Print is Dead – Long Live Print. Somewhere in the middle is the reality, which is confounding those who insist that soon nobody will bother with the paper word, let alone buy it. Yet Printed Pages, the bi-annual magazine from the It’s Nice That editorial team, is thriving and is packed with stunning imagery, standout features and, yes, a lot of words. They continue to curate all the best stuff that they have featured online and bound it together in another hefty tome which shouts ‘look at me’.
From the cover, crafted by the Cuban-born activist and illustrator Edel Rodriguez, through to a nice shouting man by Jean Jullien, this is the magazine creatives will reportedly walk over broken glass to be mentioned in. They like being liked online and there is nothing like going viral, but when it really counts they also want to be one of the chosen and selected to be part of this magazine – to be among the trusted ones you can touch. That is the same reason that the creatives and illustrators still queue up to use the world’s biggest font library at the St Bride’s Foundation and why the journalists at Print Monthly have just reported that direct mail, the poor man’s email, still plops through your letterbox. It is apparently having a renaissance, thanks in part to the toll that GDPR has taken.
I have to confess print is where I am at. Connections and passions and incredible stuff being done, that all needs to be told by the written word. Bearing witness for me is all about writing it down, not pushing it into the ether and hoping it gets noticed in a storm of data. I always wanted to be more clever (and perhaps a little thinner) but I would settle for being more creative and this magazine makes me feel both inspired and humble. There is so much great work out there.
The lines between design and activism are joyfully blurred with an article about Anne Lund who, in 1975, without any formal design training created the smiling sun of the anti-nuclear power movement. ‘Atomkraft? Nej Tak’ was translated into countless languages and stuck on t-shirts, buttons and camper vans, leading to one of the biggest mass mobilisations ever. Not only successful in native Denmark it symbolises something bigger (if there is something bigger than millions of protestors engaged across the globe). As she said at the time: ‘We felt we could do everything ourselves.’ This inspirational magazine beguiles you into thinking that yes, you too, can do it all.
You believe that you are the Snoopy of the creative world, flamboyant, daring, and outgoing. Then you open this magazine and see all the incredible jaw dropping work that is out there happening and you realise that, no, you have to accept your limitations. You cannot be Taiwanese performance artist Tehching Hsieh who tied himself to a clock for a year and had to punch in every hour, on the hour, wherever he was. He followed up that piece of immersive art with one year when he forced himself not to create any artwork, or even talk about any artwork, or see anything artistic. With Printed Pages you would fail, because there is so much to see, a buffet with every kind of illustrators dish, from dripping Trumps to earplugs and so much in between.
It really is nice.