Port magazine celebrates its fifth anniversary with its latest, 18th, issue. Not bad for a magazine that, according to the editor’s letter, one of the founders rated would last just one issue.
Those three founders have now separated somewhat. Editor Dan Crowe remains in charge, but original creative directors Matt Willey and Kuchar Swara have handed over to James Reid and Tom Watt (although Swara still has a contributing role, and Willey designs the covers inbetween art directing the New York Time Magazine). Yet the magazine retains its visual identity; clean, monochrome typography and strong photography dominate its pages.
All of which might be enough to justify its inclusion here as Magazine of the Week, but it’s a couple of detailed developments to the original Port formula I want to highlight here.
First, the headline typography; several of the headlines have been created by Mangray as huge, blobby ink splatters spelling out the words in almost primeval fashion. Complete with dried, flaking areas, these are genuinely surprising. While contrary to the clean, smart typography elsewhere, the contrast is exciting.
The inky scrawls fill the pages well, fitting the space. My favourite (below) is the name Tadao Ando opening the cover feature (the issue has two alternative covers, the other being Will Self). It’s refreshing to see such bold, experimental type that is so different to much of what we see in independent magazines today.
Other stories have headlines at the opposite extreme of intensity, almost missable 20pt text (above). The degree of change in pace is as impressive as the ink splats themselves.
The other stand-out feature is this watch shoot (above and below). It’s a really clever combination of fashion/style and life stage reference, and charmingly photgraphed by Ian Pierce and Tom Watt.
It’s great to see a magazine that’s been around a while continuing to develop and change. Long may it continue to do so – another of the founders gave the magazine 50 years. I wonder what it will look like then?
Clarification: Matt Willey was invited to mark the fifth anniversary of the magazine and designed the Will Self cover only.