Adam Hunt, This Way Up
Alongside his full-time job in advertising, Adam Hunt edits, designs and publishes This Way Up, a magazine that practices what it preaches—it celebrates self-initiated creative projects and the people behind them.
The two issues to date have been rich collections of stories and work, presented in a lively, witty design that makes the most of print (see the metallic silver cover of the second issue). That issue includes an interview with editorial hero Richard Turley which will be of interest to Journal readers.
Adam describes the ups and downs of self-publishing as he shares his work environment, his inspirations and his week ahead.
What are you up to this Monday?
I’m currently working from Cape Town in South Africa. One of the positives to come out of this pandemic is that it’s allowed both people and companies to re-evaluate their approach to what a usual working day can look like. I work full-time as a designer for advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy London. My partner, Kerrie, works for a South African company, their main offices being in Cape Town and London, so we took the chance to experience doing something different for a little bit.
This Way Up is a personal project and something I work on in my spare time from our, usually much more grey, living room/kitchen in our East London flat.
Describe your desk / workspace.
My workspace is really just my laptop. I ditched using a dual monitor over a year ago, I was becoming reliant on it and wanted to be more flexible with how and where I worked.
Which magazine do you first remember?
The magazine that probably had the most effect on me—or the one I remember most from when I was a kid—is the old White Dwarf magazine from Games Workshop. When I was younger I was fairly heavily into Warhammer, I even had my ninth or tenth Birthday party in one of their stores. I was obsessed with the illustrations, I couldn’t get enough of all these hyper detailed and savagely brutal hand drawings. I’d spend hours copying them. Looking back at the magazine now, a lot of the type and illustrations go incredibly hard - I still rate it.
Which magazine matters the most to you this morning?
I think most designers/art directors like to take this opportunity to show how unconventional and esoteric their taste is (and sadly I’m no different 🙈), but I’m going to answer this in two parts.
Part 1 - The self indulgent answer:
This doesn’t really show any sort of relevance to This Way Up, or hint at an origin story, but, I’m very into Miser & Now. It’s an out of print magazine focusing on art, design and culture from London-based design agency CHK design.
When I was a student, I remember seeing the masthead for the first time; it blew my mind. I was utterly in love with it and still am. I actually managed to track some copies down on eBay a few years back - very chuffed to have them in my collection.
Part 2 - The glint in the eye answer:
I think anyone who is making a magazine independently in this day and age is important. I salute you. It’s a lot of work and takes up huge amounts of energy and time. But the personal rewards are high.
We need more magazines and creative content made by people interested in niche subjects that exist in the fringes of society and culture. The more of that we have, the richer, more interesting and diverse we’ll become, not just as the independent magazine scene, but as thinkers, creatives and people.
Describe This Way Up in three words.
Labour of love.
How do you research and source the stories you feature in the magazine?
I’m generally very interested in art, design, photography and anything that loosely sits in or around the creative field. Luckily, like most designers, I also tend to do a lot of research whilst at work, where I’m diving ever deeper down internet rabbit holes. I always have one eye open for someone/something that I’d love to talk to and find out more about.
My only rule for content selection is anything that stops me dead in my scrolling tracks and makes me go ‘fuck, that’s amazing’. I keep a list of names and links in a text file on my laptop which I update whenever that happens. I’m pretty sure this is an awful way of doing things, if anyone has any tips for apps for better bookmarking—I’m all ears.
We loved issue one, but have had to wait four years for issue two. Why the delay?
This Way Up, just like with any magazine these days, is a huge Labour of love. Hence the three word summary. It’s a project I run almost on my own. Kerrie, who is shit-hot with everything word-related, helps me edit, proof reads and does things like that.
So, the team is super small, just the two of us. And as I already have a full time job—anyone who knows what it’s like to work in advertising, knows how demanding creatively and personally the industry can be—the honest answer is: it can be hard to find the time. Then, you also have to attempt to have a personal life, eat, sleep, and try and be healthy and active…
Specifically in relation to issue two, and I mention this in my editors note, this issue took me around a year and a half to complete. Although it says ‘published intermittently’ in the colophon, I thought I was starting to take the piss with what this term could mean. The aforementioned full-time job (and life), with the additional pressure of a global pandemic, and all its entailing woes; job insecurity, fluctuating mental health and lack of time with loved ones, can quickly make you reevaluate how you want to spend your spare time. However, with that all being said, the issue made it, it’s a real inky thing you can hold in your hands and I couldn’t be prouder.
I also want to add how tremendously grateful I am to all of the incredibly generous contributors who gave up their time to talk to me and sent me their work to feature. Obviously, without them the magazine is nothing.
Please share one piece of advice for somebody wanting to launch their own publication.
I think the best piece of advice I can give anyone is to always go with your gut. It can be applied to any part of the process. If you’re unsure if people will like your idea for the mag? Go with your gut. The masthead, go with your gut. The cover image, go with your gut. Choice of typeface, go with your gut. Colour choice, go with your gut. Layout decisions, go with your gut, once more for luck: go with your gut.
To be clear, I’m not saying you should just make random decisions not based on any insight and research, there’s just a lot to be said for creative intuition.
To be honest, this isn’t something only relevant to magazines, or publishing, or whatever, it’s pretty universal and should be applied to any creative thought, problem, project, or idea. Because, in my experience the further and further away you get from it, the further away you get from making something you enjoy.
What are you most looking forward to this coming week.
Over the last year or so, along with the magazine and other freelance clients I have, I over-worked myself. This year I’m cutting back, taking some time out from working and focusing on the other parts of my life that aren’t design related.
This coming week we have some friends coming to stay for a short while. I’m looking forward to spending time with them and drinking wine.