There are articles in publications and also articles of clothing: Article belongs to both worlds, a luxury magazine stocked alongside garments by iconic luxe brands such as Alexander McQueen, Burberry and Paul Smith. Its sewn binding is deliberately frayed like a stylish pair of torn but brand new jeans, and the special collector’s edition comes with a slipcase (below) and posters of artwork by featured artists (below).
Something about the magazine is reminiscent of a beautifully packaged limited edition vinyl boxed set. The process of removing it gently from its sleeve, opening up the luxuriantly thick paper (Colorplan, available in ten different colours) and turning through the contents, has that same ritualistic quality as slipping out a record, caressing the vinyl, and carefully reading the lyrics printed inside.
Issue five takes ‘Islands’ as a loose but atmospheric and symbolic theme. A magazine, after all, is a kind of island, with its own culture and coastline. Its eclectic features explore historic British islands, imaginary islands from ’80s films, and small islands of wonderful power and strangeness in the heart of London – such as Patrick Hodgkinson’s architecture in Bloomsbury (above), and the Jamie Smith & Sons Holborn Umbrella emporium in Covent Garden.
Strong title pages have become a staple of the magazine: they’re typically white and spacious but capture the tone of the content through precise, evocative typography. For a piece about Seaworld, a sea blue title trickles down the page like water (also above), and a feature on G F Smith & Sons paper supplier makes a joyous, yellow paper chain from two letters (below).
Artwork by Leon Chew punctures the beginning and end of each feature, printed on smooth silky stock. His set of abstract photographs of circles adds to the abstract vinyl-feel of the magazine, as the shape sits in the middle of the near-square page like a 7-inch single. Each picture is a subtle but suggestive reference to its neighbouring piece: A golden photo of a sparkling city at night sits next to the Utopian architecture feature (above), and a grey stone garden anticipates the magazine’s Barbara Hepworth profile (below).
The more you look, the more you appreciate that every aspect of Article has been carefully considered. Every detail is elegantly thought through; even the contributor biogs are accompanied by a picture of the writer/image-maker’s favourite pair of sunglasses (above), a playful addition that adds a sense of cohesion and personality to a traditionally plain magazine section.
Article is a paperbound treasure trove of surprises, a publication where imaginative artwork sews the structure together, and where the design intelligently relishes the idea of ‘magazine-as-object’. The regular edition is special enough, but the fact that Article has its own ‘Collector’s Edition’ shows how the publication thinks of itself as an irresistible glossy box set of stories and images, a permanent object to hold and display and ultimately collect and live with as much as it is a temporary publication to read.