Naming and Believing

When I started working at Sleek in December 2011, the magazine’s explainer/tagline/sub-line was “Magazine for Art and Fashion” which sounded a bit unspectacular and literal to me. One of Sleek’s problems was that it was a bit anonymous; it was difficult to understand what its position or belief in the world was, apart from being “for” art and fashion (its covers were also quite anonymous. At the time I did a test where I went to the Do You Read Me?! mag shop to see how long it took to find it on their big wall of fashion and art mags. It took quite a long time, mainly because a lot of the other mags had much more attention-grabbing covers).
My idea was to give it a new explainer, a bit more of an exciting or emotionally appealing one, and I suggested “Art Now – Fashion Forever”, which sounded more like, This is the stuff this magazine believes is good and now, yeah? The Fashion Director suggested changing it to “Fashion Now – Art Forever” which was better, because fashion is always changing and is about what is hot (right) now. So, we used that for two and half years.


I left the editor’s job Sleek at the end of August 2014, but before that the deputy editor and I had been doing some work on the Sleek brand, on the instructions of the publisher who wanted the magazine to be more art-focused. My suggestion here was to change this “believer” device to “the visual contemporary”, and I see the team used it as the explainer on the new issue (yellow, right), plus repeated as the main coverline (although the line is obscured by the cover image). The word “contemporary” is split over three decks and I’m not sure if that’s a deliberate decision on the part of the creative director.
I think it’s important for things (mags, companies, people) to be clear about what they believe in today, when there so much confusion and information around, and even though there’s a lot of cynicism around the idea of belief itself.