Two British Heavy Hitters Combine Talents for the New Christie's Magazine

Two British Heavy Hitters Combine Talents for the New Christie's Magazine
By Steven Gregor, Founder, Gym Class Magazine

When news broke David McKendrick (creative director, British Esquire) and Lee Belcher (art director, Wallpaper) had both handed in their notice with the intention of starting their own design consultancy... Gym Class HQ was abuzz with excitement. This was big news! What had they planned? What work would they be doing?
Seriously, these guys are big hitters. Together, David and Lee have over 25 years experience. During this time they've collaborated with many of the world's leading photographers, designers, artists, architects, filmmakers and printers.
Less than six months have passed and the duo - going by the name B.A.M, short for Belcher And McKendrick - have already presented two products... the Autumn/Winter edition of British Esquire's Big Black Book and, most recently, their first issue of a re-vamped six-times-a-year magazine for Christie's auction house.
The Christie's magazine landed on the door step of Gym Class HQ last weekend. So we thought it about time for a catch-up with B.A.M. creative director David McKendrick.

Hey David, congrats on the Christie's magazine. Lush design, certainly. But, seriously, the production value is off the chain. How long were you working on the issue (was it a redesign, too?)... and talk me through the process of making such a wonderfully tactile and collectable publication.
Thank you. To be honest it's not that complicated a production. We tried to be clever with materials and processes and avoid tricksy paper changes. A combination of clever solutions has resulted in what appears to be quite a lavish product. So believe it or not, with an informed approach, it was relatively inexpensive. 
We worked on the issue for six full-on weeks, which included commissioning all the photography and content. And, yes, it was a complete redesign.

The process was rational - starting with the content of the magazine and breaking it down from there. This is when we made the decision to make it two magazines as opposed to one. One part being more editorial the other being a lowdown on exhibitions, sale highlights and important collections.
Regarding it being so tactile... it's just a really simple use of standard formats (for example, a bellyband and quality paper stock) all working together to make a considered, final product.

How does making a magazine for a client differ from that of a mainstream newsstand title?
It made it a bit easier, there are no newsstand pressures (although, watch this space). It was a pretty rigorous editing process and we had a great editorial team at Christie's. It felt pretty much the same, although being a creative consultant gives you a little bit more clout when it comes to decision-making.

On the Christie's magazine, you're working with editor-in-chief Jeremy Langmead again. How's that?
Terrible - only kidding. He is great man, but a bigger fish now than when I was working with him at British Esquire. He is basically the head of all content at Christie's, so the magazine is a small part of his remit. The magazine has given us the amazing opportunity to also work with the legendary Meredith Etherington-Smith of Paris Vogue fame. She is mega.

Describe your working relationship with Lee Belcher on the project. Who did what? And how did you guys decide on who would do what?
We are a good pair. He has talent and I have a big mouth. That simple. Seriously, we both do a bit of everything - commissioning, designing, art directing, making tea, telling jokes. Oh, and we are really good mates so being honest isn't an issue, it makes working together quite straightforward.

Decision-making isn't difficult, I trust him and he trusts me. We are a good team I would say. At B.A.M. we also work with Henrietta Hitchcock... who keeps us in good order.

What other projects does B.A.M. have in the pipeline? What can we look forward to?

Other than Christie's magazine six times a year, we'll also be working on British Esquire's Big Black Book twice a year.

We have a couple of confidential projects lined up for the next twelve months. I can tell you we're speaking with an international newsgroup about an exciting product and a fashion brand. I can't say anymore, as we don't want to jinx anything. Shhhh.
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