Asset of Community Value (ACV) is, as the name suggests, primarily focused on the concept of community. Launched in 2022, the annual publication is overseen by founder and editor Connor Rankin, a London-based project manager working in art and design, and art director and designer Anya Landolt.
It takes its name from a term in English law, which defines an asset of community value as a building or piece of land whose “main use or purpose is furthering the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community, or could do so in the future”, they explain. It means that those spaces may be protected by communities if they come under threat from outside forces, like developers.
“We were already aware of so many important grassroots organisations and artists practicing within their communities but we hadn’t come across any type of publication that documented the work or activities they were doing,” they explain of the impetus. “Also, most of the projects we were interested in initially featuring were very local, so we were interested in what sort of map would be created if we were to pull all of those local projects from across the UK together in one publication.”
ACV takes a different theme for each issue – the first was about growth, the recently released second issue is about tradition – but always traces back to individuals, groups or collectives that place their own communities at the forefront of what they do. At 200 pages long, the Tradition issue looks at community through the lens of everything from climate activism to queerness to neurodiversity to grief, and includes features on interdisciplinary designers Resolve Collective, artist Halina Edwards, and photographer Charles Fréger.
“We try to get out to meet everybody featured in the publication, it’s quite an important aspect to what we do, we avoid Zoom where we can,” Rankin and Landolt say. “Everyone who works on ACV has full-time jobs so it’s a difficult aspect to manage, but it’s non-negotiable and vital for the type of work we are documenting.”
While the layout of each feature is adapted to fit the specific person or group, the second issue used design to form a connective tissue between them all. “For this issue we developed a visual approach that symbolised the theme of tradition, which would help tie each design execution together. When considering key actions that define the theme, we focused on the act of repetition as a way to consolidate traditions.
Focusing on this word allowed us to develop an array of patterns, which framed and supported design outcomes throughout this issue,” they tell us. This comes through in woven checks, pixellated graphics, and even repeated symbols that appear in the work of featured artists.
“This central design concept was a great tool when designing ephemera alongside the publication, such as banners, posters, invitations and our online social media presence, as it kept our design approach focused and purposeful.”
For the team, a magazine seems like a suitable place to not only document the creative spirit and social good at the heart of many communities, but to spread a message of togetherness, too. “We call ACV a supercollider of diversity, expressing how different but incredibly similar each of us are at the same time,” they say.
‘Community’ has become a buzzword in the last year or two, but for Rankin and Landolt, the term isn’t about trendy language or marketing ploys; as the magazine illustrates, it provides the backbone to so much in the UK. “Community to us is the very essence of what it means to be human.”