When it comes to magazines about skateboarding, it’s easy to imagine the kinds of tropes that could fill each and every spread. However, the Munich-based studio Daily Dialogue, designs the skateboarding culture publication Place Mag around the conceptual nature of its editorial stories rather than visuals. Though the magazine pays tribute to the DIY, graffiti-clad aesthetic that is championed by skateboarders, Place Mag centres around relevant stories from the sporting subculture, offering a broader narrative around skateboarding culture.
As well as a functioning design studio, Daily Dialogue acts as an exposure platform for cultural projects such as Place Mag. Founded by Maximilian Schachtner, the studio is “diametrically opposed to formulaic uninspired work” and celebrates concept-heavy design to develop concrete solutions for every project the studio encounters. The studio came to design Place Mag through the recommendation of a skateboarding friend and took on the magazine’s redesign with a thorough consideration of unexpected art direction and design. Presently collaborating with the magazine on its fifth issue, Maximilian and his team have built up a relationship of trust with Place Mag which Maximilian heralds as “the foundation for good work”.
“In general, we try to shape a product that fits the content, while pushing the boundaries for our clients, their audience and ourselves," the founding designers tell It’s Nice That. The design team embarked on the project with a sense of open-minded playfulness, and as Place Mag reflects on several different aspects of skateboarding culture, in turn, the magazine’s design is not about the tricks and stunts. Instead, it focuses on interesting stories surrounding all means of skateboarding. On this editorial focus, Maximilian asserts that: “This is what we like the most about the magazine.”
Daily Dialogue prides itself on an ethos of the unexpected. Max says, “We enjoy confrontation as we believe that it can lead to good results”, and consequently, “this produces a design that is not what people expect from us… We are always trying to make something a bit different every time”, Max continues, and, according to the challenge-prone design studio: “It’s the fight of convincing somebody that keeps us going.” For Daily Dialogue, the concept-centric stance meant that the studio “didn’t think too much about the overall design of the magazine, more its general direction.” And for each new issue, the designers create a unique idea to represent each story.
For instance, for the magazine’s Holiday issue, Maximilian and his team designed the cover design to resemble a postcard. The front cover mirrors the blank back of a postcard and the magazine’s back cover sees an image of the group in front of Disneyland. After confirming this concept for the issue, Maximilian explains how “_Place_ told us that they’d already sold the back cover as an advertisement to G-Shock, but we needed the back cover to complete our postcard idea.” In an unlikely event that Maximilian describes as “too stupid to be true”, the designers managed to find a group photo where the photographer Danny Sommerfeld is wearing G-Shock. Serendipitously, G-Shock took to the image even though the watch is incrementally small in the photograph and satisfactorily allowed the designers to use the image to complete their postcard idea after all.
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