Last week we featured the slimming down of FAT magazine; today we feature the growing page size of motorcycle mag Esses.
Covering motorcycles and motorcycle racing from a cultural rather than lifestyle angle, Esses celebrates the people who share a passion for the vehicles and the sport. Think of it as The Ride Journal for motorbikes if you like, though with a photographic rather than illustrated visual bent. The name refers to the S-shaped twisty roads riders like to race.
The magazine first appeared in 2013; issues zero and one were a slight A5 size and issue two was a slightly more expansive (and common) 170mm x 240mm. At these smaller scales it never quite grabbed me, but as editor David Burton explains, ‘We chose A5 because it was the cheapest format. We paid for the print on our credit cards.’ Issue by issue the number of pages increased, with income from copy sales being invested directly back into the magazine.
And now we have issue three, which jumps size to an impressive (and unusual) 245mm x 335mm. These big pages bring to life the whole magazine. The photography really impresses; the cover is great and this essay about pavements and kerbs (above and below) really benefits from the scale. The typography has more space to play with too, as these images also show. Despite the large spaces the pages offer, the elements are squeezed in tightly.
Burton and art director Jon Butterworth now work on opposite sides of the Atlantic, relying on the usual range of digital apps (Skype, Dropbox, WeTransfer, Whatsapp etc) to collaborate. They’ve taken time to develop their magazine and the ambition of this latest issue demonstrates the benefit of starting small and growing step by step.