Back to the future

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If there’s one thing that strikes fear into the heart of any self-respecting editor, it’s the anniversary issue. Of course, we all love an opportunity to celebrate, but it’s the one edition of the year when all the rules go out the window and the result can look like a navel-gazing nostalgia trip – a look-at-us-aren’t-we-great statement that pleases very few actual readers.

So when we started talking earlier this year about easyJet’s impending 20th birthday, we hatched a plan. There would be no birthday cakes, no candles or balloons and absolutely no dewy-eyed looks back through the annals of what we – or the airline – has achieved in the past. Instead, we’d adopt the opposite tact and focus squarely on what’s to come.

To their credit, the powers that be at easyJet loved the idea, feeding, as it does into their own, tech-savvy forward-looking vision for the airline. And so the Future issue was born – a birthday edition with a difference, channeling some of the best bits of our favourite crystal-ball gazing magazines, equal parts Wired and Popular Mechanics, but more orange and with quite a bit less budget to play with.

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So we asked futurologists what life, love and travel would be like in 2035 – i.e. in another 20 years – and the answers they provided were illuminating. Apparently, we’ll all be polyamorous meat suits, hooked on virtual reality and food pills. Or possibly, all Uber drivers. Illustrator Megapont did a great of job of realising this brave new world.

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Elsewhere, we told a cracking tale of modern derring-do that also doubles up as a possible vision of the future of aviation. Pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are half way into a daring attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a solar-powered plane. So far, the Solar Impulse II trip has been fraught with difficulties, such as when their stability controls failed in the middle of a five-day flight. And I won’t even discuss their biggest challenge: how to go to the loo in the tiny cockpit. But the terrific pics enabled our art director Mat Wiggins the opportunity to be a little self-indulgent with some full-bleed DPS images.

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We also pulled together a group of sickeningly high-achieving 20 year olds from across Europe, all of whom were born in the same year as easyJet (you can read more on Florence’s entry below), and revealed why Amsterdam is – and has actually been for the past four centuries – the most futuristic city around.

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All in all, we’re happy with an issue that feels remarkably fresh in terms of its content and yet still manages to celebrate easyJet’s birthday in suitable style. Check it out when it arrives for November. And I got to reel out a Back to the Future quote in my editor’s letter, so everyone’s happy.

words: Simon Kurs

easyJet: a year in covers

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It looked more like the aftermath of a food fight than a meticulously arranged shoot. The cover for easyJet’s September issue had taken two months of planning (on and off), the involvement of eight trained professionals (photographers, art directors and food artists) and around 3 tonnes of vegetable matter. By crunch time, much of the latter was scattered across every surface of Liz McBurney’s east London studio, interspersed with cups of tea and craft knives, almost as if a group of ladies from the WI had gone postal at a village fete.

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The truly scary bit was upending the glass frame. After six hours of working out how to lay out the lettering (carefully), bury it (in specially aerated soil) and pat it down (like gardeners with their prize marrows), the moment of truth was painful. Clutched by four tense people, the wood-and-glass contraption was lifted oh-so-slowly from horizontal to vertical. And… nothing bad happened. The word RAW, spelled out in vegetables, which the Bompas & Parr team had buried under a careful brown blanket of earth, was there in all its glory – readable, sharp and smiling out at us through the glass frame. Big sighs all round.

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All in all, it’s been a great year for easyJet covers. As plans are in train for the Christmas issue (shhhh!), we’re looking back on some crackers.

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Such as January, where we forced a full-size food van into a bijou studio, and added a smattering of top London chefs to represent the story about chefs’ favourite eating spots.

2015_03_easyjetOr Hattie Newman’s playful take on a family beach holiday in March – made out of from kindergarten-style multimedia – which answered the brief for How to Craft The Perfect Family Holiday perfectly.

2015_05_EasyJetFor May’s music issue we recreated Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band featuring a composite of all the artists featured in the issue. Peter Quinnell, who put it together, is a talented guy…

2015_08_easyJet… as is Kyle Bean, brains (together with temporary art director Jonny Hughes) behind our escaping island – for August’s Island Escapes issue (what else?!)

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And finally, for easyJet’s 20th birthday and our corresponding FUTURE ISSUE – an extravagant 200-page ‘Collector’s Edition – this futuristic, typographic marvel, courtesy of Peter Tarka.

So there you have it – a year of exciting covers to be proud of. Some easier to execute than others, but a story behind every one…

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Words Sarah Warwick
Art direction by Mat Wiggins

 

LARPing around

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There’s a great read in the new August issue of easyJet Traveller by Vicky Lane, about the weekend she spent LARPing (that’s Live Action Role Playing) – basically fancy dress in a field for adults.

“So, here they are and it’s an awesome sight. Around 400 creatures – scaly beings clutching spiked staffs, elf-like beauties with bows and arrows, armoured knights swinging broadswords – clash with the 400-strong enemy army, who snarl from a fort in the centre of the battlefield. It’s as though Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars have all been mashed into one epic finale. At least, it would be, if it weren’t for the nervous dog walkers scurrying past, a reminder that this fantasy setting is very much in the real world.”

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The photos are by Carlotta Cardana. (Posted by AndrewH)

I never read. I just look at pictures…

…is something the Picture Desk team and Andy Warhol (sort of) have in common.

As picture editors, we of course have to, and might I add – enjoy to, read the stories that land on our desks. But our thing, just like Warhol, is pictures. And since I’m no wordsmith, I’ll keep this short!

We’re fortunate to work with some fantastic photographers and want to show them off. So here’s a sneak preview of some of next month’s commissions from the London office…

Ben Quinton went to Florence’s Botanical Gardens for Ronda.

Josh Shinner photographed Petitie Meller, Spector, Andreya Triana, Twin Atlantic, Kwabs and Gaz Coombes for easyJet Traveller’s Sounds of Summer feature.

Greg Funnell made the most of the extra hour of daylight in Mexico for Thomas Cook Travel.

And finally, our resident photographer Tim E. White braved the bright lights of Las Vegas and LA for n by Norwegian’s neon cover story.

(Posted by Julia Holmes)

High-concept covers

The easyJet Traveller team continues to make life as difficult as possible for itself by attempting to make each monthly cover ‘high concept’. To date we’ve had…

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the 3D print out cover…

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the knitted jumper cover…

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the graffiti cover…

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the cake cover…

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the food map cover…

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the let’s make our own board game cover…

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the custom-made toy cover…

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…and the Usain Bolt cobbled together from rubbish cover.

For March the story that needed illustrating was about creating the perfect family holiday, which, of course, starts with crayons, string and glue.

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It’s a lovely piece of work. Art director Mat Wiggins has a real talent for sourcing appropriate illustrators that carries throughout the magazine. Also inside this issue are fun spot illustrations by Ryan Chapman livening up an airline-requested explanation of what happens when you drop your spare foreign coinage in the seatback charity bag:

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Ryan’s got previous with easyJet Traveller having supplied illustrations for the magazine’s food column in the past (he’s also worked for the likes of Esquire, The Independent on Sunday and The New York Times).

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Illustrating the food column in this month’s easyJet Traveller is brilliant Finnish artist Janne Iivonen:

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Janne has also worked for The Guardian, The Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times and Heineken.

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Also in the mix, illustrating easyJet Traveller‘s business interview, is this portrait, below, by Nick Reddyhoff, executed in a style perfectly suited to its e-commerce pioneering subject.

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(Posted by AndrewH)

Alphabetical disorder

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Hugging a man dressed as a giant blue bunny while watching the sun come up over one of the world’s busiest harbours is a pretty unusual affair. Unless, of course, you’re in Hamburg, where it might just be a weekly occurrence.

Down by the city’s fishmarket on any given Sunday morning you’ll find crowds singing and dancing to the market’s live music, but unusually for an event that’s typically the last stop of an all-nighter for barcrawlers from the nearby party district, it’s a very varied congregation. Families munch fish brotchen from market stalls and early-rising tourists stand about in padded gilets with coffees, as assorted partygoers – including on one particular recent Sunday a small band of very tired, fairly merry journalists – dance the morning happily away.

This May three of our editorial team, along with long-suffering Ink photographer Tim E White, decamped to the Hanseatic city for 92 hours for a very special issue of easyJet Traveller – our first to focus on a single city. Our idea? To find out what makes it tick, and compile a list of 26 unique, alphabetical reasons to love the city.

What transpired was like something out of – for those of you with memories that stretch back to the 80s – Challenge Anneka. From our first appointment, interviewing a Reeperbahn DJ an hour after landing at the airport, we barely stopped for four days, taking in the best of the city’s high-culture, low-culture, nightlife, sport and business offerings to compile our list.

If we’d worried about finding 26 separate things to extol, there was certainly no need. An intellectual’s football team, Germany’s first craft brewery, houses that make their own electricity from algae… all signs we were somewhere pretty special.

Along the way we interviewed more than 20 locals, took three comprehensive tours and totally exhausted our photographer Tim, who confessed he’d never been asked to do a 24-hour shoot before. The result? Four tired, happy people, enough photographs to sink one of the city’s container ships and a struggle to cram in all our passion for the place into just a few pages.

So look out for it in the July issue of easyJet Traveller. Hopefully it will inspire some people to go and see for themselves what a cracking city it is. And if you do happen to reach the fishmarket, say hi to the blue bunny for us. (Posted by Sarah Warwick)

Wet wet wet

The editorial team at n by Norwegian recently went to Svalbard (see here); easyJet Traveller’s Sarah Warwick went to Yorkshire. Nobody ever said life was fair. She knew she probably wasn’t going to like it – she’d been before on a school trip to Malham YHA, aged 11. It had left her with memories of a place that ponged faintly of baked beans and smelly socks, and which was all wet walkers and sodden sheep, where the only thing dry were the stone walls.

So when Yorkshire was named the best destination in Europe at the World Travel Awards last year, and adjudged the “third-best region in the world” (whatever that means) by Lonely Planet, obviously Sarah was going to have to go back.

Her account of encounters with Olympians, anorak-clad hikers and overly sensitive city councilors (“Every city has bad bits”) makes the drizzly but pointed front cover of this month’s magazine.

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(Posted by AndrewH)

Quote of the month…

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Without a doubt, this comes from an interview with Britain’s greatest living explorer™ Ranulph Fiennes, conducted by Sarah Warwick for the current issue of easyJet Traveller:

When I sawed the end of my fingers off it was in a garden shed on Exmoor and my wife was bringing me cups of tea. I had to go down to the village and got a micro saw because the one I had kept getting stuck.”

In the same interview we also learn that back in 1970 Fiennes got into the last six auditioning for the role of James Bond, but one of the others was a bloke called Roger Moore.

By the way, sorry for the paucity of posts recently but I’ve been away a bit. Normal service should now resume. (Posted by AndrewH)

 

Whoohoo!

Held last night at the Hilton on Park Lane, the annual BSME awards is the Oscars of the British magazine publishing world. All the great and good of the industry come out to slap each other on the back. This year, among the inevitable line-up of mags from the likes of Conde Nast, Associated Newspapers, Hearst and Bauer, Ink received a record three nominations. And, on the night, two of those were winners.

Congratulations to Chris Deacon, who beat off competition from a strong field including High Life, the FT Weekend Magazine and titles from Haymarket and Associated Newspapers, among others, to pick up the award for Best Art Director (Consumer titles). And Toby Skinner and Rickard Westin, the team behind n by Norwegian, won Launch of the Year beating out the Mail on Sunday’s Event and ShortList Media’s Mr Hyde. Although not a winner, congratulations also due to Simon Kurs and the easyJet team for the feat of even being nominated for the very tough category of Best Consumer Magazine.

How to set a world record

*posted by Sarah Warwick*

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What takes 24 hours, eight countries, several sandwiches, very little sleep and two animal onesies? Answer: a world record attempt.

Yes, that is me in a Primark rabbit onesie on a train from Prague to Vienna flicking through the latest issue of easyJet Traveller. The lion is my sister. It seems every time I write for Madewithink, the things that have happened to me in the name of in-flight journalism get more and more surreal (see last month’s blog on my carpark encounter with Cirque du Soleil) and this month was no exception.

It was all part of the latest challenge for Traveller, which saw the two of us attempt to set a new world record for the greatest number of capital cities visited in a day on public transport. London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Prague, Vienna, Bratislava and finally Budapest were covered in our frantic dash across Europe.

Along the way, there was a super-speedy tour of Prague’s old town (with requisite pint of Budvar), a waltz round Vienna’s commuter trains, and a name-dropping Dutch train manager who had some of the best sideburns I’ve ever seen.

Did we get the world record? Find out in the latest issue of easyJet Traveller – on planes and here on 1 November.