Sport’s Team GB covers

London’s free sports magazine Sport celebrates its tenth birthday next month. As the Rio Olympics get going, we asked art director John Mahood to look back at their front covers starring members of Team GB. Here are his favourite five.


Mo Farah, photographed by Hamish Brown
An exceptionally fun day on set, Mo is a bundle of energy and a joy to direct. The most difficult thing about this shoot was narrowing the selects down to pick a cover, there were too many great images to choose from. We gave the shoot a carnival feel with the ticker tape and yellow backdrop, which was inspired by painting on a food truck near the Sport office. Apologies to whoever swept up afterwards as we dropped three hundred thousand pieces.


Jessica Ennis-Hill, photographed by Jon Enoch
We ventured up to Don Valley in April 2012 to shoot this cover with Jess. She was under a huge amount of pressure in the lead up to the London Olympics, this did come through in a lot of shots from this session. On the way to the venue we passed three huge billboards with her face on them, a drive she would have to make daily on the way to training. It takes a special person to deal with that level of expectation. Jon has a real talent for getting intimate portraits, this is one of my favourites that he has shot for us.


Usain Bolt, photographed by Tom Oldham
This was shot at the end of a training session at Brunel University on a gloriously sunny day (the shadow is 100% real). I’d been lucky enough to watch Usain win gold in 2012, but it was a real privilege to watch him sprint at close quarters. Tom Oldham has probably shot Usain more than any other photographer, so there’s a lovely rapport that exists between them and makes the process simpler and means gets you good shots from the start.


Dina Asher-Smith, photographed by Graham Hughes
Dina is one to watch out for at Rio in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. She had only been on a couple of shoots before, but she was a dream to shoot. An absolute natural in front of the camera, and remarkably confident for someone so young. Dina is a difficult one: I wanted to make it quite a fun shoot as she’s a bubbly character. We shot some images showing off her muscle power, but the softer shots were better for the cover.


Greg Rutherford, photographed by Shamil Tanna
This weeks cover is the second time we’ve shot Greg and he’s dream. However, this wasn’t the easiest shoot to do, we had product supplied by brands that just didn’t come anywhere close to fitting his frame. This happens quite a lot with athletes as their frames are much bigger in places, especially around the thighs. The screaming shots were the last frames shot on the day.

Sport turns 10 on 29 September. The magazine is distributed at Tube stations across London every Friday, and available to download for free for iOS, Kindle and Android at


July 2016

Our monthly look back at some of the magazines we received but couldn’t quite squeeze into the daily schedule.  Includes publications about water, graphics, dogs and gear.

Der Greif #9
This German photography and literature title is consistently strong: I would go so far as saying it’s one of the most engaging and consuming photo titles around right now. In a time of so many photography magazines that simply lay out a selection of series against glossy pages and let them doing the talking, Der Greif is using the curatorial space of a publication to do something genuinely different and evocative. It’s layout and photographic juxtapositions take you on a journey. Der Grief doesn’t just showcase, it uses the white page to make connections between photos and words in unexpected ways, and it forces the reader to form intriguing insights and to engage, not just consume. Issue nine’s striking cover image is by Monika Krzynowek.


Mincho #9
Barcelona-based illustration magazine Mincho has always been on-point in terms of the work it highlights. Its collection of articles centre on the best kind of drawing talent, similar work to what you’d find on a good day on It’s Nice That or inside Wrap, but the title also has a tantalising historical bent that contextualizes what’s currently on trend. The magazine’s let-down is its design: the highly grid-based and formulaic set up can feel quite restrictive and pare down what’s being showcased. Wrap sprawls and explodes – the illustration is given space to live as it cascades into a full-blown poster. Mincho could take some of the spirit of its content and apply the energy to its layout too.


Victory Journal #11
Always worth waiting for, the new Victory is tucked in here because there was little to add to what we’ve said before about it – we love it. The large format image-led sports mag is even more pictorial this time round, with highlights including a report from West Ham as the football team leave their old stadium, a lovely story from a US dog show and an attempt to explain the Thai game Takraw. There’s also space for ballet, volleyball (on the cover) and boxing. It’s all about scale — the pictures look fantastic on Victory’s large pages.


Perdiz #7
The magazine dedicated to happiness looks at the theme of balance for its latest issue. Perdiz is consistently warming without being twee or sentimental: issue seven includes an interview with a hairdresser who trims locks with a Samurai sword and fire, there’s a discussion about death with the director of the Morbid Anatomy Museum, and an exploration of why roller-derby players ignore the negative connotations of injury and pain.


Formerly Known As Graphic Design #1
This small, crafted publication was the catalogue for this summer’s Central St Martins graphics degree show. It opens with an essay by new course leader Peter Hall that challanges preconceived ideas of what graphic design is today, then opens out into a well-presented mix of student work and thesis excerpts. Designed by graduates under the watchful eye of typography tutor Phil Baines, it reinforces my impression that the degree show was one of the summer’s strongest.


Water #1
Two new titles all about water have emerged in the last few months: there’s Italy’s Sirene Journal and now also Water Journal from London. The sentiment and idea behind them is strong – water is an evocative theme, it’s fluid and open to such a variety of interpretations. Yet this new London-based magazine has opted to simply look at the serene and still. Therefore the visual language is Cereal-esque, with lulling white space and hazy pictures that, quite frankly, don’t reflect the multitude of ways that water can inspire. There are beautiful shots and thoughtful articles inside the magazine, but Water still only skims the surface. I hope its next issue plunges into the depths of what can be done with the subject.


Revue #1
This chunky magazine has been sitting on the must-read pile here at magCulture for too long. Sharing a sense of scale and production values with fellow French title Shelf Journal, Revue is a fashion title that is a little too generic to my eye. The design is great, with smart typography (the lovely Vendome Condensed) and a good use of space and structure. It’s a confident first issue but I’d love to see a few more surprises in the imagery.


Four & Sons #5
Some magazines seem so niche you wonder whether they can survive beyond the first few issues, and despite the obvious global love of dogs and all things canine I wasn’t sure Four & Sons would make it this far. But here’s issue five and it’s going from strength to strength, more than justifying its place in the indie canon. Dogs seem to warm even the coolest person, and the magazine does the same thing. Well photographed, well designed and well produced, there’s always a few surprises. Eddy de Azevedo’s images of rubbish collected from beaches by while walking are an example how the link to dogs can be broader than you expect.


She is Fierce #1
It’s a brilliant thing that so many young women are sharing their opinions and thoughts in the form of zines like the 90s riot grrrl movement, but there is a danger – as there is with every movement turning to trend – that editors of these titles are simply jumping on the bandwagon and not contributing anything new or original to the genre. I like the girl gang that She is Fierce is forming and promoting – its decision is to showcase teenage girl writers, musicians and artists – yet I’m unsure that another illustrated guide to embroidering jeans or a semi-ironic powder pink colour palette is going beyond what Rookie has done so well for so long. That’s not to say that everything everyone does in the form of making a magazine has to be original to be worth reading – I would be very pleased if my teenage cousin was carrying around a copy of She is Fierce.


Gear Patrol #2
This chunky tome is a spin-off from the US website of the same name. It’s a curious mix, ranging from staple indie stories of travel and adventure to gadgets and technology of the type to be found in more mainstream men’s mags. It’s well put together, visually closer to the indie world with its matt stock and sleek design, and already selling well enough for the publisher to launch it in the UK with local printing.

magCulture meets The White Review

The ninth edition of magCulture Meets sees Jacques Testard, co-editor of The White Review, join us to mark the arrival of the 17th edition of the quarterly literary magazine.

whitereview 17

One of the pleasant surprises at the magCulture shop has been the discovery that literary magazines are booming; and leading this wave is The White Review, a carefully conceived and beautifully produced publication. Jacques will talk about the origins of the mag, and introduce the latest issue.

Thursday 11 August 18.30 to 21.00

magCulture Shop
270 St John Street
London EC1V 4PE

Book tickets

Doors opens at 6.30pm and the talk will kick off at 7pm.

magCulture Meets… is a monthly talk series. Each evening will provide the opportunity to share a beer with fellow magCulturalists and hear a magazine-maker discuss their project in an informal, relaxed atmosphere.

We’re grateful to Park Communications for their support of magCulture Meets

Dance Ink volume 8 #1

We were excited enough about the return of Dance Ink to interview creative director Abbott Miller a few weeks back without seeing the actual magazine. Now we’ve seen the real thing, we’re even more excited.

We’re excited because of the simple purity and quality of its production. The large 255 x 365mm pages arrive well-protected in a transparent plastic sleeve, adding weight to the 60 pages of beautiful papers. The cover sets the mood – a crisp colour photograph by Christian Whitkin is surrounded by dancing typography. All the elements are artfully placed, the most flambouyant gesture being the backward italicisation of a couple of the characters of the word ‘dancing’.

Inside, a series of shoots (all by Whitkin) unfold in full-page glory, stunningly printed on the heavy, matt Mohawk papers. The quality of the blacks in the monochrome shots is wonderful; conversely the white backgrounds of other pages are starkly clean. The photography is a great exposition of dance, but the art direction and picture editing make the images literally dance.

With little written content, the headlines provide texture now and again, always working with rather than conflicting with the images. Mis-registered CMYK adds movement one time, variations in scale another. Nothing is overdone.

We see plenty of magazines pushing at the edges of what’s possible, whether through naivety or a simple desire to experiment. Dance Ink does something else; it takes great photography, strong art direction, intelligent typography and superb print and production and makes a truly special editorial experience. Abbott Miller and his team have left all the hard work on the InDesign pasteboard. The result is a quiet but  beautiful series of layouts, a gorgeous Magazine of the Week.

It’s great to see Abbott Miller’s interest in dance return to print after several app experiments. As he told us in the interview, ‘there is such an allure about the stability of print’.

Read our At Work With post with Abbott Miller

Printout: Cover stories, 26 July 2016

The latest Printout evening saw four magazine makers share their experiences of front cover design. The four speakers were invited to share their favourite and least favourite front covers.

Running order:
Cathy Olmedillas, Anorak
James Wright, So It Goes
Omar Sosa, Apartamento (video)
Paul Willoughby, Little White Lies and Weapons of Reason

Listen here:

The images below are the primary subjects of the individual speakers.

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 22.03.49 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 22.04.29 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 22.12.53 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 22.06.34

Angharad Lewis, writer/editor

Angharad Lewis is a London-based writer, editor and lecturer whose name will be familiar to readers of Grafik and many other design-orientated sites, books and magazines. Her latest book is published this week; ‘So You Want To Publish a Magazine’ is a pocket-sized series of interviews with publishers, printers and distributors that is set to become an indespensible guide for wannebee magazine-makers. We catch up with her as the book arrives in shops.

Angharad working 2

Where are you today?
At my kitchen table. I work mostly from home and I’ve tried a few spots around the house, but I keep gravitating back to the kitchen table. Maybe it’s the proximity to the coffee pot. The table is really long and thin and accumulates all kinds of crap, from kids’ toys to unopened post, but I just clear a space and I’m off…

What can you see from the window?
I have a view out to our little garden on one side, which is calming but also tempting if I’m feeling prone to procrastinate – there’s always a spot that needs watering or some weeds to pull up, and once I’m out there time disappears dangerously. On the other side I get a view of (or should that be, the view is blotted out by) our very large, ungainly, homemade woodshed. But we don’t talk about that.


Which magazine do you first remember?
There was an early dalliance with Just17, but it was too boys-boys-boys and problem page-y. In my mind Just17 is juxtaposed quite absurdly with the National Geographics my dad had in his study – metres and metres of yellow spines and mind-blowing photographs inside.

smash hits

I soon discovered Smash Hits!, which I loved and devoured. I distinctly remember the comments from ’The Ed’ in parenthesis – it’s the first time I remember being aware, albeit in a pretty abstract fashion, of the editorial voice and the fact that there was a bunch of people sitting somewhere putting a magazine together. I was completely fascinated.


That was about 1989, 1990 and I soon graduated through various music magazines — Select, The Face and the NME, which I read avidly in my late teens. I made the pilgrimage to my local WHSmith each and every Wednesday lunchtime when I was in the sixth form, to pick up the latest issue. Those magazines accompanied me through many rights of passage, my early gig-going days and they form a sort of papery backdrop to teenage friendship.


What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
I’m finally getting round to giving MacGuffin issue no.2 a proper read. It’s a new discovery for me – I love the concept of a magazine inspired by the life of things (a whole  200+ pages inspired by the humble window!) and I was drawn to it’s Dutch-ness. I like magazines that poke about in corners you would otherwise never have encountered.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 17.35.21

Also by my side is the latest Monocle, which I bagged on a recent visit to Midori House to take part in a radio interview for Monocle24. It’s been a while since I read it but I’m enjoying getting reacquainted.


Did developing the book inspire you to want to produce your own magazine?
Ever since Caroline Roberts and I signed off the last print issue of Grafik at the end of 2011 we’ve been hankering to get it back in print. It’s such a loaded thing though – Grafik magazine was our lives for many years and we went through a lot of ups and downs, so if it ever comes back in print it will have to be just the right moment and just the right incarnation.

Working on the book certainly got me fired up – I have at least one idea percolating. I think pulling together lots of knowledge from other magazine-makers for the book helped me to see quite clearly, and analytically what you have to nail in order to make a magazine succeed. If I ever get to a point in my life when I have the time to devote to turning those ideas into a magazine, it might happen.


What is the single most essential piece of advice for prospective publishers you picked up?
There was such a lot of really great advice, so it’s hard to boil it down to one. Often there are slightly contradictory things like ‘plan well’ but also ‘don’t think too much – just do it’.


The thing that really resonated with me was magazine people who emphasised the importance of the people and voices on a magazine, that you’re a gang and your magazine should reflect your time, your energy and your world. Forget what you think people want to read, or what seems trendy (if you think like that you probably shouldn’t be making a magazine, just enjoy being a reader).


Did you note any common traits among the interviewees? Is there a typical person making their own magazine?
Bloody mindedness seems to come in pretty handy. Also people with lots of what you might call ‘social elbow grease’, who enjoy getting out and about, making and keeping interesting friends and collaborators.

What are you most looking forward to this week?
I’m going to Berlin for two nights on Friday and I can’t wait. It’s been far too long since I was on a plane and it will be the first time my husband and I have been away without the kids for at least two centuries. Friday is also the official launch date of my new book, so that is rather exciting. I’ll be celebrating with a glass of something intoxicating, somewhere fun in Berlin.

What are you least looking forward to this week?
I’ve started painting the fence in the garden. Which means I’d better finish it. Kind of a nice, meditative job when you get started but I’ll be cursing by the time I reach that last bloody fence panel.

What will you be doing after this chat?
Firing up the coffee pot for another round and getting on with uploading an article to the Grafik website, then writing one for

‘So You Want to Publish a Magazine’ by Angharad Lewis is published by Laurence King ISBN 9781780677545

Angharad will be sharing some of the conclusions from her book at our 10th magCulture Meets evening on Wednesday 14 September. Book tickets.