Andrew Diprose, Soho House magazine
The Soho House private club group have just launched a new magazine for members and non-members. The boldly coloured publication has been art directed by Andrew Diprose, who shares his working week with us today.
Regular readers might recognise Andrew’s name; until recently he was creative director of the British edition of Wired (read his previous At Work With interview here), and before that co-founder of indie cycling mag Ride Journal. Read on to learn about his latest career shift—how different is it working for a commerical brand?
What are you up to this morning?
I’m still recovering from our first Soho House awards and the launch of the new magazine. It’s been an intense few months of planning the new title. Back to back shooting, working with the team here on animations, films, branding, graphic design, social… Absolutely everything exciting, creative and, er… Exhausting!
Not long after I’d started in this role the Chief Content Officer Jonathan Heaf said we’d be creating a new magazine from scratch in under two months. I laughed out loud. I’d gone from print to purely digital and back to print again!
Where are you based?
We’re in 180 Strand, just up the road from Somerset House. I think it’s saving me a fortune. At Wired I was based off Regent Street in Vogue House. I couldn’t resist Liberty, End Clothing and Arket at lunchtime.
I’m four days a week in the office and the content team is on the 6th floor. It’s buzzy, all the Soho House ‘support staff’ are in here… from product and interior designers, membership team, finance. We’re upstairs from Tik Tok and downstairs from the club, kind of like a Croc wearing, GenZ and Cocktail-swilling sandwich!
Describe your desk and your work space
The desk is actually kinda posh now I look at it, well the whole office is actually. Nice light, good furniture (the same style as the houses) it even smells nice. We ‘hot desk’, but (shhh) I actually like to have the same desk, probably the same as every creative who ‘hot desks’.
I sit with amongst others Jonny the CCO, James the Entertainment Director, and Teo the Editorial Director. Nice folk. As this editorial team is still relatively new there are a lot of meetings, and as we service the whole business with editorial (and partnerships) there are lots of people to meet with! Lots to plan. I’ve moved to laptop-and-screen from a pure desktop machine. I’m JUST about getting used to it… I still lug around my Wacom tablet though.
Which magazine do you first remember?
Goodness, those mini Commando action comics, Look In, Smash Hits and 2000AD. I LOVED 2000AD, how geeky is that? I’d ride back from the newsagents every week with it on my handlebars, reading Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog. Jeez, I told you… Nerdy.
After that I was ALL about Sky Magazine (funnily enough, I actually ended up working there in the late 90’s) then, through my late teens I got sucked into the fashion press with The Face, Arena and i-D (where I ended up interning). Don’t you just love how magazines mark times in your life? Times in your development as a person, as well as your own particular interests? Culture, interiors, fashion, bikes, bikes, bikes. All covered by niche publishing.
Which magazine matters to you the most this morning?
My most regular and long lasting subscription is with New York magazine. Dammit, that magazine is so good. I love Bicycling Quarterly and Monocle. What Alex Hunting does with Kinfolk is great. Milk is cool too. My wife is CD of House & Garden so we have a lot of interiors chats.
Describe the magazine in three words
Culture. Bold. Talent.
How have you found the shift from big publishing to in-house publishing?
Wowee. Great question. It’s been mind blowing. Exciting. So much to learn, but with so many interchangeable elements and shared skills. Yes it’s brand, but good storytelling is good storytelling, right?
I spent a long time at Condé Nast feeling that as a journalist (I even got my head around that notion too) I was saving the world and that what I was doing was kind of altruistic. That traditional publishing was more worthy than brand storytelling, as brand was ‘so obviously commercial’. Let’s make no bones about it. Traditional publishing is business too. After the launch of Wired an irate reader tore out every ad page and set them back to us in the office. I was like ‘what do you think pays all that sweet journalism?’ Good grief.
I’ve learnt so much about servicing the different parts and different needs of the company. And we’re only just really getting going on big, big partnerships. It’s exciting creating editorial for a brand that stands for quality and that people understand.
The magazine is aimed at Soho House members; what will non-members get from it?
The magazine isn’t explicitly aimed at members. It’s journalism for all! The magazine features lots of profiles from our first Soho House Awards, celebrating established and championing emerging talent. Yes, it’s available to members in the Houses globally, but it’s also available to non-members globally through the best magazine stores, galleries etc. All the stories will be available on sohohouse.com too.
In print, it’s 128 pages and frankly a riot of colour. We wanted to create something fresh, exciting and optimistic (don’t we need it now?) Nick Jones, the founder, wanted to shake up the small, black and white language of the Soho House of the past. We wanted to create something bold and bright and full. Nothing po-faced or mean.
The colour palette was strict and it was shared with the events branding. We’ve used that palette of six colours throughout the graphic design and on the backgounds of some of the shoots too, really tried to tie it all together. The colours convert well from CMYK to RGB for all associated digital too.
Another member of staff saw my first proofs and was like ‘ooh, kind of like Smash Hits, right?’ which I thought was poignant and hilarious as it was my first magazine. I dearly hope my first mentor, the sorely missed Gavin Reeve would have liked it.
Highlight one story that sums up the magazine.
I love the Evan Mock story (above). Cool guy. Skater / Surfer / Actor / even looks good in loafers and white tube-socks! We shot him at Soho House Dumbo, in NY. The image of him jumping into the pool is EXACTLY what I planned for the shoot. It shows off the club’s incredible pool and THAT bridge view. It's fun and care-free. Again… don’t we need a bit of that? Freedom to laugh. So many of the shoots were really tightly art directed, it’s fun to have some looseness in the mix too.
What one piece of advice would you offer somebody wanting to launch their own publication?
Find someone hard working and talented to work with. Editors find a good art director. Art directors’s find a clever editor. Someone who won’t run off at the first hurdle. Someone who will care about the detail like you do. And someone who is interested in doing what’s right for the title, not just in doing what suits them.
Doing a magazine on your own is tough. I’ve always loved the coming together that you get in editorial teams, digital and print. A group of clever specialists. Writers, designers, art directors, production guru’s—all working towards creating something of quality that they couldn’t do on their own.
What are you most looking forward to this coming week?
I was leaving the building the other day with a colleague talking about how I was looking forward to it being less busy after the magazine launch and awards, how I would now have time to plan and regroup. They stopped, looked back at me and with a wry smile said, ‘there’s never a break here, Andrew. There’s always the next big thing!’