Until recently most magazines arriving here at magCulture have been produced before/during the early stage of the lockdown. Thus their only direct reference to the pandemic was in the editor’s letter, where the extraordinary context of their arrival would be noted even as it was explained that none of the content related to that context.
Four months in, publications are starting to arrive that react directly to the pandemic. System magazine’s 35 front covers, each a different portrait from Zoom conversations is one example. And our latest Page 23 is another.
It comes from a special one-off newspaper produced by quarterly design magazine Disegno. The Lockdown Paper is a tabloid-sized ‘Series of design reflections from the pandemic,’ and takes the place of the regular Summer edition of Disegno.
Page 23 is a typical example of the content and design: text fills a simple three column grid, telling a story from the pandemic without imagery or other adornment. It looks urgent, vital and to the point, reflecting the nature of the story told.
That story is a report from Nairobi about face masks. Nanjala Nyabola describes her response to the changing advice from the World Health Organisation and other experts, before turning to her own experience in Kenya and her country’s preference for reusable rather than disposable masks – a result of a different cultural approach to reuse and recycling to that seen in the UK and US.
Elsewhere, Dan Hill provides a global overview of the changes being made to our cities. He covers planning changes and guerrilla actions – the widening of pavements for walking and outdoor eating, and the use of chalk to note the names of trees and plants where they grow. Rory Hyde looks more closely at the hopes for a better deal for pedestrians and cyclists in our cities. And Disegno founder Johanna Agerman Ross offers a history of the Furlough and its relationship to the idea of a Universal Basic Income.
I’m sure we’ll be seeing more publications offering direct responses to Covid in this manner, but for now this is the only one I’m aware of. It’s a positive and energising read, and a relief from the hourly news coverage of fatality figures and government failure.
Editor-in-chief: Oli Stratford
Designer: Jonas Hirschmann