Studio Ground Floor detail the process and challenge of designing TYPEONE’s first three issues
From the team behind TYPE01 and Femme Type, TYPEONE is a bi-annual magazine that fuses typographic content with wider topics such as culture, business, technology and innovation. With three issues behind them, and an ever-growing audience in front, we caught up with Studio Ground Floor – the London-based duo behind the design of each issue – to find more about the process and challenge of putting together each issue.
EM Hi guys, how are you doing?
SGF Hey Elliott! Lovely to speak to you again, we’re doing well thank you! Feeling lucky to be busy and working with lovely people on lovely projects.
EM So, three issues down with TYPEONE Magazine. Do you have a favourite?
SGF That’s like picking a favourite child! We definitely lean towards different elements of different issues. #1 is our favourite cover and content, we loved using ABC Arizona by Dinamo in #2, and exploring the editorial system of #3 in line with the graffiti focus of the issue was super fun, sooo… no decision today!
EM When you started the design process, how did you set out to design a system that not only worked for the first issue, but for the future issues that you didn’t have any content for?
SGF Great question! The very idea of TYPEONE’s graphic system is one that organically grows, develops and adapts each issue, reacting to the theme, content and the previous edition. It’s really fun, and it gives us the opportunity to be spontaneous and take risks. We are lucky that our audience is (generally) creative or design-based, so we can be somewhat indulgent at times, pushing the design to weird places and being more experimental. We definitely think that’s what people have bought into; drawn to something that seeks to challenge editorial expectation.
The concept always comes first.
EM For those that maybe haven’t done so much editorial design, what comes first in the process? The grid, the typeface choices, the content, the cover?
SGF All those things are important, but for us, the concept always comes first. This concept then informs all of our editorial design choices, making it so much easier to make decisions about the seemingly endless options of typefaces, paper stocks or grids. Having a strong concept means that our actual ‘design decisions’ all (hopefully!) feel harmonious and that we have way more fun designing because there’s always something to riff off.
EM Designing a magazine about typography must’ve made it difficult to know which typefaces to go with. How did you go about choosing?
SGF It was tricky! There are so many brilliant type designers whose work we love. What made the decision-making easier was our choice to opt for different typefaces for each issue, as we felt that a magazine about type should showcase as many people’s typefaces as possible over the course of its lifetime, as well as responding to each issue’s specific theme in the process.
EM What’s the most challenging part of designing a magazine?
SGF Having the confidence to continue pushing the design in new directions. It’s definitely the case that often what is most fun is also the most feared. We feel fortunate to be working with Amber Weaver at TYPE01 who trusts our decisions, and gets the conversations going about each issue early on in the process. It’s great to work with a client that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of expectation in design.
EM How involved have you been in the direction of TYPEONE’s content?
SGF The process is very collaborative, and as TYPEONE has evolved and continues to find its voice we’re increasingly in conversation with Amber about what future issues could explore. Harry has also written a feature article in each issue, so it’s been nice to have a foot in that too. Having said that, Amber and TYPEONE’s Editor Zoë Loring-Murphy definitely leads the charge on the editorial content, and they do a brilliant job at speaking to, and platforming, a great range of people in the process.
It’s great to work with a client that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of expectation in design.
EM What is the relationship between design and content in each issue? Are you usually designing with finished articles and assets?
SGF We always have the skeleton structure of each issue before we start designing, but sometimes content comes in quite staggered, which is the nature of designing a magazine that has so many different contributors. This process is getting more and more streamlined though as the magazine grows!
EM Has the design and process become easier with each issue?
SGF Each issue has certainly had its own unique obstacles, but we think the problem-solving and persistence at dealing with those challenges informs the tone of the entire design, and is all the better for it. Things at times have certainly felt easier, however, if we feel that is the case we know we’re not pushing it in the direction we should be. It’s definitely an exercise in being comfortable with keeping out of our comfort zone. That’s where the magazine’s voice was found, and where it needs to stay.
EM When you think you’re looking at a finished magazine, how do you go about proofing, artworking and getting it ready to go to print?
SGF Honestly… give it to Alice to proof, Harry to artwork, and then Alice to proof again! The best thing about working together is having two sets of eyes that are good at different things.