Matteo Cossu, Uno-Due
Football magazine Uno-Due is an annual publication produced by an international team of football lovers. Edited by award-winning book art director/publisher Matteo Cossu, the magazine is beautifully produced, mixing the best from book and magazine formats.
The third issue, ‘It’s Personal’ had just been published, and is the first to be translated from Italian to English. Packed with strong photography and illustration, and presnted with typographic flair, its explores how soccer shapes our lives beyond the weekend ritual of palying and spectating. Stories in the issue range from the use of football to help African migrant childen in Northern Italy to photo-reportage of Arsenal fans and a series of poems about the sport from 1919.
We hear from Matteo as he starts his week in his home office.
What are you up to this Monday morning?
I live in Los Angeles, California. More precisely, I live in Mar Vista, on the westside. And the people who know Los Angeles will tell you it’s not the coolest, nor the most glamorous of places. But it’s a quiet residential neighborhood very close to the beach and it’s great for a home office!
It’s early morning and the sun pierces in through the shades. Monday mornings are usually the groggiest—weekends are usually spent outdoors, and it sure is hard to stare at a screen after a weekend traveling up and down the California coastline.
Aside from my work with Uno-Due, I work in publishing, producing mainly high-end art books–‘coffee table books’ if you will. I work with authors / artists both on the west and east coast, so sometimes my meetings start as early as 6.30am. Uno-Due’s work is international in nature in all aspects.
Our editorial team is in Italy and I’m here in California, our designers live in NY. I’m really happy about our collaboration: we are really well organized, and I loathe workflows which require frequent check-ins. We constantly take notes as we are brainstorming the new issue, but once things are set, we are very good at delegating tasks between the collaborators, the editorial, and the design team.
Strange to say, but I’ve been impacted very little by Covid—as far as my work routine goes. I’ve always strived to work remotely, and have been lucky that way. That said when even the coffeeshops were closed, it was hard to hang inside four walls every day without seeing another living soul!
Describe your desk and your work space
My workspace is really simple: a desk, a chair and big monitor. But perhaps the most important part is my bookshelf. As a producer and editor I am very involved in editing a book across all of its stages: assessing and re-assessing the physicality of a book is crucial to my process.
Which magazine do you first remember?
My love affair with books and magazines started at an early age. Growing up in small-town Italy I obsessed over the few English-language publications, The New Yorker, Time magazine. My parents gave me a subscription to National Geographic one Christmas and I remember obsessing over its glossy pages and stories on many an afternoon.
Which was the first football match you remember?
One of the very first memories I have from when I was four. I have the most vivd mental image of my dad kicking our front door open cause he was holding a bottle of Spumante in one hand and a live lobster the other. It was summer 1983 and Roma had just won the Scudetto.
I’ve watched a lot of matches over the years, and yet I always came back to that memory. I loved the game, sure, but its ability to evoke feelings in us is where its true power resides. The game itself is a vehicle for sociality, for emotional release. At the stadium, I’m always more interested in the people, their rituals, their chants.
The spoken word is particularly powerful in football, and in conveying those emotions. Italy always had excellent football radio hosts and back in the 90s–describing the game quite literally, a continuous depiction of short plays, momentum, fan atmosphere. We wanted to recreate that sense of place, and of connection that only words can truly describe.
Which magazine matters to you the most this morning?
The Blizzard and Deportes were our first inspiration for Uno-Due, and they are always on our desks. These days I’m absolutely loving The Planthunter’s Wonderground Magazine, such a masterful exercise in typographical style wrapping some very smart storytelling and a non-traditional subject-matter.
Another hit I’m looking forward to is Garagisme’s issue 7. A beautifully produced artsy take on car-culture.
Describe Uno-Due in three words.
A Non-Football Football Magazine
The magazine promises to look at society through the lens of football—can you share some examples of how you do this?
All of our essays use football as a springboard to delve into more complex issues. In particular, issue three, ‘It’s Personal’ analyzes how soccer is made of individual experiences. We have a profile on Miguel Aguilar, at the time the only (known) DACA athlete in the US, we talk about the Argentina’s brutal dictatorship through the recollection of a desaparecido who was forced to write about the ’78 World Cup. There’s Rob Low’s brilliant photo essay on NetRippers–Portland’s very own LGBTQ+ football team, we discuss city dynamics through Espanyol’s bitter rivalry against the evermore touristy Barcelona (and against the globalization-embracing FCB Barcelona). I find that the complexity of our world (and frankly, its dismal state) is usually way too heavy to bring up in conversation–in this sense, using a sport that most people adore can be very effective to raise awareness and discuss uncomfortable themes.
The stories you feature are so rich and varied; how do you discover them?
The editorial direction is myself, Andrea Timpani, and Daniele Sigalot. We each contribute equally as far as composing the table of contents of the magazine. It helps that we all live in different places (and countries) and that we’re all obsessed with slightly different aspects of the game. We all have wonderful networks of creative folks we can draw on for inspiration. Although we usually drive the content ourselves, instead of asking for pitches it is very common we propose an artist or a writer to explore a certain subject we’d like to feature.
What comes next for Uno-Due?
The magazine follows a main theme, and it’s always the first thing that we brainstorm together. After we decide a theme, it’s a lot easier for us to stay on track. Our theme brainstorming events are a lot of fun, we meet somewhere (traveling to Italy!) and we have a good meal and some good wine.
We love our yearly (or sometimes longer) process, Uno-Due is reader-supported, always will be, and for this reason it needs to stay as high-quality as possible. We never print anything we’re not fully proud of. We did a couple of events already in 2021, one in Naples, one in New York. But what we are really looking forward to are the book and magazine fairs.
Please share a piece of advice for somebody wanting to launch their own magazine.
The best advice I can ever give is don’t try to guess what an audience wants to hear. Do your own thing, mix up content, production, design into your own creation–find your voice! As cliche as it may sound, if the magazine is done with passion it will find a public. Also, go to live events and book fairs! We are physical beings and we need physical objects to aggregate around and discuss. Print is alive and well, and always will be.
What will be your highlight of the coming week?
This week I’m traveling to Italy for Uno-Due’s issue four brainstorming event and I’m stoked to see my friends and family!
Editorial direction: Andrea Timpani, Matteo Cossu & Daniele Sigalot.
Design: Lorenzo Fanton & Andrea A. Trabuco Campos