Designer Elliot Jay Stocks and editor Samantha Stocks have launched a new bi-annual magazine, Lagom, showcasing creative people, places and pastimes.
Lagom is described as a publication “about people who make a living from their passions, and pastime activities that offer inspiration.” Each issue is divided into three sections: Spaces & Places, which features studios and creative social and work spaces; Craft & Create, which features creative side projects and hobbies; and a more lifestyle-focussed Escape & Recharge, which combines food and drink recipes with articles on ways to unwind outside of work.
The inaugural issue features articles on creative agencies which have taken up beekeeping, Erik Spiekermann’s new Berlin letterpress workshop, P98a, and a photo essay on Facebook designer Cameron Ewing’s love of surfing, as well as an interview with illustrator Joanna Basford.
There’s also a piece by Jamie Clarke on why he sold his design agency to take up screenprinting, another by Offscreen editor Kai Brach on his favourite Melbourne coffee shop, and a look inside the Michelberger hotel in Berlin and a paper goods shop set up as a side project by the founders of design studio Something Good.
Lagom was founded by Samantha and Elliot Jay Stocks, who previously ran typography magazine 8 Faces. The pair say they were inspired by a rise in the number of high quality independent titles being published in the UK and further afield.
“In addition, a lot of the focus [in 8 Faces] was on designers and creatives telling their own stories. The reaction to that was really positive, and we found people really wanted to hear about other people’s stories and backgrounds, and why and how they do what they do,” explains Samantha. “[With Lagom], we wanted to take that idea, but focus more on lifestyle.”
“It was also inspired by a lot of our friends,” adds Elliot. “We’ve found ourselves mixing with a lot of other creative professionals doing interesting work and side projects, and we wanted to show the different journeys people have taken and what they do for everyday inspiration.”
As Samantha and Elliot explain in the magazine, the word Lagom is Swedish and refers to the idea of having the perfect balance – a semi literal translation is ‘not too much, not too little.’
“We wanted it to be something different and memorable, and then Elliot came across this. When we found out what it meant, about finding the right balance, it really reflected what we wanted to discuss – people making a living from their passion and maintaining a good balance between their life and work,” says Samantha.
“It also sums up our approach – a lot of magazines can be aspirational to a fault, I think, and we’ve tried to ground some of that aspirational, lifestyle content with some down to earth pastime stories,” says Elliot. “That sense of balance applies to the mix of subjects – there’s a good balance between interviews, creative projects and spaces and everyday things, such as how to make the perfect cup of coffee,” he adds.
With a range of original illustrations, thick, uncoated paper stock and full-bleed photography throughout, the magazine has a luxurious feel, without looking to glossy or exclusive. “It’s designed to be semi-aspirational, but warm and friendly rather than cold and sterile,” explains Elliot. “Originally it was meant to be 64 Pages, so we commissioned a bunch of illustrators and photographers, but we were so thrilled with the quality of their work, that we decided to give them more space.
“We also wanted to include a fair degree of white space, but perhaps not as much as other popular mags out at the moment. There was quite a conscious choice to avoid this trendy aesthetic of lots of white space and minimal type, and so I think [Lagom] looks quite unique,” he adds.
One of the most striking features in the magazine is the section openers, which combine large type, a double page image and a slim white border. Elliot says they are designed to create “a visual pause” within the magazine, causing readers to stop "and take note that you’re moving on to a different part of the narrative.”
The magazine is set in varying weights and styles of Suitcase Type’s Tabac family: slab serif is used for body copy, sans features throughout and the titles use various grades of serif, which Elliot says allows for variation without losing consistency.
The logotype was also going to be set in Tabac but in the end, Elliot and Samantha opted for script typeface Aparo. “We felt Tabac might be a little too cold, and possibly edging towards Bodoni – a bit like a fashion magazine in that sense,” says Elliot. “In the end, we thought [Aparo] was a little more friendly and informal for the logo. We’ve used it inside in the welcome and thank you message too, as I think it’s really welcoming and quite personal.”
While there are a lot of new magazines devoted to makers and craftspeople, Lagom seems to have a unique mix of lifestyle and creative content. It's a pleasure to read, and the issue contains some lovely imagery from a talented range of contributors.
The next issue will be out in spring, and Elliot and Samantha say they are also working on an iPad edition, due for release before the end of the year. “We’re trying to do something radically different, rather than the current format of combining static images and text that you can’t really grab or pinch or zoom ... the design will be more like a responsive website, and less like a static magazine," adds Elliot.
Issue 1 of Lagom is out now and priced at £10. For details or to order a copy, see readlagom.com