Rebrand: Interview with She Was Only

After an exciting and exhausting few months, finally our new branding is live and we are about to launch the new volume! We catch up with She Was Only design studio to discuss the rebrand and redesign.

As many of you know, it's been five years since we first began working on Another Escape, and since entering the world of independent publishing we've learnt a great deal and have grown considerably as a publication and as its editorial and creative directors. We've always been driven to produce stories that are inspiring and uplifting, but over time Another Escape's niche has tightened and our style of storytelling has evolved too. And at the beginning of 2017, we felt it was time to consider how we could reflect our evolution visually and create a more unified brand.

We began by speaking with all of you, our readers, asking what about Another Escape you loved and how you'd like to see it grow in the future. We also spoke with people who we regularly work with, who have some insight into the inner workings of Another Escape. And then began the lengthy process of figuring things out.

Some of the most noticeable changes are to the navigation and sectioning of the magazine. Ultimately, we felt our previous format had begun to hinder our content production and had become a little too rigid for us to be creative with flow, pacing, feature formats, and the types of stories we could create. Having a looser structure has given us a freedom and fluidity to enhance the reading experience and create more interesting content.

To rebrand and redesign Another Escape, we worked with the talented designers at She Was Only studio in London, who really excelled in bringing new life to the publication. Following the madness of getting the new volume to press, we caught up with She Was Only to find out how they found the working with us and what they enjoyed about the project:

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Hey guys, firstly could you tell us a bit about She Was Only, your backgrounds, and how you started the studio?
She Was Only is a small studio based in the heart of London created by us three founding partners, Cai Griffith, Craig Scott and Chris Vickers. We all met whilst studying at The University for the Creative Arts, and after having freelanced for various studios after graduating, we decided to pull together a collective portfolio. The studio has now been running for just over five years.

How would you describe your approach to design?

We're devoted to simplicity. Our minimalist philosophy and modernist ideals mean that we believe you should build design around content. Using this we create a diverse range of work that delivers clarity and impact.

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Do you have particular influences or inspiration for your style of work?

There's not one particular source – an idea can come from anywhere. But we're always drawn to timeless design. Anything that still feels current and is impactful years later is usually a sign of it being done right in the first place!

What was it that drew you to this project?

Although as a studio we work across print and digital media, we love the opportunity to put ink to paper and create a tactile object. Independent magazines allow us to do this as well as collaborate with people who are truly passionate about their product and subject matter.

How did you approach the new brand identity for Another Escape?

As Another Escape already exists as a brand and has a loyal readership, we approached the new identity with a great deal of sensitivity. We wanted to create something that felt like an evolution of the brand and retain the same sensibilities as before. It was important that the brand had longevity and would have enough in the toolset to be flexible yet recognisable across print, web and beyond. To ensure this, we worked closely with the founders Rachel and Jody, and explored a range of differing approaches before refining a singular vision for the brand.

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How do you feel the new branding and editorial design work together?

Another Escape is more than just a logotype/masthead. The new identity includes a suite of contrasting typefaces, an icon, a seasonal colour and a reduced mark to signify the end of a passage of text. We use this toolset to create carefully considered layouts that respect the editorial content; after all, it's the content that should work the hardest on the page, and this is where the brand's sensibilities really shine through.

How was Another Escape's style of storytelling and the reading experience considered during the design process?

Storytelling is such an important part of editorial design and should always be considered in close contact with the editor. It takes time, but to create layouts that really convey the story you need to read it first and discover the supportive content you have at your disposal. This allows you to pair images with jump points in the text, know when a feature needs more or less space, and make decisions on other additions, such as pull quotes, to help support a story. Secondly and just as important, we consider the publication as a whole. We create visual flat plans and consider the order and pacing of the magazine; we look at the relationship of different stories sitting next to each other, and make tweaks to ensure that the magazine has a good flow in visual and written storytelling.

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Were there any challenges with the rebrand and redesign?

Time will tell how successful we were, but a big challenge for us with this project was working out how to push forward a brand that has already successfully built an audience for itself. Our overall aim was to honour what current readers love about Another Escape, build upon it, and and whilst doing so, hopefully opening it up to a new audience. and create a brand and product that both old and new readers would love.

In reflection on the whole project, what are you most happy with or you think was most successful?

There are many things we like about the outcome of this project. The masthead and new cover is the most immediate change and we love the new look of this. We also feel that the new editorial approach allows for more varied pace and hierarchy which really helps with storytelling. We hope now that the readers agree!


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