• Boat_magazine_issue7_designed_by_she_was_only2

    She Was Only: Boat magazine issue seven

Graphic Design

Behind The Scenes: She Was Only talk about redesigning Boat magazine

Posted by Rob Alderson,

When the seventh issue of Boat Magazine dropped through our door a couple of weeks ago we interested to see that it had undergone a redesign. For the Lima issue, London studio She Was Only had refreshed the look and feel with a new masthead, a new approach to layouts and some nice new visual tricks. We spoke to the studio’s Craig Scott about their involvement in the globetrotting magazine.

  • Boat_magazine_issue7_designed_by_she_was_only3

    She Was Only: Boat magazine issue seven

  • Boat_magazine_issue7_designed_by_she_was_only6

    She Was Only: Boat magazine issue seven

How did you come to take over the design of Boat magazine? What was the brief you were given?

After six issues the editorial team felt like it was time to readdress what the magazine was and where it sat on the shelf. It started off as a portfolio piece for their creative studio not as an intentionally commercial proposition, and with the magazine relocating its HQ to Los Angeles (from London) the editor Erin Spens felt that now was good time to revisit how its design.

Chris, one of the partners at She Was Only has had a working relationship with Boat Magazine since its third issue in London and subsequently joined them on location as a contributor in both Athens and Kyoto (fourth and fifth issue).

When Erin asked us to refresh the magazine we jumped at the chance but having this prior knowledge meant that we were never working from a totally clean slate.

What would you characterise as the main changes you made as a studio? 

One of the biggest changes we made to the magazine was its masthead. We aimed to create something that was not only recognisable, but confident as a brand mark. The previous masthead was more discreet in a luggage tag lock up. Our brand refresh elevated the masthead, making it a more ownable and distinguishable asset, which works both off and on the cover. 

Inside the magazine, we introduced cleaner layouts, allowing the content to stand out. We created a sophisticated typographic palette inspired by classic literary journals, which we think reflects the quality of the journalism. We utilised large titles to celebrate the stories and bring the contributors to the forefront. 

  • Boat_magazine_issue7_designed_by_she_was_only4

    She Was Only: Boat magazine issue seven

  • Boat_magazine_issue7_designed_by_she_was_only5

    She Was Only: Boat magazine issue seven

  • Boat_magazine_issue7_designed_by_she_was_only7

    She Was Only: Boat magazine issue seven

Tell us about the painted type treatments introducing the articles; how did they come about?

The brushed type treatment that punctuates the magazine was influenced by hand-painted signage commonly found in Peru. We wanted them to be large, impactful, and introduce character without interfering with the articles, so used them independently as title pages. By staggering these throughout, we also varied the pace and flow of the publication. 

The challenge with Boat is that each issue focuses on a different city; how do you respond to that as a designer? What might change to reflect that and what will stray consistent?

There is the obvious temptation to run wild and totally change up the design of each issue to reflect the city but we feel that this might be a bit short-sighted. Some cities have obvious colour palettes, type choices and visual cues that we could draw upon and some just don’t. We wanted to create a system that is flexible, clean and recognisable but also allows for a little bit of expression. 

One consistent thread though is that wherever Boat visits, it brings or sources local contributors of a very high calibre, ranging from Pulitzer prize writers to award-winning photographers. By treating their content with respect and applying cleaner editorial layouts we not only showcase their work but more importantly, champion the content. This is where the character of the city really comes through and why the magazine has such a loyal fanbase. 

  • Boat_magazine_issue7_designed_by_she_was_only10

    She Was Only: Boat magazine issue seven

  • Boat_magazine_issue7_designed_by_she_was_only8

    She Was Only: Boat magazine issue seven

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Behind The Scenes View Archive

  1. Main

    No magazine gets snapped up and devoured like Apartamento when it arrives into the It’s Nice That studio – there’s something about its size, understated beauty and incomparable wit that makes it irresistable. It states that it’s an “everyday life interiors magazine,” but it’s so much more than that, providing in-depth interviews with some of the coolest people who walk on this earth, with snooping photographs of their dwellings to boot. Now on its 14th edition, I wanted to ask Omar Sosa, the magazine’s much-loved founder, a little about this issue, those in the past, and where Apartamento is headed.

  2. Main1

    Embarrassingly, I only recently realised the magic and majesty of The Paris Review. I came across it when a recent issue was illustrated by one of my favourite artists, Chris Ware. Eager to see who was responsible for this decision, I tracked down their art editor and came across Charlotte Strick. Charlotte is a fantastic, intelligent book jacket designer who is utterly seeped in the work that she makes, so much so that she writes about design almost as much as she practices it. I was keen to speak to Charlotte about what she did and what got her there, but I wasn’t prepared for the level of detail she was to go in. – she gives a truly spectacular interview. Here she is…

  3. List

    It’s a well-established fact that even the most conceptually exciting product designs can fall flat on their face if they’re photographed poorly. Imagery can often make or break these projects. And while of course this isn’t the be-all and end-all, it’s worth taking this part of the process seriously to maximise the chances of your work cutting through the noise.

  4. List

    A couple of weeks ago, Channel 4 aired a documentary (below) which saw photographer Giles Duley (himself a triple amputee) meet some of the disabled victims of the war in Syria. It was a difficult watch but an extremely important story to tell, and one that meant a lot to Giles. He got in touch to say that although The Guardian ran an in-depth piece on the same theme, he had some photographs which weren’t used that he was really keen to get out there.

  5. List

    Lawrence Zeegen has never been one to mince his words. The illustrator, writer and dean of design at London College of Communication has recently launched his new book Fifty Years Of Illustration which he co-wrote with Grafik editor Caroline Roberts. It’s an impressively ambitious undertaking with the duo condensing five decades into 1,000 images by 240 illustrators from 30 countries. Lawrence admits it’s a “pretty personal selection” but one that aims to “represent the movers and shakers across each decade according to the work I believe was instrumental in shaping the discipline.”

  6. List

    In December last year we received a zine in the post from Yorkshire-based photographer Christopher Nunn that documented a small selection of images he’d gathered in Ukraine. Kalush offered a unique perspective on a region that was thrust suddenly and violently into the public consciousness, showing us the quiet, everyday side of a place that – from television coverage at least – you’d have been forgiven for assuming was razed to the ground.

  7. Main

    Victoria Siddall has worked at Frieze for just over a decade and two years ago was made Director of Frieze Masters. Excitingly, just a few weeks ago she was appointed Director of Frieze Masters, Frieze New York and Frieze London. As well as being one of the most powerful women in the art world, Victoria is also my sister, so I was curious to find out how she’s feeling on the dawn of her new career.

  8. List

    Forget what you think you know about surfing; the “gnarly dudes” on the hunt for “tubular waves” (I’m basing most of this language on Sean Penn’s character in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, but you catch my drift). Finisterre’s latest surf film is more in line with Jonathan Glazer’s legendary Guinness ad than any piece of footage you’re likely to see for O’Neill or Billabong. For one thing it’s not set in an exotic location – there are no bikini-clad babes – as they’ve traded warmer waters for the icy depths off the coasts of northern Scotland and Ireland.

  9. .jpg?1413390909

    All too often these days we stumble across a jaw-dropping example of set design, only to discover the impressive final image is actually the result of some clever visual trickery and digital manipulation. That’s an impressive art unto itself, don’t get me wrong, but pure CGI can leave me feeling a little shortchanged.

  10. List

    When David Mckendrick told us he was leaving Esquire and setting up a new venture with Wallpaper* art director Lee Belcher, we were fascinated to see what the fruits of such a top-notch collaboration might look like. Last week we got our answer, when a copy of the new Christie’s magazine came dropping through our letterbox.

  11. Main

    Ever see those massive billboards of ice-cold beverages and think “who actually photographs those?” Well now we know, it’s Nick Rees, a still-life photographer who specialises in drinks. From pints of Guinness as black as night, to a mouthwatering, fizzing glass of ice cold Coca-Cola, Nick manages to fill your mouth up with saliva with every image he takes. Want to know the best bit? He doesn’t even use CGI – he states that each of his images is “100% a photograph.” We caught up with Nick to find out the ins-and-outs of this niche branch of photography…

  12. List

    Flickr is one of those magical treasure mines of the internet that’s sure to yield gems if you just look hard enough, and every now and again on our travels we stumble across a great hunk of uncut diamond. To continue the metaphor, Dave Glass is one such treasure.

  13. Main

    London-based brand Heresy presented its new collection this week in the guise of its Autumn Winter 2014 lookbook. Entitled Forming, the collection is a quiet amalgamation of illustration and traditional workwear, combining illustrated elements and hand-drawn type with carefully crafted structural staples made from loop-back jersey and felted wool.