The STACK Blog
Last night Libertine continued its ongoing experiment to bring magazine content into the real world, with an evening of talks (and some fizzy wine) to celebrate the launch of its third issue, themed around cities and power. Held at BDP architects in Clerkenwell, it brought together a broad group of thinkers and supporters to discuss subjects that span out of the new issue.
I couldn’t make it along, but editor Debbi Evans has shared some pictures to help show what went down.
I’ve always been drawn to the mix of fantasy and reality in The Travel Almanac. Fantasy is a big part of the travel experience – we all love the feeling of being someone else for a while – and yet most travel magazines miss out on it in favour of very prosaic, factoid-heavy listings about (admittedly very expensive) hotels, bars and restaurants.
The Travel Almanac doesn’t actually tell you much about what a place is like. Instead it conjures a feeling, and always takes care to leave something to the imagination. I spoke to editor and co-founder Paul Kominek about the art of travel writing, appealing to the mainstream and the importance of fantasy.
One of the things I really liked about Kasino A4 was its personality – the way its creators were so obviously having a great time making it and doing things totally their own way. That’s something they’ve carried over to FAT, their new art magazine. It looks lovely but it’s also a masterclass in great copywriting, an antidote to the Innocent Smoothies style of heavy-handed writing. (I refer to it as ‘horrible’ in the video, which is actually a bit too strong. Sorry about that – speaking and turning pages is harder than I imagined)
This is the first in a new series of two-minute videos from Stack – the aim is to have a new one up every Tuesday. Wish me luck, and as ever, all thoughts and criticism on the video would be very welcome. Be gentle…
We’ve only got one Printout left this year, and we’re putting it to good use.
Join us on Tuesday 26 November at The Book Club in Shoreditch for an evening dedicated a few of our favourite independent launches of 2013. It’s been a great year for new independents, and this night gives us the chance to bring some of them together in one place.
It’s a properly international affair – the Brits are represented by Hole & Corner and Printed Pages, who will be joined in the basement by Finland’s FAT. And we’ll have special video presentations from Canada’s Alpine Review and Dutch design magazine Works That Work. All of them are fantastic magazines, and I’m really excited to see them talking about their experiences of magazine making, and to hear what they’ve got planned for next year.
We’ll also have music provided by a special magazine guest (to be announced in a couple of weeks) and the usual Printout beers and chat afterwards. It should be a great night – tickets are available now at our brand new Eventbrite page, so get booked up and I’ll see you there.
This is the time of year when Christmas gift guides are being written, so I spent a good chunk of today cycling between publishers picking up copies of magazines that are going to be photographed for use in various festive lists.
Apologies to the ones I didn’t make it to – I limited myself to fairly central London locations for the sake of my legs, so the likes of Zoetrope (San Francisco) and Anorak (Walthamstow) have been left out. But that still leaves plenty of great publishers along the way, so here’s a quick Instagram summary of my travels.
I’m not normally a big fan of magazines without many words. Photography and illustration is generally what pulls me into a magazine but it’s the writing that makes me want to stay there, so anything without a decent bit of reading just feels kind of lightweight.
But Saucy is a very welcome exception to the rule. It doesn’t have much in the way of words, but the ones it does use are clearly very carefully chosen.
It was a great pleasure to help out with Jeremy’s brilliant The Modern Magazine conference yesterday. Marking the publication of his new book, it was a rare opportunity for magazine makers to come together, with plucky independents and big dogs rubbing shoulders under Central Saint Martins’ very smart roof.
One of the main themes to emerge from the day was the power of gut instinct. Whether it was Tyler Brulee advocating “the consultancy of common sense” or Rosa Park from Cereal asserting that she and her partner Richard essentially make a print magazine because they love print and they just want to, there was a strong sense that magazines and their associated activities work best when they’re led by passion.
I made pages and pages of cramped, scrawly notes, so the following is my attempt to summarise the best bits of a really interesting, inspiring day.
There’s lots written about the relative merits of digital magazines, both good and bad. I’m always wary of anyone who claims to have distilled it all down into a simple rule (the phrase ‘lean forward’ is generally enough to send me packing) but for me the key to success is finding a way into readers’ lives. A paper magazine sits in my bag / on my desk / on the bedside table until I’m ready for it, but most magazines I download to my iPad or phone just sort of get forgotten.
The exception that proves the rule is The Magazine – I read every issue, and I love it because it has found that place in my life. Every other week a new issue arrives on my phone; five stories, all of them based vaguely around technology, all of them well written, carefully edited and simply presented. And that’s it. It was designed to be read on phones and tablets, so there are no huge file sizes, acres of display advertising, page swiping or other annoying hangovers from print publishing.
I have at least one magazine with me pretty much all the time, but sometimes I just don’t want to deal with it. I might be on a crowded train or in an annoyingly dark room, and that’s when The Magazine comes into its own.
It was created by Tumblr co-founder Marco Arment and is now edited by tech journalist, podcast host and two-time Jeopardy winner Glenn Fleishman (his CV has to be seen to be believed). When Glenn and I ended up chatting on Twitter we set up a time to speak – I thought it would be interesting to hear his thoughts on publishing, and he didn’t disappoint.
The following text is long but it’s totally worth it, showing the thinking of an incredibly adventurous, ultra-motivated entrepreneur pushing at the boundaries of magazine making, and taking in the importance of paying writers, the print versus digital debate and the difference between tech and publishing. It’s inspiring stuff.