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The Grafik archive


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As I write—in 2021—it has been a decade since graphic design magazine Grafik ceased publishing a print edition. It’s with a tinge of melancholy that I look back on my association with the magazine—a title that meant so much to so many that it was resurrected multiple times (due to popular demand) before the motivating forces behind it—editors, Caroline Roberts and Angharad Lewis—decided to call time.


Trolling, pre-trolling

As I shifted around from place to place I also started blogging, often about magazines. My first direct interaction with Grafik was after a bit of—what would probably now be termed—trolling. I wrote a rather unkind review of their redesigned editorial design special issue back in 2006. You often write these things assuming you’re shouting into the void. In this case, at some point, editor Caroline Roberts very generously sent me a reply.


From writing to designing

After writing regularly for the title over the course of a year, editors Caroline Roberts and Angharad Lewis invited me to take on the role of lead designer for the title. Ready to shift back to London again, I jumped at this chance.


A comeback of sorts

Battle weary, but undaunted, the editors soon chose a new publisher from a raft of suitors. The magazine was to be relaunched as a bi-monthly. The structure of the magazine would be assessed and reassembled into a robust new format with a new editorial organisation in place—the editors forming a separate company, Woodbridge & Rees (on whose visual identity I also worked), to act as producers.


Undead

Now recognised as a well established title, seen to be able to adapt to dire circumstances, Grafik would be courted, once again by a new cache of publishers, before shifting over to forecasting company, Protein. Protein had started a well produced print title of their own and the connection seemed promising. A new website for Grafik was released but a refreshed print title never materialised. Today, Grafik is in hands of yet another new publisher who was passed the baton from Protein some years ago, with former editors drawing a line under any further involvement.


The Archive

One of the projects I took on, as lead designer—but also as an avid fan—was the consolidation of Grafik’s digital archive. At the tail end of a secession of designers—including Nick Tweedie (who worked on the title as a member of MadeThought, Value & Service and Malone Design), Sea, Danni Calvi and Matilda Saxow—there was a mass of digital files, in various states, created through putting the magazine together to send to print.


BTW If you are interested in this project and/or supporting the rebuilding of the Grafik archive if any way feel free to get in contact. ︎