At the beginning of the month Esquire launched their latest issue and with it a redesign under the creative direction of David McKendrick and new editor Alex Bilmes. With a voluptuous Kelly Brook on the cover the good looks don’t stop there, we caught up with David McKendrick to find out more about the redesign and what we can expect from future issues…
Hi David, a new editor naturally wants to inject their own stamp on the magazine, how does the process of the redesign work?
A new editor wants the magazine to be his own vision, so it is quite a simple process where we meet, chat, he tells me what he would like the magazine to be and I try to interpret his vision and make it work visually. However, this time around with Alex it felt more like a collaboration of both our ideas – we hit it off early on. Working with Alex is exciting as he really does allow a lot of creative freedom and isn’t scared at all of trying new mad things. That is the short answer – there is a longer one, but maybe for another day.
This is the second time you have redesigned the magazine (first in 2007 when yourself and then editor Jeremy Langmead joined), what has changed? Tell us about the redesign this time round.
The editor has changed which is the obvious answer to your first point. But I think a whole lot in the western world has changed too; global recession has changed the way people think and it was time for Esquire to become a different magazine. An unapologetic men’s magazine. The redesign is a fresh approach to a UK men’s magazine, that’s the simple answer, and I didn’t want it to be a predictable fashion mag with lots of black and white pics of people looking serious.
How’s the issue been received?
The response has been amazing — It feels great and right when are are putting it together, but you never really know how it will be received until it’s out there. I have to trust my gut, but feels great when people appreciate and consume what you do.
What can we expect from future issues?
Lots of surprises. The next cover is very exciting, and the one after that is, too – in fact we have shot the first 5. The first one was a bit of a statement with Kelly on it, but the second one will make you smile, the third will surprise you, and so on. I want to keep surprising the reader, rather than boring them with similar covers and design ever month. This is a huge, but exciting challenge, as you will see every feature has a different treatment inside. This is really hard work reinventing everything every month, but luckily I have a fantastic team, headed up by the my genius deputy Declan Fahy, who has a true gift for great ideas and hard work.
Lastly, the notion that ‘Print is dead’, what would you say to this?
Oh man, ‘print is dead’, that old chestnut!, I remember getting that brief at art school ten years ago and I’m sure that it will kick around for a lot longer. If anything I think the pressure digital is putting on print is making print work so much harder, and this for me is really exciting as it is creating new innovative design for paper. So, no, print is’nae deed (that was in my Scottish accent).