Stories well told


I’ve posted a couple of times about the visual lushness of Excelente, the premium-class cabin magazine Ink produces for Iberia but what I haven’t mentioned is the quality of the feature stories. The May issue, cover above, has a couple of absolute gems.

There’s the profile of Takuya Ishimine, 55 years old, born and raised in Osaka, who fell in love with reggae after hearing Bob Marley’s Redemption Song on Japanese radio. He managed to get himself sent to Jamaica as an employee of a Japanese coffee company but then he was made redundant. Instead of packing up and returning home he took over ownership of a Kingston record store after its Jamaican owner was gunned down and killed.


For the last three years, in his loosely fitted, patterned cotton shirts, khaki shorts and flip-flops Ishimine opens up shop each morning, even though he can go several days without a sale. To supplement his income he serves Blue Mountain coffee and hand-makes record sleeves from assorted colours of cartridge paper. ‘Jamaica is still a paradise for me and now I can “eat a food” [make some money] and enjoy myself here,’ Ishimine told journalist Patricia Meschino. The photographs are by Chema Llanos.

Then there’s this:

The Eva Jocelyn arrived in the neighbourhood of Anibong – District 68 of the city of Tacloban – along with a host of other tragedies, when Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda by its victims, swept through the Philippines. The 3,000-tonne cargo ship had been anchored in San Pedro Bay, on the San Juanico Strait, with its 19 crew members onboard. At 7am on 8 November 2013, Yolanda’s screaming 316kmph winds launched the ship at the capital of the Eastern Visayas Islands. It flew like a toy boat through the streets, adding to the devastation suffered by 80% of the structures in the city. Sliding to a halt, it embedded itself in the house of Estrella Moro. The bow pierced the second floor of the Moro home and there it stopped, the last voyage of the Eva Jocelyn.

That’s the opening paragraph of the story that goes on to describe how the Eva Jocelyn, which brought destruction to a Filipino village, rapidly became a focal point for the devastated community as the ship’s auxiliary engine provided a sole source of electricity. Local businesses like soft-drink sellers set up close by, while elderly card players found the shadow cast by its looming hull was a cool place to sit and the women did their laundry there.






It reads like something from the pages of a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, except the tale is true and there are stunning photos to prove it. Both words and pictures are by Spanish photo-journalist Daniel Burgui Iguzkiza.

Credit also to Ink editor Jesus Huarte for unearthing these amazing stories. (Posted by AndrewH)

Well red

04 Apr Cover Excelente

As of today passengers in the premium cabins on Iberia flights are being dazzled by the cover of the April issue of Excelente, which is vividly and gorgeously red. It’s just a shame the planes aren’t also carrying the January, February and March issues as well so everybody can see what a stunning set the magazine’s covers make to date.

Screen shot 2015-04-01 at 10.42.21

In keeping with the previous three issues, the inside back page ‘deconstructs’ the object on the front cover.


Screen shot 2015-04-01 at 10.41.33

The story to which the cover relates is about the Classic Car Club in east London, which gives members access to 50 cars of the sort boyhood dreams are made of (well, some boys anyway). The beautiful photography is by the highly recommended Ben Quinton.

Screen shot 2015-04-01 at 10.48.07

Screen shot 2015-04-01 at 10.48.21

Screen shot 2015-04-01 at 10.48.43

Screen shot 2015-04-01 at 10.48.58

(Posted by AndrewH)

Illustrator of the month

Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 11.02.03

The Feb issue of Excelente, cover above, contains a particularly gorgeous set of illustrations. The story is about a unique supper club called Dining Impossible, in which members lay down a fee of around 2,000 euros to partake in an orgy of three grand feasts eaten over three days, prepared by some of the world’s top chefs. It’s a fascinating piece but shooting the story wasn’t an option as the next event doesn’t take place for some time and cameras probably wouldn’t be welcome anyway. So art director Antonio Galvez commissioned illustrator Marina Gonzalez Eme to supply the visuals. I think the results are beautiful and perfectly capture the sybaritic (over)indulgence of the whole thing.





And how they appear in the magazine.

Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 10.51.55

Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 10.52.09

Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 10.52.23

Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 10.52.36

(Posted by AndrewH)


Also launched by Ink in January is the sister publication to Ronda (see previous post), which is Excelente, a title produced for Iberia’s first- and business-class cabins. It’s slightly larger in format than Ronda and slimmer, but with a heavy matt paper stock. The gorgeous cover is also matt with the cover line and airline logo printed in spot UV only – you don’t get the full effect in the image below, but the spot UV lettering only becomes properly visible when it catches the light.

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.23.10

The first part of the magazine is a series of departments – art, gastronomy, watches, cars, wine, fashion, men’s style – each curated by a respected Spanish name in that particular field.

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.23.43

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.24.19

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.24.35

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.24.51

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.25.17

There are also a couple of franchise departments: one is a straightforward Q&A with a company CEO called ‘Breakfast with…’, the other is a forensic photo-from-above of a craftperson’s cluttered desk, which offers an insight into that person’s way of working and some of their inspirations.

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.24.02

The second part of the magazine is a feature well distinguished by parred-back, elegant design with some gorgeous photography. Stories in the first issue celebrate the glamour of 1950s Rio, profile Mexican chef Enrique Olvera as he launches new New York restaurant Cosme, document an underwater art installation in the making in Lanzarote and tell the story of the search for long-lost recordings of the voice of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca.

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.25.32

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.25.45

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.25.57

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.26.13

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.26.27

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.26.41

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.26.56

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.27.08

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.27.20

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.27.31

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.27.50

The very last page is a playful riff on the cover ‘deconstructed’ – in this case the ingredients for the perfect caipirinha.

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 09.28.01

Put together by editor Jesus Huarte and art director Antonio Galvez, Excelente is a real class act. See the rest of the magazine here. (Posted by AndrewH)

New Year, 3(!) new mags

A busy start to the year for Ink as we launch not one, not two, but three new titles. Onboard in January 2015 are the inaugural Ink versions of Ronda and Excelente for Iberia, as well as American Way for American Airlines. (Next month we add American Airlines’ Nexos to that list and in March American Airlines’ Celebrated Living.)

I’ll post pages from Excelente and American Way in the coming days but we’ll kick off with Ronda. The brief was to produce a magazine that reflected the changes Iberia itself is currently undergoing as the airline looks to reinvent itself for the 21st century. The magazine had to be warm, bright, people oriented, reflect the values and characteristics of modern Spain and Spanishness, and – of course – sync in with the company’s new brand identity.

The idea is that each month the magazine will be brought from a different city – members of the editorial team will relocate to put the issue together, exploring the city through its people. It’s not a wholly original idea – Boat magazine, which is a favourite read, does this – but it seems a particularly good fit for an airline magazine. Another inspiration is the highly addictive website Humans of New York.

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.08.36

The January 2015 issue comes to you from Madrid. A no-brainer as it’s where the airline is based and where most of our editorial team lived until recently. Original concepts had a madrileño holding a ‘Welcome to Madrid’ sign but in the end we went for something more closely aligned to the company’s current marketing collateral, which makes use of naturalistically ‘unposed’ people and sunbursts.

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.07.17

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.07.46

The first spread (plus a page) is Tribes, which in this case is cyclists, celebrating the fact Madrid recently initiated a public cycle scheme.

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.08.00

The second story is an encounter with two heavy rocking brothers who spend a part of every day just hanging out on the Gran Via.

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.09.07

There’s the editors’ pick of Madrid must-buys …

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.09.24

… and the editors’ (and art director’s) own city highlights.

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.09.43

There’s a spread that visits the home of a local – in this case, a lady who lives in Madrid’s landmark tubular White Tower – …

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.09.58

… a story about a local entrepreneur whose business is in transforming plastic trash into fashionable streetwear …

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.10.12

… interviews with local musicians about where in Madrid they draw their inspiration …

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.10.25

… and a portrait of the regulars at one of the current hottest nightspots in town.

The issue is rounded out by a further four features that leave Madrid behind and alight in El Salvador, Marrakech, ballet schools in Moscow and Brazil, and a bunch of worldwide traffic jams.

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.10.43

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.11.42

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.11.51

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.12.21

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.11.05

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 11.11.25

To see the complete issue, go here. Next month: Buenos Aires. (Posted by AndrewH)