Elsie magazine is a labour of love from Welsh creative director Les Jones, an irregular publication that’s always worth a look for its idiosyncratic outlook. The third issue is no exception, being conceived while Jones was in between meetings in London and spotted a gallery sign covered in stickers . He photographed the sign (below), but only later became intrigued by the image. Some of the stickers were older and more faded, others more recent. Where had they originated from?
Another person might have dismissed the thought, but a year of research later Jones had a set of stories from around the world, each related to one of the stickers (and mapped, below).
The fun starts with the front cover. Blank but for a ‘Hello my name is Elsie’ sticker, readers are invited to decorate it using a replica set of the original stickers. Expect to see sticker-bombed images on twitter and Instagram over the coming weeks.
The chance-based structure of the issue allows for a wide range of content and stories. We meet a Spanish hip-hop band, a Dutch boundary-pushing art group, Croatian football fans and a celebrity tattooist… Jones has tracked them all down and researched full stories for each. A photography student turns up as a dental nurse (below), the Spanish band have split up, while Swiss fashion brand Heidi has gone from strength to strength.
It’s a clever, intriguing way to create a magazine and the issue is vivid and colourful; what lets it down is the page design, which lacks a common structure or character, something that would have shifted the project from charming to wonderful.