Magazine article Dissent

Daniel McClain: 1947-2002

Magazine article Dissent

Daniel McClain: 1947-2002

Article excerpt

HIS NAME wasn't on our masthead. You could find it in six-point type at the bottom of the table of contents: cover designs by Daniel McClain. But for five years, since he redesigned our journal, Dan was a strong force at Dissent. Each quarter we struggled to find the words that would entice newsstand browsers to pick us up and subscribers to open us up. We would e-mail the titles to Dan and wait for his interpretation. We were rarely disappointed. He made the type breathe, the titles dance. Not that we ever accepted a design without some dissent (he favored modern tones, more kinetic presentation; we wanted bolder color but more traditional placement of type). With each issue he gently nudged us to be more daring, to take design risks. He wasn't happy if he thought he was repeating his work.

We were a small client. When I received news of his death from another editor, I learned that Dan had been awarded several Ellies, the magazine world's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. He had never told us this, but we knew when we saw his portfolio that we were lucky to be working with him. His big love was nature, and the magazines he showed us at that first meeting reflected that love: Audubon, Oceans, Archaeology, Field and Stream. …

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