With just two weeks left til ModMag17, we hear today from Justinien Tribillon, editor of Migrant Journal. Justinien and art director Isabel Seiffert will be discussing what they’ve learned about publishing since they launched their magazine last year.
What’s your favourite cover of your magazine?
To date my favorite cover of Migrant Journal is our first issue entitled ‘Across Country’, with a forest-green paper and our iconic metallic colours, this time it was copper. Our covers are minimalist, in appearance. But it’s all in the details. The paper we use change for each issue, not only the colour but the texture too. Balancing the minimalism of the front cover, each back cover features an original illustration. On the back cover, of issue one, you find an illustration by Julia Marti that I also particularly like. And then on the spine of each Migrant Journal there’s a tiny and delightful detail that I love. Put issues one, two and three together… and find out by yourself!
What has been your magazine highlight of 2017?
Our highlight was to be Stack’s June issue. In the autumn of 2016 we had launched our first issue with an initial print run of 800 copies. Just a few months later, we had Stack purchasing several thousand copies for their subscribers. For us, it meant that thousands new avid (magazine) readers would receive Migrant Journal and discover our publication. We’re about to send our third issue to print, let’s see how many of these new readers will join our recurring readership.
What was the one mistake that taught you the most about making magazines?
It’s not really a mistake as such, more a timing issue. When you’re in independent publishing, your time is precious and your budget is limited. You tend to focus on the second and neglect the first, by performing time-consuming tasks to save money. Until fairly recently we spent an awful lot of time sending Migrant Journal ourselves, from my living room. We switched for a professional shipping company just before releasing our second issue and quickly realised it meant we had much more time to focus on meaningful tasks and it also ended being cheaper. When I think about all the money and time we wasted sending Migrant Journal ourselves, my heart bleeds! As early as possible in the life of your magazine, delegate the tasks for which your direct involvement does not bring added value.
Which other speaker are you most looking forward to hearing at ModMag?
I’m a long-time subscriber to The New York Time and Le Monde (and their weekly magazines, both of great quality) that I read almost every day along with The Guardian. I’m always curious to hear how the big and old players keep reinventing the game—both in terms of content, design and business model(s). So I’m really looking forward to hear Francesco Franchi sharing his experience at La Reppublica.
What will you be talking about at ModMag?
I think it will be interesting to share our experience as non-magazine makers. We don’t come from the publishing industry: we selected magazine as a medium because we thought it was the most effective and appropriate way to explore the topic of migration and its relation to space. And our journey so far has showed we were right to think so.
The Modern Magazine 2017
Thursday 2 November (9am to 5.30pm)
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL (map)