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Varoom: The Obsession Issue and Eight by Eight!

By February 7, 2014 News

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Noted: Reflections & Process

One of the interesting things about the recently launched Eight by Eight magazine is the identity of the two people behind it. Grace Lee is American, but Robert Priest her business partner who also works on the magazine, is a Brit. The two of them have worked across numerous big titles over the years from ESPN to Esquire, O to GQ, and Newsweek, so there is an American feel to the design, in terms of the richness of everything on the page. There’s no time for lots of white space and cool European design. It’s full-on, decorated in the American style, but Robert brings to it an ex-pat’s love of soccer so there’s that interesting mix where he’s involved in that American editorial language. He’s applying that editorial design language to a magazine with a focus on European football, with a particular emphasis on Premier League English football. There is a feeling of the ex-pat’s obsession with something from home. Football has a large amount of obsession running through it anyway.

Football is on the up in terms of interest in the US, so it’s presenting a European outlook through an American eye, but there are specific reasons for the kinds of imagery in the magazine. The availability of footage from football matches is very strictly controlled, which may lead to greater use of illustration. That might be part of the reason they are not always able to use photography, but whether or not that is the case, there is a huge illustrative slant through it which is really enjoyable. There are references to old-fashioned football cards and memorabilia that Robert would have had as a kid. Also great caricatures of players, which reflect the fact that football is an international market with international celebrities, so these players are easily recognisable as caricatures. These are really famous people you can illustrate immediately and the reader will recognise them, it’s great meat for illustrators and caricaturists to get into.

Football is of great interest to designers and people making magazines, there is this great desire to make glorified fanzines, if you like. From The Green Soccer Journal’s point of view they are making more of a fashion or style magazine which fills a gap in the British market where there is so much coverage of soccer. Whereas in the US it’s different, there are lots of sports magazines but they are NBA and Baseball and are far more photographic. These names, like The Green Soccer Journal, say a lot about what their approach is. Take for example another US football magazine Howler! You do score a fantastic goal and say it’s a “Howler”, but that sounds very American, not a descriptor a best online casino Brit would use. You say ‘howler’ where you make a massive faux pas, but there is a linguistic difference, the same names mean very different things. When Saturday Comes was very colloquial, but it works.

Eight by Eight magazine

Eight by Eight was founded in 2013 by magazine industry design veterans Robert Priest and Grace Lee, whose portfolio includes work for clients such as Esquire and Newsweek and whose trophy cabinet bulges with awards from the likes of The Society of Publication Designers, Art Directors Club, D&AD and the American Society of Magazine Editors. Previously they were the original co-founding
partners of US soccer magazine Howler! and were responsible for its visual identity. John O’Reily speaks to Grace Lee and Robert Priest.

The name? The title design?
Eight by Eight comes from the size of the goalmouth, where most of the drama in football happens – 8 feet by 8 yards. And is just so happens that the shape of the number 8s are quite beautiful together and very graphic.

What’s the idea expressed in the design and visuals?
It is our hope that when you read our publication you will come away feeling the urge to get to a stadium and share your passion with thousands of like-minded fans. For us, there is nothing better than watching the incredible theatre that soccer provides.

What were your design and illustration inspirations for the magazine?
After being in the publication industry for many years, and experiencing the constraints of corporate expectations, we felt the need to abandon all normal conventions and create a magazine where every page is meticulously designed and curated with particular attention to the pacing of the stories.

Which team do you support and why?
Robert supports Manchester United. Why? Because he’s from London.
Grace is still being persuaded as to which team she should support. Suggestions?

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