Marta Puigdemasa and Marc Sancho live and work in Barcelona, she as an editor and he as a graphic designer. In their spare time they publish the beautifully produced magazine Perdiz, a magazine celebrating happiness. Published in a single bilingual (Spanish and English) edition, it’s one of the increasing number of independent magazines from Spain. We join them as they start planning their fifth issue, due later this year.
Where are you today?
Marta: At home. Today we’re having a brainstorming at mine with Marc of Querida Studio, Perdiz’s art director. We’re preparing our fifth issue, which will be released next December. We both live in the Sant Antoni neighbourhood in Barcelona, a very nice area full of vermouth bars and very specific local shops.
What can you see from the window?
An old tiny clockmaker’s workshop (only one person with a chair and a table fits inside, the clients talk to him from the street) and a shop called Aus i Ous selling what its name announces: poultry and eggs. On the corner there is a bar that sells only doughnuts and another bar selling only chips. Weird. Since a week or two ago some opera singers with a piano player are rehearsing in the flat just across the street with the windows fully open. So I have opera as a soundtrack, which I have to confess that, after a while, can be a bit annoying.
Are you a morning or evening person?
Marta: I’d say I’m an evening person. At night I find it easier to focus. But since 4-5 years ago I’m trying to wake up at a reasonable time (say 8am) because I just think that working with natural light is healthier for my eyes and more convenient if you have to interact with other human beings that usually sleep at night.
Marc: Definitely a morning person. I hate working after dinner.
Why did you decide to make a magazine about Happiness?
Marta: I’d been self-publishing small editorial/literary projects since I am a child, just for fun. The catalyst that led me into making Perdiz was a quest for my own personal happiness, I guess. Most of the magazines I knew had topics such as food, music, fashion, etc. I lacked such a specific focus or passion. But I knew I wanted to do a magazine that contributed positive values, interesting topics and good design at the same time.
I use to write for advertising and that made me maybe too aware of how sometimes our system and economy is making people unhappy almost on purpose so they then need material things to fill the void… For me it was important to talk, in a very subtle way, about a very down-to-earth kind of happiness and to say: being happy or satisfied with your life is achievable. You just have to find your own particular way. Each one has its own, really. And you don’t need to be like in the TV commercials – beautiful, rich and popular – in order to be content with your life. There are plenty of other options! Perdiz wants to show this: the amazing diversity within humanity and its paths to happiness.
One day I read a study published at the British Medical Journal stating that people’s happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected. So the more happy people you are surrounded by, the most likely it is that you become a happy person too. So my idea was to make a magazine full of happy people and to pass that feeling on to our readers.
Marc: That’s why our tag line is “Happiness is Contagious”. And the name of the mag, Perdiz (partridge), comes from the Spanish expression “Feliz como una perdiz” – which means roughly the same as “As happy as a lark” – but with a different kind of bird.
And is the magazine designed to look ‘happy’?
Marta: I wanted it to feel hand-made and colourful.
Marc: We couldn’t agree on which colour meant happiness. For ones it was “red”, for others “yellow” and so on. So we decided the colour would change with every issue and we’d have a rainbow of colours. Issue 5 will be blue!
Marta: The rest of the magazine layout breathes the style of Querida studio, which… yes, I think it’s happy and fresh.
Marc: We tried to give the design some dynamism with the headlines in diagonal. The Good News pattern is always made of things that make us happy: bacon, hot dogs (the animal), smiles, etc. And, obviously, the shiny hologram in the cover is big fun!
How do you research and find the people and subject in Perdiz?
Marta: Sometimes we think about a topic we want to talk about (religion, food, violence) and then we look for the right person to interview, on the internet or asking friends and contributors. Other times we find the person first because someone tells us about him/her. We don’t have a single method.
Marc: We brainstorm a lot with beers (last time it was actually orchata and pear juice) and write silly things on a whiteboard. We try to have fun. After a day or two we look back at the whiteboard and decide what is exciting and what not. And we repeat this process several times until we’re satisfied with the contents – which is usually two weeks or less before going to print.
What’s making you happy this week?
Marta: Discovering incredible new places in my own city. A new project with experimental chocolatier Miquel Coulibaly.
Marc: We’re also organising the launch party of Mambo, Querida’s brand-new newsstand dedicated to rare and precious magazines from all over the world.
Marta: And we’ve recently met a person that we think will perfectly fit our team and help us grow and improve. Movement, people and novelty make us happy.
What’s making you unhappy this week?
Marta: The hot temperatures and humidity of Barcelona in August. Good if you’re on the beach. Too hot to work.
Marc: My back pain. We’re moving to a new studio in Poble Nou and I’m exhausted.
What will you be doing after this chat?
We’re going to a beautiful greenhouse to chat with the owner and see if we can do an event there next September.