Last week we received an email from a Graphic Design student at Staffordshire University, who is writing a Design Report Project on Men's Lifestyle Magazines, asking for our thoughts. It is well documented that I am something of a magazine addict, I often take great pleasure in re-reading through the piles of magazines dotted throughout the flat and I spend far too much time and money in Borders on Charing Cross Road. Anyway, below are my responses and it would be great if you could let us know what you think as well.
If you were to create a men's style magazine, what features and topics would you include?
Wow, what a thought. I would like it to examine everything that inspires and excites me. So many men's style magazines have an extremely narrow point of view, covering topics, styling and designers in a cyclical, formulaic way and I would want to keep people guessing. I admire the ACNE Paper's openness to anything and everything. You really don't know what to expect from page to page. In terms of features it would have to roughly follow the following structure; editors letter including an inspiration mood board, the features section - news, an eye on an upcoming designer, interviews, style icons, culture overview, a buyer's and shop guide, fashion editorials - which would make up at least a quarter of the magazine and would mix designers, reader's style questions, how-to-tips (styling, modification and grooming).
What is the best men's style magazine out at the moment?
I have many favourites but the clear winner is Fantastic Man. It has changed the landscape of men's style magazines for the better, with so many of its competitors and blogs taking inspiration from it. Monocle deserves a mention because it the most interesting and all consuming magazines available. I have a terrible habit of buying and then rapidly flicking through the crisp pages before discarding the recently bought magazine for a later read through (sometimes I forget all about it) but this is impossible with issues of Monocle. You have to take time and actually read the content confined within that small package.
Is the editorial design important to you as a consumer?
I expect every, single aspect of a magazine to be well thought out and work - the editorial design plays an important role and should not be overlooked. I personally like a mix of editorial designs within a single magazine and unfortunately none (that I've found/read anyway) manage to pull this off or maybe they just don't want to. I like simple and clean design (as seen in Fantastic Man) alongside the more varied and frantic design layouts more akin to Japanese Street Mags.
What importance do men's style magazines have to today's man?
Men's style magazines certainly have a role to play in the lives of the majority of style conscious men. They have evolved (certainly for the better) as I have grown up with them. I am quite sure that there is at least one magazine for us all. I am certainly not alone in my addiction/obsession but there are a number of stylish men out there (the Cablog is a prime example) who take no notice of them at all.