Biannual magazine Nork is made in northern Norway and is a celebration of its art, culture and lifestyle. Hoping to connect this ‘urban wilderness’ with the rest of the world, the magazine is thoroughly unique, full of unexpected stories.
Winner of the ‘Best Use of Illustration’ category at the Stack awards last week, Nork is a relatively new publication swiftly making waves. Non-photographic illustration is an often overlooked feature in a publication, but Nork proves that when done well, it can be more impactful than a mag full of photos. Where there are photos, they’re collaged: not one page has been left untampered, and the care that’s gone in is palpable.
I expected the illustrations to be great, but what I didn’t expect were the words to be on par, or to be as numerous as they are. There is a total balance of text and imagery throughout, and the text is a mixture of polemic, poetry and prose. Each story is prefaced with an enormous (relatively speaking) black or white blob, and a tiny title announcing the story number. No two stories take the same format; the mag uses negative space boldly and brilliantly.
I also love the wiggly alphabet found in the last few pages; flicking back through Nork I realise that these motifs are scattered all over the mag.
Like so many current magazines, the climate crisis is the central theme of the issue. Nork introduces it off the bat, and continues to make reference throughout, either directly, like in Story 7 (My Hand is Warmer than the Sun) or more subtly, in a poem that seemed to be about something else. Nork grabs your attention and keeps it.
A particular highlight for me was an article on ‘future fauna’, a virtual experience of an ancient Nordic forest. It’s not really an article though – without spoiling it, I will say that nothing in Nork is as obvious as that. The illustrations take a deviation here, with CGI moose, owls and hybrids of the two assembled on the page.
Even the front cover is quietly droll, tip your head to the left to read the subtitle: ‘ROSES ARE GREEN / VIOLETS ARE GREEN / SUGAR IS GENETICALLY MODIFIED / AND SO ARE YOU’
Creative director: Agnese Zile
Editors-in-chief: Marion Bouvier and Agnese Zile
Graphic design: Konstantin Lobanov
Buy your copy from the magCulture Shop