Bristol’s Another Escape magazine takes us through the journey of individuals breathing life into new projects around the world. Interview with Rachel Maria, co-editor.
Baron: What’s the story behind Another Escape?
Rachel Maria: Another Escape is built around the idea of exploring what inspires people and their process of responding to these inspirations; a look at people and their passions.
Another Escape stemmed quite organically through the interests of the founders. We understood our concept and then looked for a medium to deliver it; we felt that a printed publication would best suit it. The magazine began as a lo-fi zine based around what is more easily defined as ‘creative practice’, but with our new style publication, we really wanted to question and push the idea of what a creative practice can be, and explore the interesting people that are really taking hold of what inspires them.
The transformation to our new style of publication demanded a big step back to turn what had been a rather whimsical project into a polished product that had an emphasis on quality content and design. The build of a good and adaptable brand was important to us, with our concept being at the forefront of our brand identity whilst using the publication as our primary medium.
In part, Another Escape has been a reaction to our social climate and the state of perpetual flux of our global society. The information age has brought us closer together in what is described as a global community, and this has been a fantastic mechanism to share ideas and find others that support and share passions; it has enabled a dialogue between people that wouldn’t have otherwise happened. The last century has seen a great amount of social change, which has resulted in a generation of individuals who question their lot in life. There is now the infrastructure in place that allows us to explore any mode of creativity, even in its most lateralform.
B.: How does that translate to an editorial policy?
R. M.: Our editorial content is very much driven by narratives. Narrative is a fantastic ideology; how people’s narratives can overlap, interweave and work together. The stories that we tell look to have the duality of an individual’s personal narrative as well as a learning experience for the reader. The idea is for our readership to feel inspired by both the person and the ideas behind the subject matter.
B.: Why choose print?
R. M.: There is the old age debate of print versus digital but the way that we see it is that the two platforms allow very different things. Print offers a very tangible experience in an object that you can hold and interact with. This user experience is almost as important to us as the content itself, and we were meticulous about the tactile qualities of the publication. The ambition was to create a simple and elegant design that allowed for the typography, images and overall layout to work harmoniously. The name Another Escape refers to the content, but also very much to the experience that the publication itself intends to offer. It is a pause for an immersive experience.
Another Escape. Our publication looks to straddle the area in between being a magazine and being a book, and we want our readers to feel that Another Escape deserves a sustained spot on their bookshelf. Our content supports this in that it is not intended. The navigation and manoeuvrability that the printed publication enables proved to be by far the best format for the content of to be time-sensitive.
B.: What has been the readers’ feedback, so far?
R. M.: Another Escape has been received really well, and it is really great to see and hear that people are taking an interest. Although we believe that we need to continue to try and reach a larger audience. Through our own marketing and social media outlets, we have been met with a great reception, so hopefully this forecasts the potential that Another Escape has in the marketplace once exposed to a greater readership.
B.: Good print mags get a lot of love, but this isn’t always reflected in sales
or advertising. How are your sales doing? What is your advertising philosophy?
R. M.: Following great advice from experienced industry professionals, we didn’t start overly ambitious; we stayed manageable for our small team to handle and we avoided thinking too big too early. The magazine industry and a magazine’s success are hard to gauge, especially for a publication in the early stages of its life still attempting to reach its target market. A magazine’s success has a multitude of contributing factors and, admittedly, it can take a while to see ‘love’ turn into ‘sales’ - as you put it. All that said, for a biannual, we are now considering becoming a quarterly based on the success that we are having.
For the first volume, we kept the publication free of advertising. Advertising can form a large part of the visual identity and brand persona of a magazine, and volume one was really about tightening and solidifying our brand and editorial direction. In short, we weren’t ready to introduce advertising and did not want to jeopardise the integrity of Another Escape by approaching it idly.
B.: Can you give us a tour of the UK niche media scene
R. M.: Whether it is now clearer to see because we run our own publication or whether it has been the case all along, there seems to be a lot of love for niche magazines. I always believed that the creative industries are ahead of the game in cultural phenomena, and I think print is making quite a comeback. There is a deeper level of understanding of what the two mediums, digital and print, can deliver - and the distinction is huge. In its revival, there seems to be a new breed of publication, not just here in the UK but across the world, where the emphasis is to create something that just wouldn’t work, in either its delivery or content, in a digital or Internet form. Niche magazines seem to be offering just that.
Unfortunately, this niche publishing scene appears to be limited to the larger cities, with London being at the heart of it. There are industry drivers, like MagCulture and Stack Magazines, and I think the prevalence in London is due to collation of those interested in niche magazines coming together, celebrating it and forming networks that support it. Next issue, April 2014.