Founded by Bonnie Stevens and Allie Speers, mous. magazine is an independent design and culture magazine based in Brisbane. Championing creativity and honesty in their content, their aim is to challenge the predictability and monotony of the mainstream media encouraging their readers ‘to think, question and delve deeper’.
The idea for mous. was born on a typical cheesecake eating, floor-sitting, article writing day when they had an epiphany – that there ‘just wasn’t a magazine that represented [them] as readers or writers’. Their magazine is a creative exploration of art, society and sex. Breaking down the boundaries of a typical lifestyle mag, mous. encompasses and openly explores five key themes: live, inform, design, create and fornicate.
Writing the kind of stories that they love to read themselves, their magazine is bold, unpretentious relatable and fundamentally human. We caught up with Bonnie to tell us more:
Can you tell us a little about your background?
I’ve just completed a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and I am about to begin a Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Creative Industries. So my background in the industry has revolved predominantly around establishing mous and producing content for ASOS as a Student Editor.
My personal background has always been heavily influenced by creative practice. During my childhood, my Mum was either working on multi-arts events or doing research into the importance of the Arts in primary education. So, I was always in the sort of environment where exploration and creativity was encouraged.
How did it all start?
It all started in December of 2013.I was in my second year of my Journalism degree and I’d been told consistently to work for free for established magazines / online outlets. So, Allie and I would have these days where we would write articles or pitches to magazines, but it never really felt right. I knew I was completely disposable to the publications I was submitting to.
So, we came up with mous as a collaborative platform to help emerging writers get experience, and 6 months later mous online launched. With mous, both online and in print, we give every article the time it needs to be workshopped by Allie and I.
In our digitally orientated society, where many publications are moving from print to online platforms – what made you do the reverse?
To us, mous was always a print magazine. We started online because we wanted to build a bit of a readership before we went to print. For me, print magazines have such a sense of longevity and tactility.
The articles in print magazines are substantial, considered and don’t just get lost in a newsfeed. With print, you also get to see articles, art works and photo stories in the order they were meant to be seen; it’s like listening to a full album rather than random songs.
What is the ethos behind mous?
mous is all about engaging with intellect without repressing creativity and vice versa. This idea is absolutely crucial to the underpinnings of mous, because we feel so often that people or publications try to make those two things mutually exclusive, and they just aren’t.
In terms of readership, who is your target audience?
Our key readership is women and men aged 20-27. We really want to target the people who are transitioning from a life, as a student or young adult, and are now finding their feet as a professional in their chosen field.
In saying that, our first print edition could easily be enjoyed by people of any age who are like-minded, because our interviewees and our print writers are people from a variety of ages and backgrounds.
Does your content have a particular impact on the design of the final magazine?
Our content definitely impacts the overall design. Content wise, sections of mous draw heavily on the underpinnings of Nordic and Japanese furniture design and culture. It is these key principals of clean lines, longevity, functionality and a reliance on quality materials that I have tried to echo through the atheistic of the print magazine.
In this sense, the layout of the magazine is minimalist and undemanding without being cold or unwelcoming. The magazine itself is 7.5 X 10 inches so that it fits easily into a bag, but so that it’s thick enough to have real substance.
We understand that this is your first issue – do you plan to standardise the format or experiment with it? (the number that you produce, fonts, colour scheme, dimensions etc.)
At this point, it will be standardised. Particularly the dimensions, I can’t see them changing because I’ve really fallen in love with the practicality and feel of this this size. But, as we grow and change in terms of content, the format may deviate to be more cohesive with the overall image of the magazine.
What have been your biggest challenges / what do you predict them to be?
A massive challenge for us has been funding. From the start, we always wanted mous to be a publication that paid all of its contributors, because we have so much admiration for our writers, photographers and creatives.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t been possible at this stage, but, we hope to change this as soon as it’s viable. But I think that’s something that’s been a major struggle, is making sure everyone involved in mous knows how valued they are.
How will the magazine be distributed?
Ideally it will be distributed in boutique magazine stores across Australia. It will also be online for local and international orders through our website.
Will it be published monthly/ quarterly / yearly?
At this stage, it will be yearly but we would like to move to quarterly publication as our editorial team grows.
What are your plans for the future of the magazine?
We want to build on the collaborative aspect of mous by opening our office space for events that encourage the independent publishing industry eg. book/ magazine clubs, magazine launches and workshops. In the near future, we will be opening an online store where we will sell a curated selection of the home wares and artworks that are featured on mous online. And obviously we want to bring out another print magazine next year.