The debut issue of Gaze celebrates a new kind of female narrative
With thoughtful contributions from a range of female and non-binary perspectives, the biannual publication needed an identity reflecting its important messaging.
- Ayla Angelos
- 10 December 2020
Through storytelling, reporting and a “ton” of photography, Gaze magazine is a biannual publication that celebrates the female narrative. With inclusivity at its core, the bilingual French-English magazine has launched its 160-page debut issue – a visual and in-depth response to a shift in attitude, whereby the male voice no longer dominates the creative realms nor the wider spectrum of society.
Founded by Clarence Edgard-Rosa, she tells us how Gaze arose after a need to see and hear alternative narratives – observing a lack of platforms dedicated to female and non-binary perspectives. “Being a journalist and author who specialised in feminist issues,” she tells It’s Nice That, “and having worked in glossy women’s magazines for years, I craved a magazine that was both smart and beautiful, both feminist in its values but also not dictating its readership as to what to think or fight for.” In this sense, Gaze is consciously celebratory, and puts its stories and contributors at its core.
The stories found in Gaze can range from those that tackle “societal, intimate and cultural issues of womanhood,” continues Clarence, to those that are much more visual. Inside, you can expect to find a portrait of American sex positive performer Annie Sprinkle, plus a personal essay on “what it feels to be a walking fantasy”, by French actress Isabelle Anjani. There’s also a love letter to herself by Rwandan novelist Shcolastique Mukasonga, a novel by French poetess Kiyémis, plus work from Afroamerican photographer Carrie Mae Weems.
Delivering personal and important messages, the identity needed to reflect as such with great care and attention. With designer and art director Juliette Gabolde on the visual language, she opted for a more colourful, playful and considered aesthetic – one that gives a firm and pleasant nod to the important matters at hand, without diluting the topics nor taking itself too seriously. “I have always been uninspired by women’s magazines,” she says, “which diffuse lots of stereotypes, are filled with ads and have a tradition of editorial design that I don’t find very audacious. So, to find singularity, I had a gender neutral approach.” This sentiment applies largely to the ethos of the magazine, as well as the smaller – and necessary – details such as the typography. The result of which is a mix of bold thick fonts, thin sober sans-serifs and pointy-stingy serifs.
Gender neutrality also becomes present in the colour choices, where the team steer away from stigma and cliché. Fuschia pinks are paired with a muted beige and hints of monochrome, while vibrant greens pack a punch as they’re placed in-between more subtle spreads to allow the photography sing. In other parts, typography plays a key role in the visual tone of the spreads, sitting as a piece of art of its own accord.
Turning all traditional pre-conceptions of a ‘women’s magazine’ on its head, Gaze is indeed the antithesis of a typical glossy mag – and that’s exactly what we love about it. Within an informative, smart and intriguing stance, the magazine’s ethos shines through with great care: that is, to tell stories from female perspectives in a playful and sincere manner. “Gaze is a publication that is meant to be read,” continues Juliette, “not just a series of beautiful images.” With this in mind, she proceeded to work with a harmonious blend of text and imagery in order to add to the legibility of the magazines’ structure. “I wanted to find a good balance, in the hope that the aesthetic catches your eye and makes you drive into the story behind it all. Graphic design had to be present and singular, but not overwhelming, because there was already a lot of information to convey.”
A further note on this considered and thoughtful approach, is that each article has what they call the ‘author’s block’ – a small portrait and biography for each writer, photographer and illustrator. This and every other element proves just how much Gaze values its attention to detail. “It is very important to us that every article is embodied and put in context,” concludes Juliette, “because we believe that the story you’re telling is as important as where you tell it from.”
GalleryGaze: Issue One. (Copyright © Gaze, 2020)
Become an Extra Nice Supporter and unlock a new way to explore It’s Nice That, get your hands on exclusive perks, and help bring meaningful projects to life.
Gaze: Issue One. (Copyright © Gaze, 2020)
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she became online editor in 2022 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.