Magazine of the week: Article
Article has been around for a couple of years in Sheffield. It was launched by students Alasdair Hisccock and Ben Dunmore as a local alternative to the ‘barren landscape of free magazines about property, cars, home improvement, and awful local music’. They wanted to make something that respected the intelligence of its readers, and in the process prove that free magazines needn’t be rubbish. Judging from this issue (the fourteenth), they’ve more than proved that.
Published five times a year, Article is ‘a guide to the space you're in,’ says Alisdair, ‘an unpretentious cultural review of the everyday world’. That world is rooted in their home city of Sheffield, where the magazine has explored subjects including architecture, art, graphics and music through themes such as, in this case, copying.
Alasdair and Ben design the pages themselves, and have developed a modern layered look that makes the most of two-colour printing. There’s a fascinating combination of naivety and skill in the designs that means when it works – such as these review pages, above and below – it works really well. Other pages with longer texts are harder to read. But these yellow and black pages are beautiful.
The team have no experience of editing, design or selling magazines but have made a great start at all these roles. They’ve developed a strong sense of character for their magazine, the content is strong, the art and design coverage especially so. There’s a great piece about alternatives to centralised city branding projects, and there’s space for art projects and photo reports on local events such as this live action battle re-enactment (below).
Selling and distributing the magazine is, as ever, the toughest part of the process. They rely on advertising, the magazine being distributed free through local shops. Alasdair and Ben are rightly proud of the project while remaining realistic. Alasdair: ‘We want to have fun with it, and see what we might be able to create. We are in a privileged position of having a magazine that’s ours, and totally free to do what we want with. As long as we can find a way to print it, we can do it’.
This latest issue was also distributed in other northern cities (Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham), with a few copies available in London too. Later this year they plan a collaborative issue with what remains of local design heroes Designers Republic, but meanwhile the next issue, on the theme of Drift, will be published in October. That issue will also be distributed by Stack, who recently ran a piece about the magazine.