Home Grown: Creative Team of the Year Adweek

Home Grown: Creative Team of the Year

Last year, as Dwell magazine prepared its fifth-anniversary edition, Creative Director Claudia Bruno took a chance on using a different type of cover image. While her image made the business executives at the magazine nervous, her gamble paid off. Rather than using a perfectly staged, luxurious interior shot, Bruno opted for a photo of a middle-class family preparing for a neighborhood stroll.

Bruno, who only joined Dwell last May, says, "That cover was more about people than about architecture, which was really nerve-wracking to everyone. It was one of the best covers we’ve ever done." After publication, sales of Dwell skyrocketed and Bruno knew that they had a successful concept on their hands.

Since its inception, Dwell has insisted that architecture is more about the flesh and blood people that admire it rather than the actual structural components and artistic design. Their willingness to eschew the traditional cover shots of other architectural publications has won more than the reader’s hearts, it has also won the heart of Adweek Magazine, which recently selected Bruno and photo editor Kate Stone as Creative Team of the Year.

"We’re trying to dispel all the myths that modern architecture is cold, hard and unlivable," says Stone. "We want to show how accessible and cozy it can be, and how families can actually live in it." Stone should know since she is a former art buyer for agencies including Hal Riney and Publicis. Additionally, Bruno has held the position of creative director at companies like Banana Republic, Kate Spade, and Ann Taylor. The team achieves its success by searching far and wide for some of the best designed modern homes in the world. However, instead of utilizing a traditional architectural photographer for the shots, they use a portrait photographer who can portray both space and how the people that live there relate to it. “It’s not about fantasy the way some magazines are, where you look at it and go, ‘Someday...’ and then get back to your life,” says Bruno.

Dwell also won a National PDF to Flipbook Award for General Excellence in 2005, proving that they clearly have a winning formula for success. That same year, Dwell’s circulation rose to 269,710, a 25.5 percent increase from 2004. Additionally, newsstand sales rose 24 percent, to 80,049 copies, and ad pages rose 32 percent.