Magazine of the week: Esses #1
There are plenty of independent cycling mags out there, but few motorcycle mags (Australia’s Head Full of Snakes is the only one that comes to mind), so it’s good to see Esses turn up promising a fresh look at motorbikes and associated culture.
Esses (names after the s-shaped roads loved by riders) is published by experienced editor-designer team David Burton and Jon Butterworth. They’ve won multiple editorial awards for their work on the army magazine Camouflage, and are currently employed during the day at Haymarket. By evening and weekend they’ve developed a lovely little magazine in Esses – literally little, the format being a neat A5.
That scale means the pages are tightly fitted together, with photography and text interlocking throughout and a general busy-ness. This reflects the subject matter well without going overboard on the motorcycle aesthetic. It’s masculine but not suffocatingly so (don’t let that ‘Women on Motorbikes’ cover line put you off – the feature, above, is better than that sell) , with some beautifully composed spreads.
The passion for and knowledge of their subject shine through, with a nice mix of reportage, clothing (Lewis Leathers, above) and history.
And even at this small scale they’ve worked the pace well, headlines shouting where necessary.
I’m not sure how fully Esses is going to engage non-enthusiasts, but it is a great introduction to the subject and if you like bikes you’ll love it.
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