The Maturing Independents

The Maturing Independents LESLIE.jpgBy Jeremy Leslie
magCulture.com

All the magazines I'm featuring this week are from the self-published independent sector, an area of seemingly boundless energy and growth. Such enthusiasm goes a long way but can't cover up the fact that not every indie mag is a winner. As with any endeavour there's a natural balance of success and failure, and as the independent market grows there's the disappointing spectacle of new clichés entering the visual language of editorial design.

But there are always leaders, and if the more established independent magazines like Fantastic Man, 032c and Apartamento have had it all their way for some time, it's great to see newer magazines reaching a higher level of maturity. And The Gourmand epitomises this new standard.

Right from its 2012 launch this London-based food and culture journal sought to reflect its name, gourmand meaning someone who takes great pleasure in food. The magazine celebrates the enjoyment of food and editors-in-chief David Lane and Marina Tweed reflect this in their evident enjoyment of making a beautifully produced magazine.

Every element of The Gourmand is considered and executed as near to perfection as possible. It is printed on multiple paper stocks by specialist Netherlands book printer Lecturis. For their recent fifth edition Lane worked with Monotype to refresh their Monotype Grotesk font and reintroduce long-forgotten characters (check that angular ampersand!)

All of which would mean nothing without great content, but happily the care taken with the production is matched by the editing and art direction. The commissioning of text and image is brave, open minded and innovative, creating an exciting mix of stories and visuals.

Highlights include:

gourmand05_01.jpgJess Bonham's Dog Eat Dog hotdog shoot.

gourmand05_02.jpgA look back at Liberace's extraordinary 1970 book Liberace Cooks! Hundreds of Delicious Recipes for You from His Seven Dining Rooms.

gourmand05_03.jpgA more contemporary take on food with singer Neneh Cherry.

gourmand05_04.jpgAaron Tilley and Gemma Tickle's collaboration on series of food x fashion photo-illustrations.

gourmand05_05.jpgTim Lahan illustrates Kelly MacLean's column about visiting an LA vegan café.

gourmand05_06.jpgErnst Fischer demonstrates his experiments in microscopic photography; this is a single piece of fish roe blown up to 5 inches high.

A few spreads can't do justice to the whole 122-page adventure, but the quality of content, production and flatplanning in this magazines is outstanding.

The Gourmand is one of several relatively new independent magazines now achieving a level of maturity that lifts them out of the indie world into a new stratum of publications situated between the indies and the mainstream. These are the future of publishing: well-made, creatively led and collectible.

Indie mags.jpgOther magazines hitting a similar moment include Printed Pages, published by the people behind the It's Nice That blog, and Wrap, the contemporary illustration magazine with built-in wrapping paper.
 
Resources:
The Gourmand
Printed Pages magazine
Wrap magazine
magCulture.com
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