The first issue of OH-SO was very enthusiastically received here, and any sense of it being a one-off was dispelled by founder Rob Hewitt who revealed recently he had not only completed this second issue but has the third just about ready to print.
This second issue of OH-SO is even stronger than the first, despite it no longer being . And celebrating female skateboarding with such style is not only refreshing in its own, unique, niche but coincides with a host of titles about women’s sport (see our interview with Ro Jackson earlier this week).
Here’s a breakdown of its strengths in five pictures.
ONE: First, Sky Brown epitomises the skateboarders in the magazine. This ten year old (!!) British boarder is shown in action with such infectious joy in her face that it sets the tone for the whole issue. Her grin leads perfectly into the following feature from Sam Haddad, a reminder to boarders that ‘It’s ok to Smile’ — a symbolic finger up at the dead (male) stare that has long represented the sport.
TWO: Sky is also cover star, where another flying smile is exaggerated as she appears to crash through the page. Masthead, coverlines and barcode are all shoved aside to emphasise her movement, a smart piece of design that makes no attempt to appear ‘real’ but instead is happily symbolic.
THREE: Inside the magazine, the headline typography remains as bold as in issue one; headlines are generally just the subject’s name — most features are interviews — and starkly graphic, such as this one that reads ‘Annie’. This tough design is softened throughout by the twisting tails of standfirst text.
FOUR: The international nature of the female skateboarding community is highlighted as we meet boarders from Jamaica, Spain, Brazil and India; here, another young boarder, Kamali Moorthy from India, tells us she first knew she wanted to be a skateboarder when she was ‘still in her mother’s tummy’.
FIVE: Hewitt, an experienced editorial designer, uses all the elements of magazine-making at his disposal; the stories, typography and photography are all strong. But there is space for illustration too, and while Renaud Vigourt’s animal drawings accompanying the afore-mentioned piece about smiling match the visual impact of the other elements, Sam Haddad’s brief reminder that boarding can help your mentla health demands a gentler piece of art. Muhammad Mustafa’s subtle artwork delivers just that, and promises further development in future issues of the magazine.
Hewitt’s found a clever vehicle for his design work-out. The art direction and design of his magazine all stem from the content, but he might easily have applied his creativity to a subject less vital. Instead he’s found something he’s passionate about and this makes OH-SO even more powerful.