We wouldn’t normally advocate judging a book by its cover, however, LtW #13 is a bit different. Not only does the cover reflect the connotations we are aiming to portray (13, superstition, luck…) but also allows us to tell another story through the seamless coming together of the design and artwork. Like the Wind is a unique running magazine including a collection of stories, photographs, illustrations and poetry, seeking to inspire and motivate you and your love of running.
But first, coffee… crucial designer fuel.
Alex Murphy, our guest designer and Brolga, Brooklyn’s finest street artist teamed up to create the striking design that is on its way to your letterbox now! (If not, it will be soon! Get yours here.)
Their ground-breaking ideas have helped create the backbone for the design of issue #13 – thank you both.
In order to celebrate the release of the cover and thank Alex and Brolga for their input, we spoke to the two of them with the aim of pin-pointing the inspiration behind the design, the process in which they both jumped head (or feet…) first and then what it took to execute the final magazine.
Alex Murphy – Guest Designer
Q. Where do you even start with such great feat? Alex explains:
Something I’ve thought of when producing this issue was that designing the magazine is like doing a puzzle face down without all the pieces. You can see the picture in your mind of how the finished puzzle should look, but it’s not until all the bits (contributions and artwork) are in, that you can really start to piece it together. And even then you need to keep moving it around to get it right.
The best thing is that once it’s done, it always looks better than the puzzle you thought you were putting together.
And I’m always excited to see it in print. Even though I’ve agonised over every page for hours and hours already.
Q. What was the inspiration for the design? Was there a specific idea behind it?
When I used to race bicycles, I noticed people pinning number 13 race bibs on upside down, supposedly negating the ‘bad luck’. After asking around, it seems the same thing applies in running. Well, if you’re superstitious anyway.
I thought it was a great play on the idea to bring the concept into the magazine’s pagination and run the content from two covers – neither of which are the right way up – so there’s no right or wrong way to read the issue.
The idea that issue 13 is in two halves also played to the idea of half marathons (13.1 miles) making up the whole magazine. And it’s certainly a marathon to design and produce!
Q. How did you fair in the challenge of tackling the superstitions associated with the number 13? How is this reflected in the design?
Our amazing cover artist Brolga took the ‘flipped’ brief and applied his unique and striking style to it. It’s a privilege to work with talented visual contributors on Like The Wind, who bring concepts to life in ways that I can see in my head but manifest in even better ways. In that aspect, being guest art director and working with these people on issue 13 has been quite lucky.
Q. What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career as a designer?
So much design work is fast–paced and deadlines put designers under immense pressure. I’ve learned that you can’t always push for something, but if your patient, an idea will come.
Sometimes I have my best ideas when I’m out running and not even aware I’m thinking about work.
Q. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I’m excited about a lot of developments in design and ways that technology is creating new ways to bring design to people. It keeps pushing me to learn more. I think it would be crazy to think I know where I might be in 5 years’ time as design culture and technology is evolving so fast.
One thing I do know, is I would like to keep working with Julie and Simon on Like The Wind and bring it to more readers’ attention so I can continue to work on my favourite ‘job’.
Q. Is your personality reflected in your work?
A lot of the work I do requires answering a strict brief that needs to reflect a client or brand, or problem.
Like The Wind is a lot more open to apply individual ideas and creative, which I think comes across when you see the personalities in submissions. Of all the work I do, I feel most proud of the magazine. Rather than it reflecting me, I like to think we keep its own personality as a medium to share beautiful stories. It is a privilege to be part of.
Q. As a keen runner yourself, do you have a greatest sporting achievement?
Last year I decided I wanted to qualify for the Western States Endurance Run, which meant I had to run 100 miles. After a significant amount of help and patience from friends and family, I crossed the finish line of the Centurion North Downs Way 100.
It taught me the incredible adaptability of the human body and mind and that if you want something enough and work for it, and of course with a bit of patience, anything is possible.
Q. What do you aim to achieve with your designs?
I hope to create things that are beautiful and fit for purpose. I try not to add anything unnecessary to an already very visually busy world we live in. “Good design is as little design as possible.”
Q. Do you have a favourite book?
I’m a sucker for clichéd running autobiographies, and they can probably be attributed to my drive to start running ultra-marathons. Eat & Run, Ultramarathon Man, Born To Run… that sort of thing. That said I love a good Haynes Manual and design and reference books. Stuff you can learn from or add value to my life.
*Can you spot any of Alex’s favourite books in the photo below?
Don’t forget to grab your copy of #13 sooner rather than later… as you already know, here at Like the Wind, once the issues are gone, they are gone forever.
Follow Alex and Brolga to see what else they have been up to.