Serge Ricco, L’Obs
The latest magCulture Live speaker to answer our Q&A is Paris-based creative director Serge Ricco. Serge helped reinvent the long-established French news weekly L’Obs in 2010 and has overseen its design since. He is also working on ‘MagMen’, a documentary about the late 20th Century golden age of magazine-making.
What are you doing today?
Today is the busiest Monday of the year. I have three special issues to design in addition to the weekly magazine. When you work for a news magazine, you never have time to bored.
I’m also sorting through my archives in my office because we’ll move to our new modern Austerlitz building buit by our shareolder, the newspaper Le Monde in 2014. There's no place for paper and print in a modern newsroom anymore.
Who/what inspired you to work in magazine publishing?
When I was studying graphic Design at Estienne school, 7 à Paris was my favorite weekly magazine. It was a mixture of City Limits, Time Out and Seven Days (the first weekly of Adam Moss). The covers were funny and creative. I learned much later that my friend inspirer Peter Knapp (art director of Elle in the sixties) was special consultant for this magazine.
Can you describe the editorial personality of L’Obs for the non-French speaker?
L’Obs is a French political news weekly, published since 1950. The direction is left-wing even we have the half of our readers from the right-wing. It has change name three times (L’Observateur, France Observateur, Le Nouvel Observateur). In 2014, we completely rethought the editorial design of the magazine to celebrate its half century. This week we are going to blow the five candles of l’Obs. Time goes by!
How can magazines make a difference in 2019?
Today the news as a value are dead. I think the magazines nowadays are like bees of society. They are in danger but they are essentials to pollinate ours brains facing social medias.
But I’m optimistic as always. We’re living the same death that the industry of vinyl records in eighties or the analogue photography at the end of the nineties. Both are back today, I’m sure it will be the same for the magazines in the next ten years. Magazines are dead, long live magazines!
You’re going to be sharing your work on L’Obs at magCulture Live, alongside some of your inspirations. Can you give us a hint about which magazines inspired you?
New York magazine, as always. New editor-in-chief David Haskell is like a younger Adam Moss. He’s amazing. I hope that the new owner doesn’t change the spirit of it, my favorite magazine. I just finished reading the fascinating autobiography of Gail Sheehy, writer and wife of Clay Felker, founder with Milton Glaser of New York.
I’ll now be able to start ‘The World of Carmel Snow’, book designed by Brodovitch.
Who are you looking forward to hearing/meeting at magCulture live London 2019?
‘Surprise me!’ is my answer. But I must admit that talking just before Judy Quon and Matt Willey is an idea that delights me!
Hear more from Serge at magCulture Live on 7 November. Check the Eventbrite page for the complete line-up and details.