El Mag is a bimonthly magazine that results from the collaborative effort of El Corte Inglês Gaia/Porto – in the figure of its general manager Pedro Barbosa – and Non–verbal Club, in order to create a cultural programme the retailer could offer to a broad audience in the city of Porto.
The creative partnership between our studio and Pedro proved to be very fruitful and allowed our involvement from the very beginning of the project not only as designers, but also as creative and art directors, event programmers and consultants of the magazine. Amílcar Correia, journalist and editor, was the right match to complete this group, leading the content editing and the writing team of El Mag.
The structure of the publication is composed of two main sections: 1. a core of articles aiming to offer a panorama of contemporary cultural, technological and lifestyle content; 2. an agenda of the workshop and events programme created to complement the first section.
The first block engages the readers with relevant issues and protagonists of today’s world, balancing between local agents and global trends. From World Press Photo awarded Portuguese photographers to leading VR developers; local music heroes to international contemporary choreographers or even an exotic adventure in Namíbia, this magazine triggers the reader’s curiosity by showcasing and exposing the people and projects that are shaping today’s culture. It doesn’t aim to be a specialised publication, but rather accomplish the challenge of bringing these contents to a very diversified audience. That meant writing and presenting them in an accessible way, without loosing its depth.
The second block offers the opportunity for the readers to participate in and learn from the universe presented to them in the first section. It displays the events and workshop programme containing activities with some of the most exciting local agitators – from illustrators to wine producers, writers, chefs, architects, etc.
The magazine’s graphic style traduces its attitude. Bold, fresh and contemporary. Flashy colours meet extended irreverent typography on the headlines, while a three column structure set in a traditional serif typeface brings comfort for longer reads. The fluid rhythm of the pagination is achieved by mixing long and insightful articles with shorter clips that invite for a quicker read over related contents. The workshops and events programme section is designed with two main content hierarchies, using selected photography of the lecturers’ activities to bring the reader into the universe they can experience.
We've also wanted the object to bring a very special feel. A traditional magazine format would not allow enough scale, white space or the impact we felt was necessary for the typography and the imagery. Neither did we want it to have the disposable nature of a newspaper. In the end we've chosen a big format with smooth offset paper, able to comfortably hold the large surfaces of strong printed areas. An object people want to collect and display on top of their table at home.