I interviewed more than 60 editors, designers and magazine makers around the world for this guide to indie publishing. From marketing and building an audience to design, photography and commissioning writers, this is the ultimate guide to making your own magazine.
The book will be published in March 2018.
Emirates Airlines had a problem. Its in-flight magazine, Open Skies, was not as it could be: dull and formulaic, I was hired by Dubai-based Motivate Publishing to re-invent the in-flight magazine and make it the best in the world.
I art-directed each issue, using colourful illustrated graphics, commissioned the writers and photographers and sub-edited every issue before sending to press.
The magazine won a number of awards, more awards than the publishing company had won in its previous 25-year history.
I was approached to come up with a magazine for Al Ghurair Centre, Dubai’s first shopping mall. At the time, it was languishing behind the city's bigger malls, so as part of a rebrand, I was asked to create a new type of mall magazine - one that focused on the culture and the heritage of the area, as well as the products in the stores.
I designed the magazine from scratch: emphasising bold colours, iPhone photography and quirky, compelling articles. I commissioned, edited and produced every issue.
Bored with the glossy, PR-laden travel magazines that dominated the newsstands in Dubai in 2012, I decided to set up my own. The idea was to focus on the granular, rather than the glossy, and on stories rather than on things to see and do. I hired local writers, took all the photographs on my phone and designed the magazine myself.
The first issue focused on Dubai and after it sold out I decided to publish another one. This fell foul of the censors however, and after losing all my advertising, I set up a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the printing.
The final We Are Here focused on Kathmandu. There may well be another We Are Here in the future, so watch this space.
Concierge, a travel agency startup, hired me to design their Berlin guide. It was a very small map that was meant to fold and fit in your back pocket.
I was asked to publish a book for two writers who wanted to chronicle the country's sea swimming spots. I wanted to move away from the often twee representation of the Irish countryside and designed a more modern book with lots of full-bleed imagery, fifth colour and white on black text. The book was a huge success and sold out in a week.
I also took some of the photographs, edited the writing and designed the process.
Wndr Kabul was the first mobile application guide to the Afghan capital. Featuring interactive maps, videos, photography, news feeds and book reviews, it was downloaded more than 10,000 times and was available for Android and iPhone.
With Dubai's bookshops full of traditional guides to the city (aerial shots of sand dunes, camels, men in traditional dress), I decide to publish something that reflected that life was really like in the city.
The book features fifty things that make the city what it is, from brunches and boot camps to Jumeirah Janes and cabin crew, and is beautifully illustrated.
I suggested to the editors at the Khaleej Times that their weekly magazine could do with a revamp – less PR-generated guff, service journalism and more long-form features, more humour and more in-depth front of book pieces. Surprisingly they agreed and event let me come up with a new title (wknd. from Weekend) and a new design. I wanted to keep the covers minimal, and, as we were not on the newsstand, lose most of the cover lines.
I commissioned articles, art-directed the redesign, sub-edited the copy and worked with production to ensure the magazine came out on time with the Friday newspaper every week.
I had a great time working on the project, but sales wanted more features on jewellery and beating belly fat, and when management agreed, I decided to quite while I was ahead. A great experience and I am proud of the issues myself and a small team put together.