Cows are getting a lot of press these days, most of it bad. Whether it is because of their climate-destroying metabolism, the use of vampire steroids in their rearing or the deeper meaning of steak, media outlets everywhere have been serving juicy stories on the ins and outs of red-meat consumption. Any media report involving animals and/or food is creative fodder for news illustrators, graphic designers and visual punsters. Remember the raw piece of meat in the shape of the USA that illustrated A. A. Gill's take on steak? Or the whole new genre of meat-related hilarity surrounding the European horse meat scandal? There you go.
In the UAE, a number of magazine editorials have focused, perhaps unsurprisingly, on the less ominous, more marketable aspects of our infatuation with beef, such as restaurant reviews and recipes. Variations on this theme have been echoing through local newsstands of late. A perennial favourite appears to be quasi-educational cookbook-style diagrams showing different cuts of beef. I was surprised (in a really boring way) to see that two of the UAE's major listings magazines, Time Out Abu Dhabi and good, both featured extremely similar coverage of this kind in short succession: the specimen pictured above came out in Time Out Abu Dhabi this week and is very similar to last month's cover story in good magazine, pictured below.
Sometimes it really seems that UAE listings magazines are desperate for content ideas. Coverage tends to evolve around a relatively short list of ever-repeating topics, which magazines take turns to repackage. In the world of UAE listings, the food section reigns supreme, but the limited roster of angles means that you keep coming across the same stories over and over again.
A more creative and meaningful recent bovine illustration comes from Dubai-based illustrator Sasan Saidi, as part of an editorial assignment for Think magazine:
That's more like it. I'll keep my eyes open for more meaty visuals from the UAE and other GCC countries. Please do let me know if you spot one in local or regional media, I would love to hear about it!