PORT sets sailPosted by Steve Watson on Friday, March 4th, 2011
It was back in September that I first wrote about the old Zembla team of Dan Crowe and Matt Willey working on a men’s magazine. The good news is that it’s out now, and even better, it’s available on Stack.
PORT is a fantastic package that flirts with men’s magazine conventions but still manages to deliver something a bit different. For starters there’s the design, which remains calm and sophisticated throughout and features two bespoke fonts created by Willey. In an interesting interview with Creative Review, Willey’s co-creative director, Kuchar Swara explains that they chose to start features with a full page dedicated to the headline, because “the traditional makeup of type against pictures… can overshadow the imagery or maybe even the content”.
It’s a neat solution that gives the page impact without shouting. See the example below – the right hand page begins an interview with Un Prophete star Tahar Rahim.
And for Zembla fans, a similar but more boisterous Willey headline from summer 2005, this time for a story on Hunter S Thompson.
The writing feels just as sophisticated and restrained as the design. PORT is a men’s magazine, and it shares many of the subjects and concerns that you’ll see in the likes of GQ, Esquire and Monocle. There are the product pages, the fashion shoots, the recommendations of smart restaurants for in-the-know gents. It embraces all of that and doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel – for example a series of ‘Secret Cities’, in which people of note share their favourite places, isn’t original but it is well done.
For me PORT really comes into its own in the Commentary section, which allows star contributors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Jon Snow and Will Self to hold forth on their chosen subjects. They and their fellow contributors turn in an eclectic mix of stories that cover a range of subjects, but which consistently underline the experience and eloquence of the writers.
Quality writing, beautiful photography and intelligent, engaging design – you couldn’t ask for much more out of this launch issue. And if you own an iPad you can have a look for free – the app is available now, designed by magCulture’s Jeremy Leslie and offering the perfect introduction to the world as PORT sees it. Download the app, but then make sure you buy the magazine – it’s well worth £6 of anyone’s money.