Wayward Arts Counter Culture Series: Issue 9
Bronze Design Agency of the Year: lg2
Wayward Arts magazine is a non-commercial, non-profit monthly publication that showcases the design community. Conceived as a forum for creative expression and a source of inspiration, Wayward Arts magazine disseminates its message of “art for art’s sake” across Canada. With each issue, an award-winning Canadian design studio gets carte blanche to create the magazine of their dreams by changing the design, layout, colours, mood and paper to reflect their interpretation of the year’s overarching theme.
This year’s theme was “Counter Culture.” Agency Lg2 had complete freedom on how to approach it. No restrictions are placed on the creative process or end product, save for the paper it’s printed on and the magazine’s dimensions.
People are in constant digital communication today, so much so that they take their conversations for granted. Mobile phones and social media accounts have become graveyards for the remains of people’s thoughts and opinions, from the important to the trivial. The agency took the “Counter Culture” theme as an opportunity to reanimate these virtual conversations in the form of an experience that would restore their original value.
Lg2 divided three real-life digital conversations into three relatable chapters of the human experience: birth, love and death, and printed each conversation as a separate chapter of the magazine.
The catch: the magazine is sealed on all sides. The only way to open it is by tearing apart the pages, starting from a hole in the centre. Thus, each page and each message becomes its own experience to be consumed. Converting these conversations into a short-life object restores their original value, answering the counterculture call.
The magazine comprises three separate booklets. Each booklet is glued shut on all four sides, forcing the reader to open it through a circular perforation in the centre – the only access point to its inner contents. The subtle design fades into the background, placing full emphasis on the text. To ensure the reader quickly recognized the printed words as a text message exchange, Lg2 maintained the traditional left-right alignment associated with texting.
Each booklet features one colour of paper and one print colour (1 PMS). Since the agency was mandated to use a specific mill’s paper, the team was restricted to the paper colours on offer. Black paper would have been an obvious choice for “Death,” but was not available. A simple colour code for each of the three themes was established; for example, red and purple for “Love.”
With Lg2’s creation of “Three Stories to Forget,” the agency literally and figuratively redrew the boundaries of what is traditionally considered a magazine. Far beyond the typical process of flipping through pages from left to right, looking at images and/or reading articles, the team designed an object that became an interactive experience unto itself. Moreover, unlike most magazines, this issue of Wayward Arts can’t be saved, circulated, shared or reread. It’s a singular, one-time experience that can never be relived. In this sense, it stays very true to the brand’s message of “art for art’s sake.”
As this was a non-profit, pro bono project with minimal distribution and limited visibility commercially or in the media, its impact is not quantifiable. It is through the reactions of the individuals interacting with the magazine – delight, surprise, reflection – that the team’s main objective was reached.
Karie McKinley, production manager, Toolbox Design, submitted this testimonial:
“The latest Wayward Arts piece was the one that resonated and engaged me the most. As stated on the back of the band that holds the three booklets together, the stories are forgettable because conversations are fleeting; especially social media conversations. These days, it’s nice to have something to hold on to. Thanks for forcing the audience to press the pause button, engage with printed ephemera and come to their own conclusions of what it’s all about. This W/A piece is not about the content, it is the journey that delights.”