Bottle critique

Before reading texts this week, I glanced through Taste (Winter 2020) and noted my first impressions.  Generally, I found that the layouts of articles in Taste magazinewere comfortingly similar to the Ontario LCBO magazine Food & Wine, which I have more experience with. Yet the layout within the articles “More For Your Pour” (pp. 12-13) and “Wine & Bonbons” (pp. 58-61) use bottles of liquor on their side, which I found striking in their alignment.  In “More For Your Pour” (pp. 12 -13), the pages use a grid of 4 rows and 3 columns.  On page 12, one row is used for the title of the article. The grid is easier to see on page 13 as each sideways bottle creates a row, and the body of the bottle, the neck of the bottle and then the alternate bottle which is flipped (above and below) form the third column.   

Wine title and descriptionNeck of the wine bottleBody of the bottle
Body of the bottleNeck of the wine bottleWine title and description
Wine title and descriptionNeck of the wine bottleBody of the bottle
Body of the bottleNeck of the wine bottleWine title and description

In contrast, the article “Wine & Bonbons” (pp. 58-61) begins with an unusual double-page layout with two upright bottles, one sideways bottle, bonbons, titles and descriptions for each and then a beeline pattern to help the eye travel to each item.  The grid is much more challenging to identify, and I find the layout confusing, even unsettling. The juxtaposition of horizontal and vertical, the diagonal Dutch angle of the bonbons in the top left corner, and even the different levels of the bottles are not aligned.  Page 61 is similar to the layout of page 13 with repeatedly horizontal bottles.  The unifying element is a meandering line that I think metaphorically invites the reader to sample wine and bonbons alternately.  On page 61, it is easy to see which bonbon is recommended to go with which wine, but the layout on 59 is difficult in which to find meaning. In fact that horizontal wine bottle on its own is distracting from the overall message.  Overall, I much prefer the cohesive layout of “More For Your Pour” (pp. 12-13) which has symmetry, repetition and alignment.


Hass, A. (2015). Chapter 3. Design elements, design principles, and compositional organization. In W. Collins, A. Hass, K. Jeffery, A. Martin, R. Medeiros, & S. Tomljanovic (Authors), Graphic design and print production fundamentals. BCCampus.

Taste. (2020/21, Winter).

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