Kati Krause, writer + editor

This Friday we’re visiting editor, writer and consultant Kati Krause at her home in Berlin’s Mitte district; we’re there to check out the magazines that she’s got stacked up on her coffee table.

We’re very excited about the latest project that Kati has been working on as contributing editor, a title based out in San Francisco called Anxy that’s all about ‘our inner worlds’. It promises to investigate the personal struggles and fears that we don’t like to talk about in the open, and to smash stigmas about metal illness and depression. This week Anxy has launched its Kickstarter campaign – we’ve already pledged, and I’m looking forward to receiving my Carl Jung dream poster and seeing what the team come up with.

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In anticipation of this magazine that’ll delve smartly into personal issues, we’ve invited Kati to share her own issues for us… magazine issues that is.

As usual, we asked her to select a new issue, an old issue, and another thing…

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A new issue: MacGuffin #3
That pile of magazines you see in my selfie above? That’s my Unresolved Issues pile, also known as magazines I still have to (want to) read. The pile is growing. I’m so behind on my new issues, it makes talking about them hard. However! I just received one yesterday that will immediately be placed at the head of the queue: the new MacGuffin. MacGuffin is like a box you find in your grandparents’ attic, marked “George 1933 (Paris)”: full of items that are lovely, weird, heart-breaking, and completely unpredictable. It’s serendipity in a magazine.

Each issue, MacGuffin picks an item of everyday design – first beds, then windows, now rope – and spins an incredible number of stories around it. I have not yet read this issue but only flipping through it and seeing the sheer density makes me giddy: there’s cornrows and string figures and shorthand and, well, Christopher Nemeth. So for my next rainy day, I’ve made plans already: I’ll camp out on my sofa and have MacGuffin take me on a trip.

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An old issue: Swallow #2 and #3
I know I’m cheating by naming two issues, but honestly, choosing any magazine was already so hard that I felt I deserved some leeway. After much deliberation I settled on Swallow – the anti-foodie food magazine that doubles as a travel publication – because it may be the most complete magazine I’ve ever seen. Yes, that seems like the best word to describe it: complete.

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Swallow makes the absolute most out of being a print magazine through design, touch, story rhythm and even smell, thanks to perfumed peel-off stickers in the Mexico City issue recreating the smells of the city’s barrios. It’s a full-on object. And on top of it, it strikes a perfect balance between intimate and aspirational, familiar and bizarre, dirty and glamorous to keep you gripped from start to finish. Swallow’s three issues are currently sold out so I think it’s about time to pester the lovely James Casey to make another one.

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And another thing: honest magazines
Here you see the three magazines that have maybe most influenced how I currently feel about magazine publishing: Manzine, Rookie and Mushpit. They are three very different publications – Manzine was (*sniff*) for men, Rookie is a professionally produced online magazine and Mushpit, despite looking much slicker today than this 2012 issue, is a loud-mouthed fanzine. But in a Venn diagram, Mushpit and Manzine would overlap for their self-deprecating humour, Rookie and Mushpit for being by and for loyal girls, and Rookie and Manzine… for their essays that read like diary entries, maybe? That central bit of the Venn diagram, however, is clear: it’s honesty.

All three are magazines that don’t pretend, that actively oppose pretending in their different ways. Instead, they propose we accept our faults, speak about our fears and wear our vulnerabilities with poise – because they are the things that make us human. That’s the most important thing a magazine can hope to transmit, I believe. And if you think that’s cheesy, I suggest you go back to your minimalist interior magazine and we’ll speak again once your armour, too, has cracked.

katikrause.com

kickstarter.com/projects/redindhi/anxy-the-magazine-for-your-inner-worlds

Racquet #1

I first heard about a proposed new tennis magazine earlier this year, and immediately understood the possibility it presented. Among the independent sports mags there are plenty about football and cycling and others about motorcycling, running and extreme sports. Tennis is a popular sport with a cultural and historical context and a high participation rate. Why not a magazine?

So here it is, the first issue of Racquet. The cover sets the tone; the thirties poster-style illustration of Yannick Noah (by Mads Berg) announces a smart, enjoyable magazine that sits well alongside the other indie sports titles.

Inside, too, is a familiar mix of reflection, history and passion with a nice line in tangential escape. The 70s and 80s tennis heydays are celebrated via fashion, ‘real’ tennis is explained, the Davis Cup is critiqued and the inherent elitism of tennis and tennis clubs  acknowledged in a first-person piece. There are long-form pieces and pictorial pieces, illustration and photography are used intelligently throughout. An interview with Yannick Noah provides the ATP professional focus;  unused tennis venue Forest Hills turns up as a music venue and a series of concert poster designs by Bill Sullivan; Craig & Karl illustrate a piece that brings together African-American sports icons Arther Ashe and Muhammad Ali.

It’s an impressive first issue that promises a healthy future. In the UK we tend to focus on tennis only every July for Wimbledon. Try extending your interest with this new magazine.

racquetmag.com

Dirty Furniture #3

Despite its affinity for mess, Dirty Furniture is one of the most organized, cleanly defined magazines that I know.

Launching after a Kickstarter campaign in 2014, the independent design title was conceived from the start as a series of six issues. It set out to take a different item of furniture for each one and use that as a springboard to explore a range of topics. The first issue was themed around the sofa, and the Kickstarter page promised that table, toilet, closet, telephone and bed would follow suit. Like Weapons of ReasonDirty Furniture launched with a built-in expiration date in mind.

Usually after a mag starts, its vision evolves as publishers learn more about the trials and tribulations of independent publishing. Often, Kickstarter write-ups aim big and then reality hits and ambition has to dwindle (when a magazine says its going to be quarterly, this usually means they’ll be biannual or even annual). But Dirty Furniture confidently knew what it was going to do and how it was going to do it from the very start.

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Now that they’ve hit the half-way mark and have released or flushed out its toilet themed issue three (above), the look, feel, and quality of the publication – it’s bold covers, its wise-cracking design details, and its critical and engaging in-depth articles – hasn’t changed a bit. Because of careful planning Dirty Furniture has delivered to the same high standard issue after issue.

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To launch potty-mouthed number three, the title organized two exhibitions last week in London that showcased new work by design studio Takram as well as The Shit Museum’s latest collection. Inside the new issue, there’s an essay exploring the decline of the public toilet by architecture critic Owen Hatherley (above), academic Justin Clemens explores the psychology behind the unblockable hilarity of poo-bum jokes (also above) and Alice Tremlow explores the graphic design of toilet paper brands (below).

“The toilet issue seems to polarise between the graphic and the kitsch – I guess because that’s how human beings handle the reality of shitting,” co-founder and editor Elizabeth Glickfeld told us.

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Smears and stains streaking the white pages (below) are a perfect example of Dirty Furniture’s fruity tongue-in-cheek approach to editorial design. Since its tagline is ‘when design leaves the showroom’, the layout is sleek but with purposeful slip-ups – a showroom gone wrong.

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The title should be considered one of the leading examples of a new genre of design magazine that explore the narratives of humdrum, everyday objects – MacGuffin and Amuseum are two other magCulture favourites.

When a mag hits its issue three is usually the time that we determine whether it has ‘hit its stride’. With Dirty Furniture, it’s not that it’s hit its stride because it was in its stride from the very beginning. That’s why it’s our Magazine of the Week this week: it’s consistently good, filled with surprises but never straying from its essential and assured aesthetic.

“Because it inhabits the space between magazines and books – the content of each issue is not made obsolete by the one following my it – we always envisaged Dirty Furniture as a finite set,” emphasise the editors. “We also wanted it to have a life long enough to allow us to fully explore the concept. We’re happy with the number of issues we’re doing because it also opens up the possibility of how, afterwards, we could apply the Dirty Furniture editorial approach to covering design to other formats and media.”

By determining that there would only be six issues, Dirty Furniture gave itself a realistic target—and now every issue that they produce has got to be top-notch. It’s good to set realistic aims. We’ll miss it when it’s gone but for now, issue three is a perfect read for the loo and beyond.

Editors: Anna Bates, Elizabeth Glickfeld and Peter Maxwell
Art directors: Sara De Bondt and Mark El-khatib

dirty-furniture.com

ZEITmagazin

Every Monday in the lead up to this year’s Modern Magazine conference we’re inviting a different speaker from the line-up to introduce a spread from the most recent issue of their magazine.

Today we’re catching up with Christoph Amend, editor-in-chief of the unbeatable German newspaper supplement ZEITmagazin. At ModMag, Christoph will be explaining how he and creative director Mirko Borsche regularly subvert the traditions of the weekly newspaper magazine.

‘ZEITmagazin is the magazine of Germany’s biggest quality paper DIE ZEIT,’ explains Christoph, ‘We define the magazine as “the emotional side” of the rather analytical DIE ZEIT.’

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‘I wanted to go to Las Vegas to discover the myth’

The latest issue is their annual photography special (above).

‘Photography plays a major part in each issue of ZEITmagazin. For us photographers and illustrators are authors, just like reporters and columnists are. In fact we’ve been running a weekly photography column for quite a few years. Each year we dedicate it to one photographer, so it’s 52 columns each year. In 2016 Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari have taken over, before them we welcomed Juergen Teller, Paolo Pellegrin, Lina Scheynius and the late Daniel Josefsohn.

‘Once a year we dedicate a special issue issue to the work of one upcoming photographer. This year we asked Stefanie Moshammer from Vienna.’

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‘Andreas Wellnitz, our photography consultant, had introduced me to the work of Stefanie nearly a year ago, so we got in touch and when Stefanie told me she would spend some time in Rio this spring we published her first story for us just before the beginning of the Olympics.

‘She had also mentioned that she had been working on another project. When she had spent time in Las Vegas last year a stranger had knocked on the door of her department telling her he was looking for his former girlfriend. A few days later the stranger sent her a love letter asking her to spend her life with him. The letter was addressed to “the Austrian girl”. She was frightened but she came up with the idea of producing a piece of work about this experience. When she told me about it, I was hooked. The work is called “I can be her”, it’s a fascinating mix of documentary and artistic photography. So this is basically how it became our photography issue for 2016.’

We’re looking forward to hearing more from Christoph at ModMag16 on 27 October.


Book your ticket here


zeit.de/zeit-magazin/index

Linda Moers, eins eins eins

Trained as a designer, Linda Moers was drawn to magazines by her interest in text and writing, and now works as an advertising copywriter in Munich. She also works on various side projects, one of which is Eins Eins Eins, a magazine archive project she set up with university friends Lena-F. Nearer and Mirjam Sieger. Their website features reviews of magazines and interviews with magazine makers in German and English. We asked her to pick some favourites from the Eins Eins Eins collection.

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As ever, we invited Linda to select a new issue, and old issue and one other thing.

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A new issue: The Heritage Post
I’m pretty sure that many readers won’t have come across this magazine, though the layout will appear familiar to them. The Heritage Post is one of my favourite magazines, created by resident Düsseldorfer, Uwe van Afferden. It’s a magazine that concerns men’s culture which runs against time: „The pair of shoes which you are searching for today, may have already been invented 100 years ago.“

The Heritage Post pays homage to good products invented by good people. It’s about understanding where products come from and why they are priced accordingly. It’s about passion, love and most of all, getting to know the people, the tools and the ideas outside of the mainstream.

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The Saturday Evening Post is rich in heritage. One may now recognise the source of what’s familiar to them; the font and illustration of the cover link directly to the American magazine, first published in 1821. It’s always enlightening to discover connections. This is common whilst spending a lot of time reading various issues. It’s like making a tour around the world – visiting old garages, wandering through flea markets, meeting makers and creators in their hometowns and soaking up the heritage of people and things; you always come back with new findings, new names, new tools, new stories, new clothing’s, new ideas, to simply realise that “new”, most of the time, is simply “the good old”.

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An old issue… ZEITMagazin and Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin
I couldn’t decide for this category, so I simply picked up two. ZEITMagazin and Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin are both popular weekly publications in widespread circulation across Germany. They perform a brilliant job of magazine making; brilliant content combined with brilliant design. For each topic they break down their own barriers. Talking about the famous Gerhard Steidl, a German language publisher, they used different types of papers for the printed magazine. Talking about the ‘New York Review of Books’ they used the cover layout to pay homage to the legendary magazine.

Talking about order, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, literally reordered their name. Talking about tennis player Steffi Graf, they created the cover with the sand of a tennis court. Both magazines surprise you with uncanny regularity. It’s an essential ritual of mine to take one of these surprises home every week.

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And another thing… Reportagen
I had to ask a friend to give this magazine to me in order to shoot it on my floor. Eins Eins Eins holds an expansive magazine collection in Düsseldorf, yet my personal treasure trove isn’t so deep. Once I’ve read a magazine, most of the time I pass it on to somebody else. I think it’s important, that the magazines are out there. Copy pages, underline words, work with it, share it. Reportagen is a German magazine about good journalism, finding stories all over the world most of the newspapers and magazines do not cover.

When I read ‘Another Thing’ I directly thought about the story of the Indian man who invented a machine which produced sanitary napkins for women. The product could be sold cheaply, so that any woman who was exposed to garbage, leaves or old fabrics that could cause horrendous diseases, could afford it. Everyone labelled him as crazy after he had tested them by himself with goat’s blood. What a man! Ever since reading the article, the story has been engrained on my mind.

That’s the fascination about magazines. Sitting on your couch, you’re then suddenly transported to a little village in India. You get to know a man who inspires you and continues to be on your mind, long after you leave the couch.

eins-eins-eins-magazin.de