Every new issue of Law stands out from magazine racks like an exclamation mark. Those covers are just so emphatic; the formula is very simple and the name so evocative and boldly laid out—it’s almost like LAW has stripped back cover design to its most fundamental components, and chosen to simply concentrate on the title, the background and the styling of its cover star.
LAW stands for ‘Living and Working’. Throughout the 64 saddle stitched pages (which are proudly and absolutely ‘Made in England’), LAW seeks to document a perceived ‘undercurrent of Britain’ and the beautiful things in every day life that often go overlooked. It explores the neglected through photos and short, precise stories about a variety of the exotically mundane from allotments to military retailers in Mile End (above). The curated pictures of unseen beauty range from a colourful collage of seed packets (also above) to rubbish bins nestled amongst a field of golden grass and poppies (below). I like the way that photos are printed on glossy paper and the written stories are on a marsh green matte paper stock; it creates a sense of understated detail that suits the magazine’s bold and smartly thought-out style.
LAW portrays a Britain that definitely isn’t ornate red phone boxes or freshly baked scones stacked on twee tea trays, but one could say that LAW’s England is just as quaint as those cliches. The magazine’s depiction of England’s youth culture is idealized and stylized (and mixed in with a good dose of deadpan normcore), but they do a beautiful and convincing job of cultivating a certain story and atmosphere, and in creating a myth of what a ‘real’ Britain connected to an almost old fashioned sensibility today could look and feel like.
A counterpart to Law would be Collection of Documentaries—the mysterious photography journal that’s also from London—both follow in the precedent of the definitive British style of the teddy boys, magazines like The Face and films like Kes. Law is definitely a men’s magazine, one that’s fashion conscious but less dandyish than many of the other independent men’s publications around at the moment. Fashion spreads are airy and cool (above), and at that front, Law collaborate with a jeans brand to profile British craftsmen (below).
My favourite parts of LAW are the records of discreet, unnoticed moments that are unexpectedly surprising; a collection of found notes written by children is a joy to read (above), and a series of pictures of empty, ghostly bus stops oddly moving (below). These features are stand-alone and aren’t part of a holistic series, and this fractured structure is how the magazine is set out as a whole. There’s also a collection of photographs of football fans kissing their Nottingham Forest shirts (also below), and a series of quotes from runners in the Lake District (also below). LAW’s pacing is more like a fanzine as opposed to a magazine; its stories and photos take up two pages at the most, so it’s very much a publication that you open and snatch a random assortment of moods and impressions from, many that are unforgettable. The curation is solid and striking, and together with the images and mood it combines to creates a lucid, impressive and holistic world that seems to walk the line between a far fetched fantasy world and the gritty but lovely mundanity of everyday English life.
Editor-in-chief: John Joseph Holt
Creative director: Joseph Prince
Typefaces: The Entente