Patch Magazine

Patch magazine is an editorial system focused on electronic music.

Patch dives into the culture surrounding electronic music and the people that make it up, from musicians to toolmakers to the people who make events happen. Patch 001 is the first edition of the magazine, but it was created as a framework with future editions in mind.

Research

Sound On Sound (SOS) magazine and Future Music Magazine are the only substantial editorial publications which focus on electronic music that are still active. Both are large in scale, but currently move toward a web focused presence and away from print. I had trouble finding long form editorial which focused the niche aspects of electronic music, technology, and subculture. SOS and Future music are mainly gear magazines, whereas Patch is meant to focus on the people and their stories. The closest content available right now is that coming from the NOISEY blog by Vice. Occasionally interviews with artists will pop up in SOS and Future Music as well, but with many musically driven hands at work behind the scenes, there are many stories which are not being told.

Goals

From this research, the goals of Patch Magazine became clear. To create a magazine focused on the independent creators within the electronic music. More specifically, small brands, manufacturers, emerging artists, promoters, management and also include personalities within larger brands who are contributing to the industry, like Red Bull and Vice. Patch was originally going to be a synth technology magazine, but quickly shifted to focus more on the personalities behind the tech, music, and culture. The final goal was to showcase these people for what they do, but also who they are as people and why they are worth paying attention to.

A secondary but important goal was to create something that felt niche in it's style. From the artwork inside and the way that it is to be printed is more akin to publications like kinfolk, feeling more like a book, something you would want to keep around like a book, rather than a traditional magazine.

Masthead

With an audience and content in mind, the first step of creating Patch Magazine was the masthead, the main wordmark or logo which would appear on every issue of the magazine. It was important to get an idea for the feel of the masthead early on as the ideation behind it could continue on into the grid system.

The masthead is made up using custom letterforms based on a very square grid. Expanding these letters to an entire typeface was very difficult due to this grid, but the letters I needed, P, A, T, C, and H worked very well in this style. The pixel art inspiration fit well with the magazine by looking to the history of electronic music. While it started in the analog realm, before digital synths and sounds were available, the digital style is something familiar to many electronic artists today. Using this grid system allowed for letters to be connected by cable-like blocks in future issues, so that the masthead had some flexibility and acted as a framework rather than a ‘set in stone’ brand mark. (show final masthead, plus alternatives here)

Grid

The next step in the process was to set up a grid for the typography and images to lay within. This step characterizes the feeling of the magazine for all future issues, creating consistency. Despite being a simple step in theory, it was challenging, as this was the first time I learned how to properly put InDesign’s typography rules into place, using the baseline grid and line break settings.

Content

The focus for Patch was on the framework design, so content was taken from various sources online. Each article was chosen based on the personality of the creators. These articles reflect the tone that Patch should have, fun and friendly, but in depth as well. The content heavily influenced the final layout as the length of articles and space needed for imagery became apparent.

Along with article content, ads have been created to reflect the type of advertisers that would be likely to sponsor this type of publication. While there is a potential to have a half year or quarterly publication funded by magazine subscribers rather than advertisements, it was important to be flexible and leave space for ads, should it be the monetization model of which the publication runs. These ads are based on events and establishments within Toronto, as the magazine is based here and would circulate within Toronto and online. Again, these could be expanded to a broad audience if necessary, but part of what makes Patch appealing is it's focus on a tight-knit community within the city.

Layout/Visual Design

The layout was based on three section styles, typographic, illustrative and photo-based. Having these three styles to start with creates variation in the magazine and allows for future issues to mix and match between styles dependent on content. Each style may borrow from another, using interesting photos or typography in the illustrative section, for example. Having these layouts as a starting point took away the initial frustration of figuring out where to begin. As there is a heavy emphasis on personality, I imagine future issues would make the most use of the photo spread, but in the creation of the first issue, it was important to me to include options.

Cover

Taking the main article about an artist named KiNK, and creating a cover from that was the most fun aspect of this project. It allowed me to really break all of the constraints I had set up for the magazine as the cover could live on its own. The cover acts as a way to draw the viewer in, and while this magazine may not sit on a typical newsstand, it was created to contrast those that typically do. The cover is minimal in nature, allowing the masthead and imagery to focus viewer attention rather than flooding the audience with type about what is inside the magazine. While there is some indication as to what will be found inside, the cover is meant to draw in the curious minds rather than shouting at the reader.

Conclusion

Having gone through the experience of creating an editorial piece from start to finish was useful and rewarding. Understanding all of the steps in building a magazine’s framework from the ground up, with future issues in mind, was a fresh perspective and will be useful on future editorial work as well, whether digital or in print. Figuring out what kind of content was appropriate and maintaining a visual style throughout was more difficult than expected, however looking back at this project now, I can see some things that I would have done differently. For the type of content, it would have been fun to get much more experimental with imagery, especially as that is what I am coming to enjoy the most in my design process. Given more time to complete the project I would have made and gathered custom content for the publication as well. It is difficult to feel fully confident in a piece that takes from other sources.

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