Forth + Back design SPIRAL, a publication exploring the expansive culture of American football
Founded by Shawn Ghassemitari, SPIRAL is an annual publication that interrogates the expansive culture cultivated around American football. LA-based multidisciplinary design studio Forth + Back crafted the editorial layout, art direction, promotional merchandise and holistic identity for the maiden issue – bouncing back and forth with the magazine’s design as they became influenced by the editorial content as it rolled in.
Drawing the audience in with a striking orange as the issue’s spot colour, found both within the magazine’s editorial design (inspired by an article concerning the community of primal humans gathering around fire) and the eye-catching spiral bind holding the publication together (referencing the coaches’ playbook), SPIRAL pulls no punches in its design flare. With an emboldening collection of typefaces, commissioned pieces and refined editorial design, the magazine mirrors the ecstaticism and energy of the sport whilst keeping a refined and somewhat contemplative tone.
“Much like the fact that this magazine is about including a large range of voices into the conversation,” Nikolos Killian and Tanner Woodbury of Forth + Back explain, “we wanted the typographic range to be quite expansive as well.” In the end, they opted for Matt Willey’s Timmons as their wordmark and masthead – due to its collegiate and fundamentally sports-esque feel – as well as Neue Montreal and Grafier from Pangram Pangram Foundry.
Emblazoning the front cover is also Radim Pesko and Karl Nawrot’s Ulys cut of Lÿno, a display typeface with a “primitive simplicity and savagery” perfectly akin to the theme of the first issue – Tribalism. “We honestly had to restrain ourselves, as we wanted to use this one everywhere!” Killian and Woodbury tell us, making best use of Lÿno’s contextual suitability and the fact the typeface simply looks really really cool.
Found halfway through the magazine is the appropriately named ‘Half Time’ section, a part of SPIRAL dedicated to a commissioned illustrated series responding to the issue’s theme. “For issue one, we were graced with the raw and supremely clever work of Nathan Bell, who illustrated a series on football-related superstitions,” Killian and Woodbury recall, adding “we also created a capsule collection with him to promote the series and the issue.”
165mm x 241mm