At Work With: Andrew Diprose, Ride Journal
By day, Andrew Diprose is the award-winning creative director of the UK edition of Wired – he’s currently BSME art director of the year. But away from the office he co-publishes (with his brother Philip) The Ride Journal, a much-loved cycling magazine that has been as successful with its specialist readership as it has been influential on the independent magazine scene. Here he looks at the week ahead as issue 8 of The Ride Journal hits the shops.
Where are you today?
I’m in the Wired office at the north end of Hanover Square, just off Regent St in London. We’re opposite the main Condé Nast HQ Vogue House after recently moving from Old Bond Street where we’d been since launch in 2009. The design department is at the far end of the new office; in a spot I affectionately call the Art Cul-De-Sac. I now have a five or six second warning before David Rowan the editor is at my desk!
What can you see from the window?
I’ve worked long and hard in this industry for this view. Two, maybe three bubblegum footed pigeons fighting over a narrow window ledge in an internal ‘light’ well.
Do you work better in the morning or the evening?
Usually the morning although, as I’m a proud new Dad again (Betty is 3 weeks old) the sleepless nights are back. I’ve an unnecessarily complicated coffee machine at home so I usually arrive at Wired, er, wired. The design work on The Ride Journal is done at home so when it’s time to put together the next issue I finish dinner then get back on the iMac. Not sitting in front of the television can only be a good thing right?
What’s your favourite magazine today?
I’ve been really enjoying the latest Guestbook. It’s a magazine/ brochure hybrid designed by Field Projects for One Fine Stay. It’s voyeuristic home-lifestyle porn with a canny use of illustration, a lovely choice in stock and some clever typographic touches. I’m so excited when the new issue arrives. (I actually contacted them for a replacement when one of my back issues went missing). Beautiful in the hand, It’s one of those lovely printed publications that’s really work keeping.
The Ride Journal and Wired are two very different magazines. What, if any, influence does each have on the other in terms of page design and commissioning illustrators?
In a Venn diagram of The Ride Journal and Wired they meet with ‘loves illustration’. (Does a quick Venn diagram)
You’re right they are such different beasts though. Wired is obviously all about the new. New ideas, new technology, new thinking. It’s such an exciting and demanding title as an art director. The Wired tagline reads Ideas, Technology, Design, Business; The Ride Journal would be more like Riding, Riding, Bikes, Riding.
It’s a real pleasure being able to exercise two very different styles of design as an art director. I often liken it to be talking in two different voices as a designer, the same language but maybe two very different accents. We have a great selection of talented artists contact both titles, some are suitable for both, some very Wired or The Ride. I have approached some of the artists I work with for Wired for the journal but it’s nice when someone like Ben here at Wired (who commissions a lot of the illustration) sees someone in the journal and it works the other way round, a lovely visual cross-pollination.
At Wired we’re usually more prescriptive and detailed in what we’d like from a commission than with The Ride. With the journal I’m happy for people to ‘run free’ and I’m happier to be surprised with an often surprising (and random) outcome. The Ride though freer in some ways has it’s own challenges, I’m expecting high quality work for no payment. It’s my endeavour that both respect the work of the photographers and illustrators.
The Ride Journal has quietly built a very loyal, passionate readership. Any tips to share on doing that?
That’s kind of you to say. Philip and I just make something simple with no hidden agenda and it’s lovely that people really enjoy that. I’d like to think our obvious love of the subject matter comes across to the reader. Magazines at their best are a very close connection between readers and their passion. When you can sense enthusiasm, integrity and pride in work from an editorial team (however small) it’s like gold dust.
We’ve been vocal in the past about how we don’t have any ‘how to ride faster’, ‘you ride here’ and ‘you should buy this bike’ features in the journal, there’s are plenty of great bike magazines if you like that, what we do is tell stories, and everyone loves stories right? When people say ‘the journal made me want to just get out there and ride my bike!’ That’s the highest praise for us.
You've overseen the development of print, tablet and iPhone editions of Wired. If you were launching The Ride Journal today would it be print or digital?
Print, print, print. I love Wired on the iPad and I love Wired on the iphone, but it’s a mistake to think it’s essential that a publication has to exist in a digital place too (bearing in mind the Journal is a non-profit independent magazine). There are so many brilliant things you can do with a brand on a screen, but that’s not what the Journal is right now. I love to see a back lit photo on a retina screen but I also want to feel that heavy uncoated stock in my hands, smell that Soya ink and flick through the thing.
What are you most looking forward to this week?
We’ve just had a great idea (I might be biased) for the May cover of Wired and I’m excited about mocking some ideas up and speaking with the photographer. I feel pretty anxious until I’ve got the cover idea and an execution I’m happy with. We also have an event with Tim Berners-Lee to coincide with our March issue hitting the newsstand, (we have a Web at 25 package in the issue, above). For The Ride Journal, we have a small gathering at Albam (they stock the Journal) in Beak Street celebrating the launch of issue 8. Chatting bikes and magazines over a beer, could anything be better?
What are you least looking forward to this week?
What will you be doing after this chat?
My dad watched me design something the other day. He said ‘all you do is push things around and fiddle with things, and then go back and tweak them again!’ I’ll be doing a lot of that.