MC1R magazine inhabits a very specific niche: it’s a publication for, and largely about, redheads — its name refers to the melanocortin 1 hormone receptor, otherwise known as the ‘ginger gene’ mutation which causes red hair.
Since it launched its first English language issue in 2015 (the magazine was created by editor Tristan Rodgers from Hamburg, who is a redhead himself), it’s been something of a darling in the indie mag circuit thanks to its exemplification of a couple of things that are pretty essential for print publications today: building a community around it (despite the seemingly very niche readership), and superb graphic design.
The most recent issue of MC1R, number seven, sees a new designer at the helm: Marcel Häusler. Based between Hamburg and Paris, Häusler’s work is firmly typography-led, and he’s currently working as the design director at Hamburg studio Karl Anders.
To herald the launch of the latest issue, MC1R has also released a limited-edition sunscreen in partnership with new Germany-based suncare brand Suns Care. Designed by Yulia Morozova, the bottles are lively and bold, with Commercial Type’s DrukText Medium set in all-caps, with contrasting purple and an orange (natch) sun-like logo design.
Art director and copywriter Nikolai Dobreff created the ‘redhead approved’ claim on the front of the packaging. “I loved the idea of the claim, as sun protection is very important as a redhead and spontaneous beach or other sun-related happenings are always (or mostly) very painful,” says Rodgers. “This claim is nice to communicate the concept with a bit more fun: with the strong design we are also ‘loud’ on the flacon [bottle] and packaging.”
Since this is a summertime issue, the product launch is a canny nod to the fact that it’s redheads — ie MC1R readers – who need it most. According to Rodgers, the factor 50 sunscreen is made in Germany and is sustainable, cruelty-free and vegan, with no microplastics. It’s limited to an edition of 100.
The mag itself has a wealth of brilliant features that all hair colours can get on board with: there’s a piece by Swedish erotic film director, screenwriter and producer Erika Lust about redheads in porn, and a feature about Red Hot, the London-based lifestyle brand “on a mission to rebrand the ginger male stereotype by showcasing men as confident and desirable”, largely through its calendars featuring what it describes as “the hottest most redhead guys on planet Earth”.
Häusler’s new design for the mag uses huge splashes of type to make the letterforms become almost illustrative: there’s a playful way he’s used different sizes of characters to form entire pages that become headlines in themselves. Set in bold, popping colours ranging from neon pink to bright yellow to standards manual-style orange, it’s a very vibrant issue that feels befitting of summer.
There’s also some arresting photography by contributors including Jocelyn Lee, Henrik Alm and Ella Uzan. Ethan Gulley’s image series, Burnt, shows those redheads who could have done with a bit of suncream themselves — but somehow makes it look fabulous.