David McKendrick’s typographically serene zine PAPERBOY highlights the success of constraints
Setting out to only deliver good news, PAPERBOY is a zine devised and designed by London-based graphic designer and co-founder of B.A.M., David McKendrick. Acting as a physical space to support young talent side-by-side with some of the creative industry’s big names, PAPERBOY takes a plucky, charming and fundamentally fun approach to highlighting the beautiful, positively charged work of writers, artists and photographers. Bound with a set of stamps, PAPERBOY is uniquely designed to be passed on – with a purpose to share the good news after having read it yourself.
Editorially, typographically and aesthetically serene, PAPERBOY exudes a confident restraint that, rather than coming across stark and dry, thrives in measured discretion; feeling warm, familiar and comfortable whilst challenging the expectations and preconceptions of zines. Emblazoned with a slanted wordmark on its cover, McKendrick recalls why he landed on PAPERBOY’s name, as well as the significance and biography it carries. “The name PAPERBOY was a simple reference to the delivery of news! I felt it did what it said on the tin,” he tells us, “it’s also a nod to one of my many early career moves,” he adds, working a paper round between the games of 11 and 14. “I was pretty efficient at delivering newspapers five nights a week after school, to my 72 loyal customers of Glasgow’s Evening Times.”
With postage thematically adopted throughout the zine, the product’s dimensions were also directly influenced by the most economical size for domestic delivery – originally conceiving the zine to be rolled up, but sadly concluding the cost to be too prohibitive. “I do like the format though, a little squatter than A4,” McKendrick explains, “it is a simple format that makes for a simple design format and grid;” a sentiment shared with PAPERBOY’s paper choice.
Tactile, craft-like and “where possible economical and appropriate,” the paper used carries with it a sense of domestic recognition; something ineffable that leaves you nostalgic for school printouts and local get-togethers. “For the ‘centrefold’ I used a craft paper developed for school art departments,” McKendrick explains, printing the text sections in only a single colour. “No huge tricks,” he adds, “but a nice, considered combination of materials within the creases and folds that makes a very satisfying document overall.” This material consideration is most prominently shown in PAPERBOY’s cover; a raw woven book cloth designed to stand the test of time, and for the zine itself to cope with the demands of the postal services. This is indicative of the success behind PAPERBOY’s design, which is its mastery of constraints; using them as platforms for aesthetic influence and creative problem-solving rather than falling ill to artistic restriction.
Utilising the full typographic power of Times Ten and Unica77, PAPERBOY’s command of type is one grounded in simplicity and functionality; in doing so providing sophisticated and sturdy foundations to bolster the work and writing of the artists involved. “I wanted the typography and layout to almost be anonymous,” McKendrick explains, concluding, “I also wanted PAPERBOY to be easy for the reader, not complicated or compromised with over fussy design quirks, and in turn, I feel the magazine designed itself.”