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Pickles: Football + Design + Wit

Pickles: Football + Design + Wit

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Football (soccer) magazines have come a long way from their sad lives as a supplement in newspapers. Theirs a new generation of football lovers wanting to bring the game to the masses with beautiful designs, great – and different – articles and art.  Ned Read, founder and creative director, illustrator and football fan living in London from Pickles magazine is one of them.

Baron: Pickles bio…
Ned Read : Pickles is a quarterly, independent, football magazine. Named after the Collie who sniffed out the lost Jules Rimet trophy prior to the 1966 World Cup. Established in 2011 by Ned Read, Pickles was among the first of a growing band of publications to chart the overlap between football and the arts. Ned initially collaborated with a small team of designers, illustrators, writers and football fans. With each issue the number of contributors has increased and the magazine has grown.

At the point of the magazines conception in 2011, there were very few football magazines that embraced design and illustration. We wanted to take a new approach and create something fresh and original. We were also tired of the mainstream approach to football journalism and the throw away stories and gossip pieces.

B.: How does that translate to an editorial policy?
N.R.: The aim is to offer an alternative voice on football culture, present unique and original features and offer commentary on the modern game. Rather than focusing on stories that would be out of date when we print or titillating gossip pieces, we feature more opinion type articles and search for more obscure or forgotten footballing stories.

Each issue is based on a theme and we are currently working our way through the deadly sins. Our World Cup issue is based on ‘Pride’. The idea of using a theme to tie each issue together means that from the very outset of each edition, we can give contributors some direction. They can also come back with their own ideas. It gives the issue some structure and helps create a narrative.

B.: What has been the readers’ response?
N.R.: The response has been great. Our readers appreciate where we are coming from, and football fans are really receptive. I guess you can take it or leave it and it’s not going to be everyones cup of tea, but often the stories transcend football and have a much broader appeal. Even if you’re not a die hard football fan, Pickles features great writing, great design and illustration, I think that appeals. Even though we don’t offer a subscription to the magazine, we know the same readers order every issue and that’s a good thing.

B.: Business: Good print mags get a lot of love, but is not always translated to sales or advertising. How’s the sales? Advertising wise, is it a normal approach of selling an ad page or more a brand ad approach? 

N.R.: Pickles is a free publication and definitely started as ‘a labour of love’ (that maybe a cliche now). Again, the aim was to produce something unique and original. It has grown because of the interest our readers have shown in the magazine and the enthusiasm of our contributors as well as our passion. The magazine is available to read digitally on our website and through Issuu… We get some good hits and seem to be reaching a lot of people, way more than we ever would be able to in print. We have only produced limited print runs so far, copies are available from bars in London and Manchester and you can order a copy from our website.

Rather than selling ad spaces, we work with brands that appreciate our vision and this helps to fund Pickles.

B.: Upcoming projects 
We are also looking to work on more projects away from the printed magazine. We recently worked with Nike and created a limited edition football to mark the launch of the Nike Ordem Ball. Projects like this really intrigue us and it’s great to create work as Pickles.