It was back in July that we first heard about intern magazine, a publication showcasing the best talent from this significant strata of the creative world pitched straight into what is an increasingly heated debate about these kinds of placements. From a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to huge press attention, Alec Dudson and his team clearly hit a nerve, and now we’ve seen the first issue we can confirm that they’ve executed their idea with real skill.
I’ve seen it described as “by interns for interns” but that misses the point; while editor-in-chief Alec has put together a great publication using his talented peers, this is a magazine for anyone interested in the creative industries. As it goes on sale today, I caught up with Alec to find out a little more…
Were you surprised at the reaction to intern magazine when you launched the Kickstarter?
I was blown away by it that’s for sure. A lot of careful work and preparation went into each element of the Kickstarter, but of course, once you launch there is only so much control you have over the situation. When our press coverage started to snowball that was really overwhelming; being featured by a great variety of publications and sites (The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Vice, The Independent, Dezeen and The Daily Beast for example) made me realise that the project had huge potential.
I think I underestimated the reaction to the magazine in the US and Europe. Spanish and Portuguese creatives have been in contact with me and I am determined to explore the internship culture in those countries closely in future issues.
“My hope is that by acting as a platform for a variety of those voices, the reader will be able to arrive at an informed perspective of their own construction.”
The intern debate is quite nuanced with many different voices, how does this affect what you are trying to do with the magazine?
It all feeds perfectly into one of the magazine’s main objectives – to house a meaningful discussion about the issue. In order for that to be achieved, we need to present a variety of opinions and arguments in as unbiased a manner as possible. My hope is that by acting as a platform for a variety of those voices, the reader will be able to arrive at an informed perspective of their own construction.
That is not to say that the magazine is all heavy debate and philosophical postulation; the power of a magazine is its ability to connect with the reader on a number of different levels. As such, the showcase element of the publication looks to engage people on a visual level, while there is always room for some more light-hearted features and comic refrain. A challenge for intern is to appeal to those not actively involved or previously interested in the internship debate. In order to do that, we have to be imaginative and varied in what we present and again, the nuanced nature of the debate can be of great use to us in that respect.
Design-wise what was the approach for the first issue?
The project would have never really got as far as Kickstarter if it wasn’t for the art direction and design of She Was Only who were on board from day one, back when this was just an idea I was bouncing round at Boat Studio. The approach was to find that happy medium between being quite bold with the design and at the same time, ensuring that the work of the interns and unpaid creatives that are featured has space to breathe and be appreciated. I was always confident that their minimalist and classy style would dovetail really well with the concept and they haven’t disappointed.
A lot of thought went in to the tactile qualities of the mag and we felt that we really needed to justify the cover price; making independent magazines is not cheap and making them profitable is an even bigger challenge. The only downside that I can see to the initial reactions to the design of the magazine is that we now have to serve up something even better for Issue Two!
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