Last night we were at Mother London for this year’s second instalment of Nicer Tuesdays, with four fantastic creatives from the publishing industry speaking to us about the charms and challenges of the printed page. As ever, our fantastic event sponsors Park Communications were showing off their wares with a whole array of their own printed works – Printed Pages and Riposte among them!
Kicking off the evening, longtime art director of WIRED magazine Andrew Diprose gave a fascinating insight into the process of designing for the world’s leading science, culture and technology magazine, with their diverse range of content and inimitable covers. “My advice is to surround yourself with talent,” Andrew explained. “At first I wanted to do it all myself, and the magazine was worse for it.” He also spoke brilliantly about the importance of commissioning, and the role a magazine plays for the illustrators and photographers featured in it. “I want to make a great environment for people to show off their work.”
Andrew was followed by Bruno Bayley from VICE magazine, the American version of which has been around for 21 years (21 years!) He managed to condense the magazine’s incredibly varied coverage into a slideshow which ranged from bloody scenes in Afghanistan to emo subway dance-gangs in Mexico City, to mention but two stories. Bruno’s reflection on the role of VICE magazine in the context of its ever-growing online presence echoed the sentiments of many people in the room: “Obviously magazines can’t compete with online for breaking news, but some people do still like to read long articles on paper!”
Danielle Pender, founder and editor of Riposte, told how she wanted to provide an alternative to the one-sided, image-obsessed focus of mainstream women’s media. “Even the more reputable magazine portray images of womanhood that are entirely unrealistic” she said, referencing the heavy-handed photoshop applied to most cover stars. She explained how this content-over-image approach influenced the brilliant design of the magazine, of which the front cover is dominated by text, while the back features the image. “Apparently we missed out a big opportunity for advertising by putting a photo on the back. If you can’t play around with format on your first venture into publishing, though, when can you?”
Finally, editor of The Independent Magazine Will Dean spoke to us about the titles which have influenced his approach to the all-important cover decisions, referencing Bloomberg Businessweek‘s creative director Richard Turley for his wholly unique approach. He showed the audience some of his favourite covers, one of which was for the royal christening. "I managed to convince them that the best way for us to cover the royal christening was to hire the country’s best Kate Middleton lookalike, get a baby, and put them both in haute couture dresses…" The resulting image is impressive, to say the least. “I mean, I think we got away with it” he laughed. Will also revealed the dissatisfaction that comes from working on a weekly supplement – “the very fast turnaround means that arguably you’re never really happy with what you end up with” – and suggested that it’s this dissatisfaction which drives the progression of any publication.
All in all, a jolly good evening! A huge thanks again to Park Communications for supporting, to Mother London for having us, all our speakers for their terrific, insightful talks and to everybody who popped down! The next Nicer Tuesdays will be held at the end of March, and videos of last night’s talks will soon be online for your viewing pleasure.
Founded in 1991, Park Communications is considered by many to be London’s preeminent printer. With a roster of both corporate and cultural clients, Park is a one-stop-shop to translate, artwork, print and bind literature of many different kinds, from the finest coffee table books and catalogues, through FTSE annual reports, to niche market magazines and brochures. Working closely with clients to develop bespoke creative solutions, Park’s reputation is built on the highest quality, reliability and flexibility.
They have brought their professionalism to both our Printed Pages magazine and theIt’s Nice That Annual 2013, and we look forward to working with them in 2014 and beyond. To contact Park, email Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the website.