49 – Magazine Brief

A while ago, we were set the task of creating a magazine of our choice, working in groups to organise all aspects of the publication; from cover to contents. Organising ourselves into a group seemed fairly effortless, unfortunately, the lack of effort on the project didn’t end there. With all three members of our group snowed under with other projects, the magazine got continuously put to one side, or pushed to the back of the shelf, and to be honest, at one point I’d forgotten all about it! There must have been a part of my brain that was thinking about it however, as when Tom called an emergency meeting to discuss what to do about it, it was all systems go! Naturally, being prime examples of our generation, most of our discussions were through facebook, and the following is most of it:

Magazine facebook convo

Basically the idea for our project was to make an affordable magazine for the students of Regent Street, one that would not only include advice for the new students of the first year, unfamiliar with Wrexham and it’s whiles, and things of interest for second and third years, such as gig listings and materials that we’ve found useful thusfar.

My first double-page spread is about live music, and the nearby venues – or rather, the nearby cities with some actual DECENT venues

Included are the original drawings of the music Stereotypes that I designed to separate the different genres – each listing goes next to the character that would represent it, and other information like train times, recommendations and festival line-ups are in the spaces inbetween. I made a list of times that would be best (not all the details are included on the actual page, due to lack of space, but the relevant information is there) – unfortunatly, as I’ve learned from previous experience, the latest trains are not usually late ENOUGH, and people relying on this information might have to cut their gigs short – stoopid trains 😦

Train times

Page two is a light-hearted look on the facial hair fashions associated with art students, and required me to make a survey, and hunt all over Regent Street looking for hairy men!

Regent Street Facial Hair Survey

This page contains information submitted by fellow Regent Street students Sam, Ted and David about their facial hair, and the things associated with it (all gave permission for me to use this information by the way) as well as mentioning the fact that a few girls took part in the survey, and their opinions on the subject (delivered in a tongue-in-cheek ‘olde fashion Gentleman’ manner – no offense to the fair sex meant). The second page is dedicated to the ‘Moustache Of The Month’ which would change on a monthly basis, and includes facts about the style and people who made it famous. The idea of this page was to provide a life-size moustache sticker that the owner of the magazine could pull off and wear (students love to dress up as idiots) but this was starting to prove a tricky, and expensive task, so i decided not to pursue it for the Zine Fair magazines, as they’ll be freebies (it’s ALL about profit kids).

Finally, my last double page spread is about Student Discounts: which shops support the scheme, whether it’s worth buying things like NUS Extra or the 16-25 railcard, and where to find the best bargains. This section is called The Magpie, as just like the bird itself, students love shiny things they can get for free 😛

This page required the most research, as once I’d discovered the existence of this wondrous NUS Extra card , I then had to trek all around Wrexham to see if the stores listed on the website actually participated in the scheme (note: half of them don’t) and whether what i had heard about some discounts were accurate (for example, I had heard that you could get a free burger with anything if you showed your ordinary student card at McDonalds, when the website claimed it was only when you bought a ‘saver’ meal – upon testing this out, it seemed the website won. And i was nicely full too…).  It took me a while to get the ‘Deal Of the Week’ – La Baguette’s – permission to be featured, as they are a privately owned company, and the owner was on holiday until recently, but the biggest time-delay by far was from Photoshop, which decided to mess me around for no apparent reason. Thanks Adobe.

The Magazine also features some money off vouchers as incentive to actually buy the Magazine, and while Tom managed to get us some money off the Lazer Quest where he worked, I managed to sweet-talk my girlfriend (who is Unit Supervisor in Tenpin) to not only give us a voucher for a free game of bowling, but help design a poster for it too (she studied Graphic Design at Glyndwr) – hey, they get free advertising! It’s all good!

Finally there’s my Icon for the bio, and the Front Cover, which was all of our work, but as you can tell by teh awesome, totally my idea *looks smug* 🙂 I’m really please with how it came out actually – as there were initially FOUR people in our group, I thought it made sense to divide the cover into quarters, and that way we’d all have a ‘piece’ of our artwork on the front, that was actually 1/4 of a bigger illustration. When Bogna (our polish member) was moved on to another project, I pretty much figured I’d end up doing her quarter and merging them all together, and pat on the back where pat on the back is due, I think it tuned out well.

Next for our group lies the Zine fair itself, which i am worried about, as we’re not really ready for it. Although most of work is done, there have been some… set-backs which have delayed our printing to the point that I’m not sure if we’ll have any ACTUAL magazine’s for the fair. While responsibility for our projects ultimately lies with us, I don’t think we’re entirely to blame – Having everyone’s assessments (especially 2nd and 3rd year) together means that everyone is trying desperately to finish at the same time. And while the Art students of Glyndwr have an entire building dedicated to them, we only have ONE A3 scanner and ONE A3 printer to share between us (not counting the new building at the main campus, as we still need ‘teacher to hold our hands’ for that one) so not only are they constantly in use, but the waiting list to use them is as long as your arm at the moment. Secondly, as the Zine Fair is non-profit, we can’t make any money to cover our expenses, so that takes away the option of taking it/sending it to a printers, or even Staples, as we’d have no way to earn it all back. Our only hope is to cobble together something last minute, as a prototype. We’ve already printed off some large prints of some of the pages for a display (luckily for us, Yale college were much more helpful than the University in that aspect) so that will have to do. Obviously if this were a real magazine, we’d have a printing budget, and in fact, an editor and journalists – I’m an Illustrator, that’s MY job – but overall I’m really pleased with my first foray into Journalism.
To see what the others have been up to, click the links below:

Zine Fair Day

…Y’know, it’s only now that I’ve thought about writing it, then wrote it, that I realise how much I hate the word ‘Zine’ – if it is in fact, and actual word – it looks like it should be pronounced ‘Zyne” and sounds all American tweeny when it isn’t… ah well. Today was the day of the actual zine fair itself – our group did the day in shifts, and as i was the last one and people closed up early, I didn’t actually see all that much of it! But what i did see was much busier than I had anticipated, with all manner of people milling around (although in fairness, most of them looked like they were either current, or recent students) and a few people seemed interested in our work – one woman even asked me if I’d like to take part in a project she was working on (something about a blog, or a building, or a blog about a building) and she asked me if i had a business card…which I don’t. I gave her my email addy, and she said she’d get back to me, but clearly the thing to take away from this experience is: GET SOME BUSINESS CARDS!

Another thing I learned from this brief was if I want true success with my magazine, I’d be better off employed James Brogan and Steph to do it for me! Their magazine was lovely, their display looked awesome, and it got by far, the most attention out of all the magazine’s in our room. Interestingly, it was the rival publication for our own – a magazine for students called ‘Unibrow’. It was more generalised then ours, which I suppose would give it a longer shelf life, but it was the design I liked most – a nice use of soft colours (almost no black from what i remember) and they continues throughout the magazine as a theme, which we had initially discussed, then changed our minds. While I do think my pages looked more ‘magazine-like’, Unibrow had a sort of hand-made charm that i think would appeal to it’s target audience anyway – well done guys!
Overall I’d describe it as an interesting experience – I wish the others hadn’t packed up so early, so I could have seen them all, but of what i did see, the displays were pretty cool, and got your attention – important if you want to shift your product, and something to bare in mind for next time. It was interesting to see what those outside our course brought to the table too, especially the wood carvings, pirate Jim and his sketching puppets, and my favourite, a guy who made all kinds of awesome pictures out of layered, 3D paper – and charged massive amounts for his efforts, which I can both respect and justify, as they were awesome… wish I was made of money… or had access to someone who was so I could spend them… I’m going to try and find out who he is.


About christofurr

I am an Illustrator currently in the third and final year of an Illustration For Graphic Novels course at Glyndwr University, Wrexham (UK). I do all kinds of commission work, from poster to portraits. Fell free to have a nose around this blog and any of my other sites - be warned, Twitter updates may be totally and completely irrelevant and naughty - and please feel free to contact my email address with any queries about my work :)

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