Pablo Martin, Notebook
Movie streaming platform MUBI’s new magazine Notebook is an impressive addition to their service, a publication that emphasises the love for movies rather than simply promoting their subscriptions.
Pablo Martin is the creative director behind this success. He has 35 years of experience at the top level of design, including signage and brand identities as well as magazines and newspapers. He joined MUBI in 2019, and oversees a team of designers producing trailers, posters, brand campaigns and promotional items for MUBI’s global audience, as well as leading Notebook. He tells about the origins of the magazine as he shares his week ahead.
What are you up to this Monday morning?
It’s 8:50 and I’ve just got to the office after cycling from West London. It’s a 15-20 minute ride, depending on my energy and the weather. I go through Hyde Park so is quite a nice way to start the day and the week.
I will have a coffee now, before checking emails and the briefs on Basecamp, then I will send a ‘good morning’ message to my team on our Slack channel at 9:30. Then the day officially starts.
Where are you?
I’m at the MUBI office on Newburgh street, 2nd floor. It’s a short cobblestone street parallel to Carnaby in Soho. The team I lead occupy one of the two MUBI townhouses. In our house spread over three floors, I have designers on the first floor, Video Editors on the third floor and the Studio Manager, the Team Assistant, the printer and me in the middle.
Which magazine do you first remember?
As a child TBO (Te-Be-O, ‘I See You’ in Spanish) was always around, it’s a comic magazine for kids. I specially remember the back cover, with this mental open building and its neighbours. I have also a vivid memory of Time magazine from the eighties because my brother had a subscription. I remember well the cover of the issue ‘The Tribes of Britain’ from 1983. Also National Geographic. I guess I liked colour frames :-)
Later came Life magazine, Rolling Stone and the discovery of British design: The Face, Arena, i-D… While at art school I usually went to San Antonio market in Barcelona on Sundays, where you could buy cheap used books and magazines. That’s where I discovered Twen, probably my favourite magazine ever and a big influence.
My list of magazines I like is endless: Fabien Baron’s Interview and Bazaar, Vince Frost’s Big, Derek Birdsall’s Nova and The Independent on Sunday, Simon Esterson’s Reportage…
Which magazine matters to you the most this morning?
These days I try to get hold of copies of The New York Times Magazine and ZEITmagazin. I’ve always had a crush for The World of Interiors, I try to buy it every month. I like photography and I try buying Aperture also. And Eye is obviously a must.
Describe your magazine in three words.
It’s fascinating seeing a streaming platform launch such a strong piece of printed matter. Talk us through how the magazine came about.
The idea of a print magazine came up on my first conversation with Efe (MUBI’s founder and CEO) four years ago. I suggested it would be cool to make a magazine, and he replied ‘yes, I always wanted to do a print magazine’.
Later, when I met Daniel Kasman, the editor-in-chief of Notebook online and Head of Content at MUBI, I found out he also had that idea in mind. So, the initiative had been around for years before I joined.
After fourteen years curating movies and running a digital magazine it seemed the right moment to create the print version. Quoting Daniel from the editor’s note in Issue 0: ‘The Notebook magazine has been created as a new venue for this cinematic encounter: a publication to explore, celebrate, and advocate for film across its many diverse origins and makers. Such a venue must be a place of discovery and delight; it has to collaborate with creators and commentators alike, and its design needs to share the material beauty of its subject. By expanding the opportunities for the audience to engage with the seventh art, we can guarantee the cinema to come. Notebook represents a new element of the MUBI ecosystem dedicated to advocate for cinema.’
Having worked on it from issue 0, I have been able to develop it to this point and it’s been something of a passion project for me within my broader role at MUBI running the creative team.
Tell us about the editorial team.
Daniel Kasman is the Vice President of Content at MUBI and the editor-in-chief of the online Notebook and also of the print version. Davide Cazzaro is the Deputy Editor and Publishing Manager. Before joining MUBI, Davide was the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Nang, the beautiful magazine dedicated to cinema in Asia. The team also includes Matt Turner, the Editorial Co-ordinator; Chloe Lizotte, a Contributing Editor; and an editorial advisory board that includes festival directors, a filmmaker, producer, scholars and critics.
Describe the design approach of the magazine.
The approach is always to let the content drive the creative solution, but at the same time give the magazine a strong typographic and design personality. This is consistent with the design style we apply to the other work the creative team do at MUBI across both video assets and print. Design that is clear, timeless, enduring, visually powerful, iconic and honest.
Using MUBI’s corporate typeface Riforma throughout the magazine helps to achieve typographic consistency. And last, but not least, there’s room for surprise and some level of experimentation and playfulness in every issue.
It's lushly produced—different papers, fold out pages—how is Notebook funded?
Notebook is funded by MUBI. The magazine is produced to the highest possible standard but without frivolous print finishes. Yes, we are combining different stocks of paper that are carefully selected, that helps to organize the content and give the magazine certain structure, this was a deliberate decision. We also think is important that the spreads open nicely, so we use lay flat binding. To hide the stitches on the spine we cover it with fabric, which is a nice finish. It’s a solution to a problem, not only an aesthetic decision.
What are you most looking forward to this coming week?
This week we will start working on issue three, and the content for the issue is amazing, so I’m quite excited about it. But mainly my focus will be on our next theatrical release and starting to work on the key art for it. So double excitement!