotion art director around the magazine’s tenth anniversary, helped define the visual brand. She turned to the catering business, using the same visual skills.

Vincent Winter, associate art director 1977-1978, went on to Esquire. Moving to Paris in the ’80s, he was in on the first web boom. In recent years Vincent has had several one-man photography shows.

Fred Woodward was Rolling Stone’s art director from 1987–2001. The Society of Publication Designers recently honored him with the Herb Lubalin Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Andy Cowles, the art director who brought a sense of urgency to the magazine’s design in the 90s. Now back in London, he runs Cowles Media, a prominent branding agency.

Kory Kennedy was senior art director working with Andy Cowles, and later the design director of Entertainment Weekly. Now in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, he runs Kory Kennedy Design and a “paint and sip studio,” Bottle & Bottega.

Joe Hutchinson, former art director at the Los Angeles Times and current design director, continues to evolve the Rolling Stone style.

Gus Wenner is the president and COO of Rolling Stone. Previously the chief of the digital side, Gus is working to diversify and evolve Rolling Stone for the future.

The photo editors and photographers

From a photography perspective, we’re proud to present three of the best and most influential photo editors—at any magazine. And the first chief photographer.

Baron Wolman, chief photographer for the first three years, set the bar for photojournalism. His street photography and vivid portraits created a document for a great era of rock and roll.

Karen Mullarkey, the photo editor who strengthened the magazine’s photojournalism and worked closely with Annie Leibovitz. Karen went on to head the photo departments of New York, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated.

Laurie Kratochvil, the photo editor who expanded Rolling Stone’s style beyond its photojournalist routes. Laurie went on to InStyle magazine, before becoming an international visual consultant.

Jodi Peckman, the longtime creative director of Rolling Stone who has defined its contemporary style of portrait photography and photojournalism. Jodi edited the anniversary photography book, 50 Years of Rolling Stone.

The moderators

The day’s programming will be guided by two thoughtful observers and successful participants—and editor and a designer.

Terry McDonell was managing editor from 1981-1983, and later the chief editor of Esquire and Sports Illustrated. His 2017 book, An Accidental Life, tells great stories, including one with Hunter Thompson on the golf course.

Debbie Millman comes to the design of Rolling Stone as a very informed reader. For 20 years she led design at Sterling Brands. She runs the masters in the branding program at the School of Visual Arts. The program will include an episode on her long-running podcast, Design Matters.

The program

A full day of presentations

The opening event is a reception Thursday, May 24, at 6:30 pm in Chelsea. (By invitation only. If you’re registered and have not received the invite, please contact us.) The conference on the 25th begins with coffee at 9:00 am and presentations at 10:00, with a 90-minute break for lunch. The program comes to a close at 5:30 pm.

10:00 am: Introductions

10:15: The Type: Finding a Brand with John Williams, Lloyd Ziff, Vincent Winter, and Roger Black

With Rolling Stone kept up with the fast pace of music in the 1960s with a quickly evolving design.  The first art director, John Williams, will explain why the type was not “counter-culture.” Vincent Winter and Roger Black take us through a dynamic and eclectic period, and the development of the custom typeface that has been used for 40 years. 

11:10: On the cover of the . . .

Baron Wolman, the first principal photographer shows how he approached the task from the point-of-view of photojournalism, telling stories on the cover and inside the new magazine.

11:30: Photography: A Calling with Karen Mullarkey, Laurie Kratochvil, and Jodi Peckman

Three great photo editors talk about how the photo story developed at the magazine. They will take us through some stunning examples. share tips on how the assignment and selection process creates visual narrative and grabs attention.

12:30 pm: Lunch Break

1:30 pm: The Type: Reform and Revival with Andy Cowles, and Joe Hutchinson

Brand typography needs to be challenged to remain strong, and there have been disruptive periods in the magazine’s design direction. Andy Cowles and Joe Hutchinson will talk about the pros and cons of consistency and innovation.

2:30: Design by Team with Chris Austopchuck, Lloyd Ziff, Martine Winter, Vincent Winter, Melanie Ress, Kory Kennedy

Rolling Stone’s art department has attracted great staffers. This panel focuses on the effectiveness and fun of collaboration in design.

3:30: Lessons Learned: Branding

Andy Cowles shows how he has applied the experience and craft of magazine design to visual branding of all kinds.

4:00: Lessons Learned: The Magazine as an Idea

Chris Austopchuk’s love of magazines has impelled him to publish a luxurious style quarterly, Spirit & Flesh—in his spare time. He will try to answer questions like: Why print magazines? Will they survive? How can you adapt the magazine idea in digital form? What’s next?

4:30: For the Love of Rolling Stone with John Williams, Roger Black, Fred Woodward, Andy Cowles, and Joe Hutchinson

Five art directors tell stories and suggest what they’ve learned in the first 50 years of the magazine.

5:30: The Next Fifty Years

Gus Wenner, the president and chief operating officer of Rolling Stone (and the son of the founder) talks about the legacy of the brand and how he and a new team with new energy and resources are planning to build on it.

6:00: Close

The venue

The School of Visual Arts Theatre
333 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011

Hotel: A discount is available at the Hyatt Herald Square, on 31st Street just east of Sixth Avenue. You’ll be sent the code and reservation link when you register.

The producers

Our first event

This one-day conference is organized by TYPE, the first of a regular series about typography and design. Roger Black, the editor of the magazine, is the program director of the event.

We started close to home, since Roger was art director of Rolling Stone, 1976-1978. He will be presenting some of his work during the conference.

Lucas Czarnecki, digital editor, is the event manager. Now at work on the new web site for TYPE, has been marketing manager of Tom Tom Founders, a music festival in Charlottesville.


Rolling Stone, Penske Media Corporation, Alta Magazine

Type Network

Type Directors Club

Society of Publication Designers

Society for News Design

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