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.


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.


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?!)


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


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)

Big catch


The team narrowly missed out last year to Slimming World but last night n by Norwegian was named as Customer Magazine of the Year in the prestigious 2015 PPA awards. This is a huge accolade as these are the most prestigious awards in the UK magazine publishing industry. Norwegian beat out a shortlist that included British Airway’s High LifeWaitrose Kitchen and Slimming World. Winners in other categories on the night included Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Porter Magazine, Jamie and The Big Issue, so we’re in good company. Former Ink employee Darren Endicott was awarded Designer of the Year (Business Media) for his work on Professional Manager magazine. Well earned congratulations to Toby Skinner, Rickard Westin, Mandi Keighran, Omer Ali and Regina Wolek. (Posted by AndrewH)

Ice, ice, baby

The latest issue of Germanwings contains an interesting story from Iceland on Europe’s longest man-made ice tunnel. It is burrowed 550 metres deep into the Langjökull glacier and ends in an eerily lit cave that doubles as a chapel for weddings and bar mitzvahs. It opened to visitors for the first time this summer. Credit to editor Kerstin Zumstein for digging out the story and to regular Ink photographer Tim White for the photography.

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This is incidentally the last issue of Germanwings in its current form, as Germanwings the airline merges with Eurowings; going forward the new magazine will just be called GermanEuro Wings. (Posted by AndrewH)

B title goes A-list

Say goodbye to b there and b spirit, the European and long-haul versions, respectively, of Brussels Airlines’ inflight magazine. From July these have been replaced with a single, new magazine, b inspired.


The addition of five story-teaser tabs at the top gives a newsstand feel, a bit Guardian-ish, but more importantly presents passengers with multiple content hits poking up out of the seat pocket. We decided to go with a quirky cover concept that would reflect the vision and branding of the airline itself, and it was agreed that we would offer two covers each month, one for the European network and one for the long-haul routes, using two images from the same story.


Inside, the idea was to give the new magazine a stronger Belgian identity, so we created a new front section called Belgitude, which is a bunch of newsy shorts on a Belgian theme, plus a column from Antwerp and a profile of a Belgian personality (no, it’s not Jean-Claude Van Damme). Previously the front section of the magazine was rigidly sectioned with pages devoted to hotels, food, ecology etc – we’ve got rid of all this and replaced it with something far looser, a more free-form diary section that is picture led and totally flexible in format, and which we’ve called Perspective.




Also in perspective is a four-page city guide. The rest of the city guides, which used to jam up the magazine, have migrated online, where readers can find guides to the entire network – which is a good way of driving traffic between the printed magazine and the website. Our regular business writer, Boyd Farrow, has been promoted to a spot mid-book, where he files his dispatches from the global frontline: for our relaunch issue he wonders why we can do anything with technology except make other technology work:

Yet there is one big difference between [Jack] Bauer’s world and ours: spies are never scuppered by their technology. Indeed, whatever their assigned task – producing the “schematics” of any building in the world, say, or disabling any security camera – they can do it instantly in just three keystrokes. They can unclog the photocopier in four.



For the cover story, author of the bestselling Where Chefs Eat Joe Warwick interviewed Albert Adria of elBulli fame, who has almost single-handedly transformed the once-shabby neighbourhood of El Poble Sec in Barcelona into a serious foodie destination with five of his inimitable restaurants. Deputy editor Maresa Manara visited a vineyard in Tuscany where a group of women are creating some excellent wines in a very macho industry and Graeme Virtue joined some wannabe Jedi warriors in training at a lightsaber school in Belgium.


Design-wise, art director Marten Sealby wanted to simply things with a cleaner look – so more white space and wider columns, with fewer fonts and less showy headlines. This allows the photography to really shine and we are committed to shooting as many of the features as we can afford.


The first issue dropped on to our desks today and we are pretty pleased with the result; after a lot of brainstorming, wrangling, hard graft, blood, sweat and tears, we are confident this new magazine will be a hit with Brussels Airlines passengers. (Posted by JaneWright)

It’s been a while…

Apologies for the lack of recent posts. We have some catching up to do. It would be a shame to let June go by without noting a crop of particularly fine covers adorning Ink publications.


Metropolitan managed to land an interview with Paul Weller and a cover shoot carried out by photographer Lottie Davies with assistance from stand-in art director Jamie Trendall. The venue was the brilliantly bonkers Croc Bowling Alley at London’s new Ham Yard hotel. Weller wouldn’t bowl but he did play piano and he did smile, but only off-camera. Here’s a few shots that didn’t get used:

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Metropolitan always has a contents opener that speaks to the cover and also this month to the theme of the issue overall, which was music. I think this is very lovely:

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Not exactly music but also great fun is the spread relating to new book Haircuts of Hackney, published by independent publisher Hoxton Mini Press, which is a ‘visual encyclopedia’ of East London ’dos, as drawn by artist Daniel Frost.



Deputy editor Elizabeth Winding hit Hackney, book in hand, to find real people with the same styles, sprinting after Pretzels in London Fields and scouring Broadway Market for Fros. Everyone posed for photos, including a passing dog:

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The pics are by the brilliantly named River Thompson. (Posted by AndrewH)

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)

More Norwegian (potential) glory


N by Norwegian has been shortlisted in the 2015 PPA Awards in two categories including Best Cover (see above), in which it is up against Crumbs, Time Out, Shortlist, Radio Times, GQ, Elle, Red, The Big Issue and Country Life. Go here at once and give it your vote.

N by Norwegian is also up for Customer Magazine of the Year against the likes of High Life, Waitrose Kitchen and last year’s winner Slimming World. (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)

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.

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


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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.

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(Posted by AndrewH)