The force is with them

The timing is atrocious. After six weeks of no postings I break the silence with Paul Weller on the cover of Metropolitan then just one post later I’m back with Metropolitan again. My apologies to the teams working on Ink’s 30+ other titles. However, we can end any discussions of the best cover of 2015 right here and now on the last day of June, because this is it:


I absolutely love this cover. The story is the Secret Cinema team bringing The Empire Strikes Back to life in a mystery London location. The cover concept is by art director Adriano Cattani, the illustration by the brilliant Yann Legendre.

But there was a possibly even more fabulous option, which involved a cover-mounted Busby-wearing Stormtrooper toy.


It was never going to happen – it’s not just the production costs, we’d have had our asses sued raw by the Mouse. Shame. Ade has the wonderful mock-up above by pop artist/bootleg toy-maker SuckLord pinned up beside his desk.

Then there was the other cover.

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This comes from the photoshoot inside the mag.

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Ade, photographer Ben Knight and writer Peter Watts went along to one of the Secret Cinema screenings (they’re not allowed to tell you where but it involves a tube ride to southeast London rather than space travel) to waylay attendees, all of who were in costume. They were invited to step in front of a white sheet to have their photos taken while Pete carried out quick interviews. The most common response: ‘I’m only here because my boyfriend insisted’.

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(Posted by AndrewH)

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)

Eurostar by Print Club


Realising that a cheesy birthday card just wasn’t going to cut it for Eurostar’s 20th anniversary, Metropolitan art director Adriano Cattini commissioned London’s Print Club to create eight art works exclusively for the magazine’s celebratory November issue, including the cover, above. All are now for sale on Print Club’s website.

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The vibrant big-message cover is from London-based Irishman Barry Leonard, who, apparently, likes to listen to a bit of Nick Cave while he works. The ‘Better Closer’ slogan is Eurostar’s own birthday message of love.

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Lucille Clerc is a French illustrator whose work features the derelict buildings and local shops of her East London hood.

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Rose Blake is a Royal Academy of Art graduate, whose piece illustrates a write-up of a speed dating evening organised by Metropolitan editor Marie-Noelle Bauer (a resounding success, seeing as you ask).

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Spaniard Marina Esmeraldo added graphic punch to the magazine’s Style section.

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Also illustrating the Style section is Joanna Ham‘s ghostly, elegant silhouette.

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Another print by Marina Esmeraldo is a portrait to accompany an interview with Kim Jones, the Brit who heads up the menswear design team at Louis Vuitton in Paris.

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The work of South London printmaker Claudia Borfiga is used on the opener to Omnivore, the magazine’s food & drink section – with, presumably (I haven’t seen it yet) features stories on puppy dogs in slurppy cups, burgers with antlers and purple lobsters.

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Rose Stallard is the London-based creative director and co-founder of Print Club and her rock’n’roll print opens Metropolitan‘s listings section.

Overall it’s a very cool collaboration and a brilliantly creative response to a client’s request to do something special for their birthday. Certainly beats cake and a cup of tea. (Posted by AndrewH)

The September issue

The forthcoming September issue of Metropolitan is, of course, a fashion special. For the cover and main fashion shoot, art director Adriano Cattini took off to an eerie bit of coast-land down at Denge near Dungeness in Kent where there are the concrete remnants of World War II ‘listening ears’. These were early-warning acoustic mirrors designed to amplify the sound of incoming aircraft. Long abandoned and overgrown, they now look like a set from Doctor Who.



For more on the background to this weird place, see here.

Anyway, snakes and other alarmingly wild wildlife notwithstanding, the shoot was excellent, providing not one, not two, not three, but four different covers, all of which will be available on a Eurostar train near you throughout the month of September.





The last two covers form a pair:


And below are the interior pages.

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The photographer was Ben Knight; stylist Hope Lawrie; hair & make-up Marlene Andersson; model Honey at Elite; and sci-fi consultant Alison Cattini. (Posted by AndrewH)


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.

What colour is punk?

I’d never associated punk with any particular colour. If pressed, phlegm maybe? But in this month’s Metropolitan, interviewed by Marie-Noelle Bauer punk chronicler Jon Savage is precise in his definition of its aesthetic: “Black, pink and white; simple graphics, everything tightly focused and sharp”. Which could have been the brief for art director Chris Deacon’s cover, below, a gorgeous piece of work and seductively tactile too, with the black of the safety pin and masthead picked out in spot UV. What makes it doubly smart is that the story is about punk’s influence on fashion (the subject of a major big exhibition shortly to open in Paris), hence the significance of the safety pin. (Posted by AndrewH)

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We have a winner

The results of the first annual Ink London Creative Awards are in for the best cover category.

An impressive total of 113 Ink employees voted for their three favourite covers. I awarded three points for everybody’s 1st favourite, two points for their 2nd and one point for their 3rd. That’s a total of 678 points awarded in all. Here are the top five:


1. Metropolitan 158 pts
2. n by Norwegian  136 pts
3. EasyJet Traveller  79 pts
4. Gulf Life  70 pts
5. PrivatAir  45 pts

Just bubbling under where Wizz (35pts), bSpirit (28pts) and JetAway (25pts). But Metropolitan and Norwegian were the overwhelming favourites, between them scooping up not far off half of all votes cast. Over two thirds of everybody who voted, included Metropolitan as one of their three choices.

Congratulations to the Metropolitan team of Chris Deacon (art director), Marie-Noëlle Bauer (editor) and Elizabeth Winding (deputy editor) – also to Christos Hannides, currently art directing Hemispheres in New York, but who had the original idea for the cover.

Expect to see a lot more glittery lips on Ink covers in the future. (Posted by AndrewH)

Ink London Creative Awards: Best Cover

Here at Ink London we’re hosting our inaugural annual Creative Awards. One of the two categories is “best cover”. We have 15 magazines up for consideration and each team has been asked to select its favourite cover produced for that title over the last 12 months (July 2012 to June 2013). The nominations are below and the results of our internal voting will be posted first week of July.

APEX, February 2013

bSpirit, Jan-Feb 2013, relaunch issue

bthere, August 2012

easyJet Traveller, December 2012, the knitted cover

Germanwings, 2013, April-May-June 2013

Gulf Life, December 2012, the Paris paper-cut hat

J Magazine, April-May 2013, the ‘you rang m’lord’ issue

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JetAway, July-August 2012, the big lemon issue

Let’s Go with Ryanair, June 2013, the hot 25 issue

Metropolitan, April 2013, the sexy lips issue

N by Norwegian, April 2013, the Scream in a bed issue

Privatair, Winter 2012, the Six Feet Under issue

Thomas Cook Travel, summer 2013, the ice lolly issue

Voyager, August 2012, the Paul Merton issue

Wizz, April-May 2013, the Warsaw burger issue

Posted by AndrewH

A shining example

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There has been a terrific crop of covers coming out of the Ink London office this month. We had easyJet Traveller‘s custom-baked Great British cake and then n by Norwegian‘s hospitalised Scream (see previous posts for both). Now comes Metropolitan‘s neon lips. The lips were an existing piece that art director Christos Hannides spotted when he paid a visit to the workshop of neon artist Chris Bracey (see below). Chris, who has made film-set pieces for Stanley Kubrick and Tim Burton, also did many of the signs for the girly joints and strip clubs of Soho, the subject of the magazine’s cover story. As well as allowing us to borrow his lips, he also custom-made the Metropolitan masthead in neon. Next month, Ryanair magazine constructs its cover from the pelt of baby otters. (Posted by AndrewH)