In Celebration of New Magazines: Innovation Abounds OverseasSeptember 21, 2009
Every time I travel overseas, I find myself loading my suitcase (I always take an extra empty one) with a variety of magazines from all over the world. A lot of first issues, special issues and magazines that have innovative things that I feel obligated to bring back to the United States to show those who still have doubts about our future or the future of print in general. This time was no exception. I brought 70 pounds of magazines, 70 pounds of ink on paper, 70 pounds of new ideas and unique experiences that only magazines can bring to one’s values, visions and life.
Unlike some of our magazine editors and publishers societies that are willing to send their readers to websites celebrating and predicting the demise of the same industry they pretend to serve and cherish, most magazine editors and publishers overseas are devoted to promoting and celebrating the birth of new magazines and the survival of the established ones. Joining my friends from overseas, here is a celebration of the birth of some new titles that appeared on the world scene for the first time in the last few weeks:
Free Style Magazine: “The ultimate marriage between creativity and play,” writes Jason McGlade the magazine’s editor in chief and creative director in the first issue of the magazine. The round magazine that comes in a Frisbee is “full of delicious imagery and a melting pot of creative people who like to play.” The magazine’s staff is a “United Nations” in the making with offices and editors in Berlin, London, Milan among the few cities listed on the masthead. Freestyle Magazine is a must see, must have magazine and is worth every penny of the 15 Euros or British Pounds.
ESTELLE’S City Magazine Luxembourg: The bilingual English and French magazine wants “people to be curious.” The founder after which the magazine is named after, Estelle Sidoni, says that “she has the feeling that she never stops working,” but she is quick to add, “But I have found real freedom in my work, so it seems more like pleasure than work.” The magazine offers a “paradoxical mix of art and fashion, luxury and the humanitarian that (the founder) enjoys.” In addition the magazine provides a city agenda of Luxembourg, making it a must for any one planning to visit that part of the world.
LINDA.mode: While LINDA is not a new magazine in The Netherlands, its latest spin off LINDA.mode is sure is. In a typical LINDA style, the magazine is personal yet captivating, emotionally stunning and, for the lack of a better word, beautiful. And as if the magazine is not a must-have by itself, It comes with Patricia Paay’s CD “Who’s that lady with my man ’09.” If you have never seen LINDA. or flipped through one of its issues, it is not too late. The older the magazines the better it gets, and the more the spin offs the more passion to share.
Taste Britain: “The Best British Food & Drink.” As with the above listed magazines, Taste Britain is “a labour of love undertaken by a group of individuals entirely passionate about Great British food and drink,” writes Becky Ambury the magazine’s editor. She adds, “The British food scene has undergone a huge evolution in the last few years, with consumers demanding more, producers giving more and a rediscovered pride in the state of the nation’s food and drink. And it’s high time that there was a regular magazine to celebrate that.” Yes indeed, and what a celebration. Pick up a copy and enjoy some British cuisine tonight, tomorrow or the day after. Enjoy.
Living or Liv’: “Knowing, Showing,Going Places,” is the tag line of this new Dutch magazine that comes wrapped in a plastic sleeve with another cover printed on it giving the magazine the 3-D look it deserves and achieves. Liv’ as the magazine sans the cover is called promises a “new way of living” and takes you shopping in Oslo one day, lunching in Paris the other and sleeping in London yet on another day. And in an amazing frank approach to its content the magazine offers you the places to “Get Fat, Get Drunk, Get Poor and Get Laid.” The introductory cover price for the first issue is 4.95 Euros, one less Euro from its normal price.
Evita: The new beauty and health magazine published in Helsinki, Finland is the latest entry from Bonnier magazines to the Finnish market. Sporting a 180 pages for the first issue, the magazine, if nothing else, is a testament of bringing new magazines in the midst of very depressing economic times. However, the magazine looks more a beauty book rather than a health one. The name, on the other, I was told is short for E Vitamin, which we all know plays a big role in both beauty and health.
Helden: The magazine of blood, sweat and training. A combination of celebrity, personality and sports publication published by the famous Dutch television presenters Frits and Barbara Barend promises to be a glossy that is about men and women who have made their name in a sport. The quarterly (in Dutch) sells for 4.95 Euros and the first issue talks to Robin van Persie (from the Arsenal fame) and wife Bouchra about “their strong home, the secret of their relationship, nightly dinners and Robins career.”
Made of Japan: Saving the best for last this magazine is published in celebration of Onitsuka Tiger’s 60th anniversary. Onitsuka Tiger has “produced some timeless, heritage and classic designs that are still being worn today.” And this magazine is no exception. Published in both English and Japanese this magazine comes with the best binding ever (the stitching of the spine, like all treasured books of years gone by) however, the magazine makers left the magazine without the final cover wrap so readers can see the binding and feel the quality that lets you open flat any of the magazine’s over-sized spreads. Indeed it is a “unique publication” to celebrate a “unique occasion.” A doubt that any pixels on the screen can replicate this intimate experience with Made of Japan as the ink on paper can.
Three things all of the aforementioned magazines have in common: the passion of the publishers putting forth the first edition, the intimate must-have experience each one of the magazines promises to provide, and to top it all, the celebration of a new birth, a new magazine brought to the world of print that you can hold, touch, feel, smell and above all enjoy.
(The picture on top of this blog is from my hotel room at the Strand Hilton in Helsinki overseeing the Baltic River)