An unglamorous page, true, but it’s also a clever multi-tasker, says Mark Porter
The contents page. The T. O. C. (Table of Contents). Sommario. Sommaire. Inhalt. Making a good one is an under-appreciated art. Although, after the cover, it is usually the first piece of editorial content that readers see, it can often be the last thought for editors and designers. Rarely considered glamorous or important enough to be part of the initial client / editor presentation, the contents page is easily forgotten while more engaging or problematic parts of the magazine are sweated and agonised over. On one of our recent redesign projects, editorial guidance and text for the contents arrived just twenty minutes before the printer’s deadline, causing profound anxiety and an intense 100-metre sprint of enforced creativity. Really, the T. O. C. deserves better.
Top: Illustration by Jason Ford.
Mark Porter is principal of Mark Porter Associates and former creative director of The Guardian
Read the full version in Eye no. 96 vol. 24, 2018
Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues. You can see what Eye 96 looks like at Eye Before You Buy on Vimeo.