Prairie Chic by Trevett McCandliss & Nancy Campbell

From Prairie to Platinum: Trevett McCandliss & Nancy Campbell

When it comes to fashion photography and design, Footwear Plus Magazine’s “Prairie Chic” is a standout project. With a Platinum award for design and a Gold for photography, this editorial spread showcases the incredible talent of Graphis Master designers Trevett McCandliss and Nancy Campbell. Inspired by classic typographic styles and the energy of a remote photo shoot during the pandemic, the designers created a custom-type design and constructed a tent studio to capture the dreamy, folky aesthetic of the footwear featured in the spread. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what makes this award-winning project so special.

By: Trevett McCandliss and Nancy Campbell, McCandliss & Campbell

“Our goal for this design was to create an opening spread to an editorial fashion story that was both conceptually pure and beautiful to look at.

“To represent the chic austerity of this classically conceived, day-lit fashion photograph, we referenced the typographic language of fashion magazines originated by Alexey Brodovich in the pages of Harper’s Bazaar from the 1930s through the 1950s. The forms of the timeless fonts Bodoni and Didot are both elegant, with their contrast of thick and thin strokes, and modern, with their precise geometry. 

“We added a top note of a high-contrast blackletter to this basic typographic palate, which becomes the hook of the entire design. The swooping capital P references the whirling dress the model so deftly wields. The subsequent letterforms spin out in repetitions of italic characters in diminishing sizes, like a diminuendo in a musical score. 

“A grayed-down echo of the “P” alludes to the swirling motion of the dress in the photo. Its stormy trajectory connects the entire design as it blows its way through the page. The punked-out italic with its filled-in counters lends some necessary darkness and bulk to the texture of the typographic design.

“To create the atmosphere for the opening image, we were inspired to construct the sort of tent studio that Irving Penn used when photographing his subjects in remote locations. In our case, the remote location we worked in was a backyard in suburban Long Island during the pandemic. The neutral area of the outdoor studio provided just the type of space where we could create dreamy fashion images. 

“The model stands absolutely still, her hypnotic gaze riveted to the lens. She whips her dress which erupts into a storm of whirling, spinning fabric. All this intensity is set off by the muted tones, soft light, and balanced composition of the photograph. 

“By vibing off the energy of the photo, we were inspired to create a unique, custom-type design to open a fashion story about simple, folky footwear.”

See more work from McCandliss & Campbell here. | Read more about McCandliss / Campbell collaborations in Graphis Journal #368.

To see other Design 2023 winners, click here. If you would like to enter our current Design 2024 competition, click here.

Author: Graphis