Social Paper explores the communities within China's most progressive cultural industries
Social Paper is a biannual print magazine featuring stories about the people and relationships behind the ecosystems shaping China’s most progressive cultural industries, including fashion, food and sustainability. MMBP, a London-based partnership consultancy and creative services studio, oversee the magazine’s design, content, art direction and production. Each issue is published by the Social Lab of Xintiandi, a company that has developed car-free shopping, dining and entertainment districts in Chinese cities including Shanghai, Chongqing and Foshan.
Each issue of Social Paper explores the connections between people, communities and how they come together to shape a particular industry, with the third and latest edition focusing on the food business. For its centrepiece, MMBP hosted a fictional dinner to discuss the future of food at the intersection of sustainability, culture and lifestyle.
The magazine has a defined but broad visual identity that enables each issue to be injected with its own touch of personality. Issues are pulled together by consistency in logotype, format, photographic art direction and serif body typeface but have freedom when it comes to page furniture, colour and headline typeface. The bold masthead takes a subtle but powerful position on the cover, opening up huge amounts of space that allows the content to take centre stage.
MMBP avoid a traditional agency model and instead adopt a flexible system that allows them to complement the needs of their clients. This way of working allows them to spend up to six weeks in Shanghai for each issue in order to fully immerse themselves in the local culture and acquire the most authentic possible research and knowledge. To add another layer to that authenticity, they work almost entirely with local talents including casting directors, stylists and photographers.