As creative director of Bloomberg Businessweek Richard Turley helped revitalise the formerly staid title with his eye-catching covers and open-minded approach to lay-outs. When he moved to MTV last year many in the magazine world were sad (and surprised) to see him leave print behind. Yesterday we ran the first part of of our in-depth interview with Richard, in which he talked about his reasons for leaving BBW and what he’s been trying to achieve at MTV. In the second part today he talks about the need to shout about his new role and shares his thoughts on the respective design scenes in London and New York…
How much did you have to adapt to MTV, because it’s tone and audience and remit is so different to Businessweek?
I think a lot of what makes Businsessweek great is that it’s full of a square pegs in round holes. As a rule, Josh didn’t hire people who should have traditionally worked at a business magazine, because he sees the stories of how money moves and the impact of business – its personalities, politics, technologies, idiosyncrasies – as universal. He wants to broaden the idea of what business journalism is.
Internally, that fosters a sort of outsider, imposter dynamic and perhaps creates a more interesting result than just hiring people who should have really been doing those jobs. And it turns out that imposter mentality is a very good fit for me. Even just being English in America I’m aware of that and enjoy that every day.
I feel like less of an imposter at MTV. The mix of music, fashion, art, TV, culture, with a bit of politics and social awareness is more of the sort of person I am outside the office.
I have seen a few interviews since the move that still focus on magazines and your work at BBW; why do you think that is? Does the creative industry (and maybe the design press) respect on-screen work enough?
I don’t know, I’ve never really thought about it before. You’re the design press, you tell me.
This is the first time I’ve talked about what we’ve been up to, so maybe people ask me about magazines because I’ve been quiet about what we’re doing here.
"American boys see the release of their own font as a rite of passage."Richard Turley
From my own ego-centric point of view (my favourite point of view incidentally), part of working now is having to shout about the work you make. For better or worse you can’t be shy. Within my own little world, towards the end I felt over-exposed at BBW. The formula of a creating a weekly cover – make something, share it, hope for some Twitter firestorm – was ok for a while but it became tiring for me (and I think often for the world generally).
So I made a pact with myself to back away from the endless self-promotion. BUT NOW I’M BACK! ¯\(ツ)/¯.
Maybe people will get bored with Businessweek. Or maybe not. If I’m still talking about it a few years from now that will be very nice and flattering. I’m proud of most of it, and very very fond of the people who still work there.
As a Brit in New York how do you see the current relationship between the two creative scenes in London and NYC?
Who knows. My only observations are tribal. For instance – the London crowd enjoy the sense of collective individuality which comes from everyone wearing the same Palace leisure wear. They also enjoy telling each other how much they love living in Walthamstow or Brighton even though they spend the entirety of their lives commuting in order to get there. They spend that commuting time imagining quirky ways to fully communicate their individuality and creativity in their homes.
New York designers are pathologically depressed from doing endless real estate branding campaigns for ugly apartment buildings they will never, ever be able to afford to live in. They also suffer from enormous personal and social anxiety that they’re not working at a cool studio.
Everyone wears glasses – it’s like in order to be creative in New York you first shouldn’t be able to see properly. The girls prefer bangs (fringes) and spend their free time making Instagram art that nobody cares about.
The girls on either side of the Atlantic get annoyed when told their work is reminiscent of another girl’s just because they both have vaginas. The boys on either side of the Atlantic like girls who dress like boys and we’re all OK with that and choose not to talk about it. American boys see the release of their own font as a rite of passage.
Both male, female, American and British enjoy scrolling through Pinterest boards with the right mix of conceptual typography, duplicative still-life photography and cute Asian girls. Everyone, everywhere moans about Pentagram.
About the Author
Rob joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in July 2011 before becoming Editor-in-Chief and working across all editorial projects including itsnicethat.com, Printed Pages, Here and Nicer Tuesdays. Rob left It’s Nice That in June 2015.