Barcode is an independent publishing project of the German company Indochine Media. The city magazine is published in three countries — Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia. It has rapidly gained popularity and is unique among traditional monthly periodicals for young people.
Michael von Schlippe
Indochina Media, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
RR Donnelley Asia, China
Sergey Fedorov (issues 1–3)
Brian Lucid, Guy Jeffrey Nelson (Font Bureau)
Emmanuel Rey (b+p swiss typefaces)
Matthew Burvill (HouseOfBurvo)
John Hersey, Jonathan Barnbrook (Emigre)
© Masterskaya, 2011
Even in Vietnam, a so-called developing economy, the publishing market is quite saturated. Indochine Media did not want to replicate what was already being done by the local publishers; neither did it want to pay for an international brand license; so they came up with the idea of launching a magazine for young people that would focus on their city and its points of interest.
Barcode’s editorial staff consists of three people in each of the three countries; most of the materials are supplied through crowdsourcing.
The magazine has four core sections: feature articles, usually not related to any specific newsmakers; short articles; reviews and event announcements; and a service block. Cover photos and captions are separate materials.
The layout was inspired by the Japanese tabloids of the late 1980s and turned out to be extremely popular with Vietnamese young people, who saw it as an embodiment of their visual aspirations.
The magazine was meant to become an interpretation of the city space, a sort of map which would offer its readers information on several levels simultaneously.
The layout is based on a run-through grid and the Fibonacci sequence, making it possible to create three different visual solutions for the magazines published in three different countries, while fitting in naturally with a given language and space and at the same time preserving its own identity.
In terms of typography, the magazine uses two styles of typesetting: the crisp and balanced Кafka Text, Kafka Stensil and Franz Grotesk body typefaces, and unique letterings for each section.
We are also planning to introduce an online service for mobile platforms.
The artist Sergey Kalinin used as a starting point the Interstate Pi typeface (GuyJeffreyNelson, Font Bureau, 1994), which includes a set of highway signs. The idea was for icons to open each new section and sometimes line up to form a message.
The theme of travelling is covered in all its numerous aspects: baggage, transport, services, the very principle of events coming and going in quick succession, etc.
This design was inspired by Vespa and Honda scooters, the Vietnamese alphabet, Vietnamese carnival and theater masks and puppets.
The KafkaTypefamily font family was designed by Zhenya Yukechev in 2010–2012. This font family is intended for books and magazines; it is suitable for prolonged reading and includes display faces and alternative characters. Stylistically, this typeface is a fresh replica of German modern serif of the late 18th — early 19th centuries, the era of Justus Erich Walbaum. Its slightly narrowed proportions and moderate contrast make lines look firm and neat. This font family also includes a large display face (Kafka Text Stensil), which was released in Barcode’s design layout.
The New Old typeface includes five fonts, two of which (New Old Outline Expanded Bold and New Old Ultra Expanded Black) were created by Maria Doreuli for Barcode’s design layout.