The Portland-based magazine Cult Classic celebrates the voices of creatives from around the country. The platform is run by a group of friends including the magazine’s creative director Justin Morris who speaks to It’s Nice That about the recently-published second issue. “Our approach to each issue is to identify and amplify creators that we find personally inspiring. More often than not, we choose people who we think should be heard louder than they are.” From performance artists, an international girl gang of artists and healers, and a faux-fur textiles artist, the new publication is eclectic in its content – and design.
The group of friends behind Cult Classic, approach the production of the publication in a similarly informal and collaborative manner. They work closely with each creative to develop an editorial and visual story throughout the spreads. Each piece has a distinctively different aesthetic that reflects the creative’s own discipline, giving the publication an intimate and personalised feeling. In one article focusing on Casper Wright, the publication’s designers Fisk, customise the typography and layout to reflect the artist’s handcrafted work. Casper’s practice involves “soft sculptures” and “cut and sew clothing”. Consequently, the spreads are punctuated with DIY ink splatters and printer’s marks to extend the feeling of his work.
“Portland’s creative community is tight,” says Justin. “Fisk is a local design studio and happens to be run by our good friend Bijan Berahimi who we enlisted for the design.” On the design, Bijan explains how Cult Classic is a playground for graphic design. It allows us to flex a wide variety of design styles and printing techniques.” While some spreads are printed to accentuate the sultry glamour of film photography, others enhance the glossy feel of digital stock imagery that graces the design of some spreads.
“Rather than blanketing the entire magazine with a consistent design style”, adds Bijan, “we approach each article in a special way to honour the diversity of disciplines, cities and backgrounds that each feature brings.” For the feature on Oscar Chavez, the designers play on the artist’s paintings and performances that have “never lived in a world without the internet.” The layout design draws on the neon colours of the commissioned shoot as his work “exists in a historical canon of camp, glamour and public intervention” which is immediately translated through the fun 70s-style design.
A truly local product, Cult Classic is printed by the Portland-based business Brown Printing Inc. and uses several typefaces from a type foundry Future Fonts, also based in the area. The local comforts allow the magazine to become a product with “creativity at its core” seen through the diversity of design and content that fills the pages of the latest issue. Along with three different covers that showcase the array of talent inside, for those of us unfamiliar with the underground arts scene in America, Cult Classic is a great insight into some excitingly original work taking place framed within a thoughtful yet pleasurable language of design.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.