What parameters did you and Katie decide on together when it came to the design of Fiera?
With so much rich visual material on the pages the layouts needed a calm approach; it was clear early on that the typography would mainly be monochrome and that we’d just use a couple of typefaces. My approach is always to strip things back to a simple set of parts that can be applied in various ways. I don’t like gratuitous decoration, preferring to exploit the content, the words and images, to offer visual emphasis and change of pace as neccesary. There’s a little playfulness in the page number positions and the little Fiera logos that repeat at angles throughtout the issue. Katie and I agreed on everything very easily, with the one exception of a variation on the front cover design that I preferred. But I was happy with what we did.
Why did you decide to make quite a compact magazine?
Fiera is a biannual that’s conceived as a journal of record, a magazine to be collected issue by issue. It felt right it should be bookish for that reason, small busy pages recording what Katie finds at the design fairs. The small format also positions Fiera at odds with the larger, pictorial design magazines, and permits the creative use of white space without it becoming excessively wasteful. And it helps with postage costs!
How did you get illustrator Assa Ariyoshi involved? (what a coup! She was one of my favourite discoveries at this year’s graduate shows)
I have a long-standing working relationship with YCN, who champion young illustrators. I spoke to them and Assa was quickly chosen and signed up. I love her work, she had some spots in the recent issue of Put A Egg On It, and her work is a central part of our launch edition. That feature, where the writers from the group 26 respond to individual examples of new design and Assa illustrates their words, provides a visual balance to all the product photography.
Who else worked on the design of the magazine?
I worked with my assistant Jese Siu, a recent graduate from LCC.
How long did you have to design Fiera and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
Katie, Jess and I had already worked closely on the dummy pages for the Kickstarter campaign back in May, so we were ahead things when it came to the real issue. As I said, there’s a set of elements that are gently reinvented and adjusted from page to page and story to story. The production period was actually pretty smooth and quick; the biggest challenge was that two magazine projects were going through the studio at the same time and they ended up coinciding and going to press the same week – Fiera and our redesign of Noble Rot. That was scary but we managed it.
What do you hope for in the future for Fiera?
I’m proud of the launch issue but well aware its just the start. We geared the Kickstarter funding so it paid for Issue 1, and any additional sales of Issue 1 will provide the money for a second issue. We’re about to go into production of number two, and from there on we need to start selling more copies to survive. I know enough about publishing startups to keep it real, slowly build, but I share Katie’s vision for Fiera and hope we can keep the momentum growing and reach issues three, four, five…
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