“In today’s political landscape, with growing nationalism and fast-paced media, there is a real need for positivity.” It is difficult to argue with the reasoning behind For, a new magazine that aims to inject some goodness into the world.
For is dedicated to sharing the stories of those who make the planet a better place. “There are individuals around the world who are taking selfless action to improve lives for others, and we want to share these inspiring stories,” says Patrick Durgin-Bruce, the magazine’s creative director. “We hope that we can help build a global sense of cultural empathy, and inspire more personal actions.” Each issue will explore a new theme; the first kicks off with the topic of Ageing, or, as For words it, Maturing.
There is no shortage of compelling stories inside the debut issue. Former US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter converses with his lifelong friend Sheri Mann Stewart about his commitment to human rights (above). Elsewhere, Colombian journalist Yanina Valdivieso Orozco meets Delis Palacios, a survivor of the 2002 Bojayá massacre, who has dedicated her life to advocating for peace and unity (below). In the feature, Palacios considers how communities and individuals mature during and after crises.
For is the creation of Ultravirgo, a graphic design and visual branding agency based in Brooklyn that specialises in ‘strategic communications’ for NGOs and non-profits. This background undoubtably makes them well-positioned for crafting a magazine on this topic – they no doubt have a wealth of contacts and expertise to call upon. It is worth bearing in mind the potential agenda that lies behind For, but the magazine does not disappoint: it has clearly been researched and assembled with a great deal of thought and each feature is of genuine value and interest.
A quirk of the magazine is the number of languages that feature. The publication’s creators are keen to emphasise its outward-looking, international approach: “Our first issue is 156 pages, featuring 10 individuals working in 13 countries, with stories in 5 languages.” Several of the articles are published in the native language of the subject, accompanied by an English translation. This is slightly lost on me. It is unlikely that For’s readers will benefit from articles in five languages, and their inclusion comes across somewhat gimmicky.
Another point worth noting is that when it comes to creative projects that explore the experiences of others, regardless of the people interviewed and the varying points of view heard, all too often the creator has already made up their mind about the topic at hand. This is where For differs, and therefore excels.
“As we talked to more people and received more pitches and articles, we found a range of experiences beyond the linear, chronological change implied by the word ‘ageing’,” writes editor-in-chief Katherine Durgin-Bruce. “Our articles began to explore people who don’t live within the strict nature of time, and how ideas like conflict, forgiveness, and memory change and shift over periods of time.” Such an open and reactive approach to Age is rare and highlights the need for a regular magazine on the subject. Katherine summarises: “Almost no one thinks of themselves as ‘old’. People are people at every age.”