The Guardian launches a new monthly supplement tomorrow aimed at readers looking to do something new in their spare time. We asked art director Chris Clarke about designing the title.
The first issue of Do Something includes 50 pages of editorial on activities, sports and hobbies such as street photography, snowboarding and supper clubs.
The title was launched to meet a growing demand among Guardian readers for ideas on how to “make the most of the everyday”, says Clarke, and editor Emma Clark says each issue will be “packed with innovative and engaging ideas…for people who want to stretch their horizons.”
When designing Do Something, Clarke says the team were unanimous that it should feel more like a manual than a listings guide. “It’s also a place to realise a lot of reader content – we want readers to get involved with the content and show us what they’ve done,” he adds.
The magazine’s design is brighter and more light-hearted than other Guardian and Observer titles, and Clarke says each issue will use bold colour, strong type and illustration “to create a playful supplement which stands out from the rest of the Guardian and Observer offering.”
The typographic cover was designed by Owen Gildersleeve, who cut each character out of paper. Animator Alexander Purcell has also created an animated version for the digital edition, in which Gildersleeve’s letters fall off the page.
“The underlying concept running through all of the Do Something covers is that [they will be] handmade…for the first issue, we wanted to lay all our cards out on the table and give the reader exactly what they can expect from inside the magazine and issues to come: ideas to make your life smarter, fitter, better, brighter and different,” says Clarke.
“Gildersleeve’s playful use of typography combined with the loving labour of cutting it all out by hand seemed like the perfect balance to reflect the magazines ethos of ‘Do Something’. Owen’s work also led to a neat hand shake between the physical cover and its digital edition,” he adds.
Both Le Bec and La Tigre will contribute regularly to the magazine: La Tigre will be developing its iconography, while Le Bec is working on a series of navigational ‘mascots’, says Clarke. Features illustrations in the inaugural issue also include one from Sam Brewster on making friends, another from Hattie Newman on how to build your own house and an illustration from Le Bec on walking in London.
It’s an interesting concept and from what we’ve seen, Clarke and the creative team have added some lovely design touches and sourced some vibrant illustrations. BBH has also launched an amusing ad to promote the inaugural issue, which you can view in our nice work round-up here, and Clarke hopes the hand crafted covers will help make the magazine a collectable: “it’s such a joy to launch a printed magazine, and we hope this ensures that they are kept,” he says.