While the publishing industry has debated the future of print, a side of the sector that has exponentially grown is branded magazines. “Asos magazine is the UK’s most widely-read quarterly fashion magazine, for example” says Madeleine Penny of StudioMM. “Also look at Rapha’s Mondial magazine or Net a Porter’s Porter. Branded content is an important tool, and if you hit the right tone it will keep your brand at the forefront of customers’ minds, and hopefully pull in new ones.”
StudioMM was founded by Madeleine and Matt Curtis, who met working on The Times and The Sunday Times Magazine before setting out on their own. Its most recent project is Getty’s Creative in Focus, a publication the photo agency uses to talk about its trend research. Madeleine and Matt aimed to apply the techniques of mainstream magazines, using narrative and pace to keep a reader engaged. “The most important lesson we learned beyond capturing a reader’s attention was how to hold their attention,” Madeleine explains.
This entailed a bold use of typography, across enticing headlines and infographics, breaking up the rhythm of the pages. For this, the studio and the Getty insights team pulled out key stats from its research to editorialise their bulk of content. “Such as, in France, searches for ‘entrepreneurship’ are up 74% – that’s an interesting stat when you consider the political movement in France under Macron,” says Madeleine. “In the UK searches for mental health are up 174% since Brexit – enough said.”
Branded print content, when done well, asserts a personality beyond the brand, Madeleine says. Creative in Focus follows a “confident” art direction overall, using Helvetica in three new weights to “help build an editorial voice” and its narrative. The new issue has four covers, each referencing a different Getty trend and style of photography. The project has also seen StudioMM create a microsite for the 2018 trends report and an exhibition in London, featuring films as an extension to the magazine work using the brand’s moving image content.