Morgan Allan, GB&I
The focus for me and everyone at MUNDIAL at the start of 2020 was Issue 21 of the magazine. As it was the start of a new decade, the editorial team had taken the decision to produce a cover feature that looked forward. It would analyse the world of football and detail hundreds of exciting things that existed in the game today. It was a very large undertaking as it involved dozens of new contributors, researchers, interviewees and creatives. In addition to the new content workload, there would be more to design and it needed to be of a higher quality. The Art Director decided that because he would have to spend a lot of time on the cover feature, I would be responsible for a larger proportion of the mag. By the time we went to print, I was responsible for designing roughly half of the mag. This was the largest project of my career to date and I learned a lot.
The front section
Every issue of MUNDIAL is divided into three sections; the front, the middle and the back. The front is home to a collection of short columns, lists, quizzes, games and imagery, the middle is where all the long-form features go and the back is for fashion editorials, advertorials and the travel feature. For Issue 21 of the magazine, I was given the front section to design. This was a significant milestone for me because it was the first time I had been given an entire section to design. The front section is varied. There are columns, lists, cartoons, DPS images and more. This variety was the main reason that I enjoyed designing the front section. I had pages where I had large amounts of text and imagery and some where I only had one image. Overall, the front section is the most structured section of the magazine - it has to be given the volume of different pieces in its 14 pages. Because of this, designing the front section was more a test of my technical skills than my creative thinking. It was all about using the space appropriately, balancing pages and assembling a visual hierarchy that worked for the content. I also had to keep in contact with the various contributors. Because I was responsible for the deadlines of the section, this involved chasing imagery, sells and occasionally asking for re-writes.
The travel feature
Although I had been a photographer for the two previous travel features in Derry and Lisbon, this one in Tallinn was different. We were going right at the start of the year and there wouldn’t be much light to work with. It meant that we had to get out early and really plan our days in advance. This was different to the previous shoots I had worked on, as both in Lisbon and Derry there was glorious sunshine the entire time we were there so we had slightly more freedom to just wander around and get to know the city. I planned some shots meticulously, like the wide of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral used in the opener, and others were more natural - we just happened to be passing through the station on our way to another location when I captured the trains on the third spread. I ended up with some really nice shots to come home with and design up on the page.
For this issue, the Art Director wanted the travel section to have a new look. Previously, it had been very structured, working to a particular grid and format that relied on columned text, large imagery and box outs. He wanted something fresh and suggested experimenting with collage. He knew that I was a fan of the medium and had used artists like Emir Shiro and Shusaku Takaoka as references for other projects. I began putting together draft spreads for the feature, using a combination of digital and analogue collage to create the effect that I wanted. Initially, I think I went too far one way, and made the feature feel too much like a sketchbook. I reigned it back in slightly, added back in some of the more structured elements and came up with a result that I was really happy with.
C.P. Company Advertorial
Alongside the travel feature in the back section, we had two advertorials. This is when a brand pays for native feature in the magazine, that in some way advertises their products. This issue, we had advertorials from sports broadcasters Premier Sports and from Italian menswear brand C.P. Company. The C.P. advertorial would be an interview and shoot with Man City player Joel Latibeaudiere, pictured wearing some of the brand’s newest collection. I was asked if I wanted to style the shoot and, of course, I said yes. I’m a big fan of the brand and was very excited to be involved in one of their projects. After talking with the photographer about locations and liaising with the C.P. office in Milan, I went down to the warehouse to pick out some looks. The looks I picked out were designed to be layerable and work with different accessories. There were a couple of pieces that people weren’t sure about but I pushed them through and they look great in the final images.
Being involved in the production of Issue 21 was the biggest challenge of my career so far. There were a variety of new challenges to face and I really had to learn on the job. Overall, I feel like I performed well and I thoroughly enjoyed it all. I feel like I am now a more well-rounded creative and will take all of these learnings forward into future projects.