We had a chance to interview Pieter De Kegel about the concept behind POSTR magazine – a publication with heavy focus on culture, current affairs and thinking. POSTR magazine is a free forward-thinking quarterly printed on an A1-size poster. Why the size of a poster? The reason is that POSTR magazine likes to be put up. Despite increase in digital platforms, POSTR magazine has pushed past the limits and transformed itself into an engaging output, ready to be picked up from selected concept stores, galleries, some certain restaurants and hotels across Europe.
In terms of readership, what kind of audience is this magazine aimed at?
POSTRmagazine is aimed at people who actually want to read real content in a magazine, people who are not afraid of new ideas and are willing to question their surroundings. We don’t want to target our magazine to people of any type or age in particular because we think the challenge lies in getting people who you thought wouldn’t be interested in a certain subject to not only read about it but also form their own opinion as well.
What have been the biggest challenges or difficulties involved in creating/ distributing the magazine?
First of all there was the challenge of deciding what the magazine would be about and what it would look like.
I was working at a publisher in Brussels together with a friend of mine and got frustrated by the magazines we saw around us. They all looked the same, had the same buildup, same content copied from the same press releases, … But we knew the cost of producing a traditional magazine so we started thinking about other formats that would alow us to have a substantial amount of content at a low cost. That’s how we came up with printing it on a poster. In December 2008 my friend died in a car accident so I felt I really had to start this magazine to honour him.
A few months before I got to know a guy who was writing for a newspaper and Juice magazine and another guy, who was fed up with being a copywriter and wanted to do some serious writing. They instantly “got” what we had in mind the content should be. In March 2009 our first issue was released at the Colophon symposium. The topic of that issue was very fittingly: the media.
Second of course was how to finance a critical counterculture magazine in a time of economical crisis. Also a time of glossy, bitesize, brand-friendly content. This has been a challenge ‘till this day. That’s why we are working on becoming completely independent and why we want to work with our readers instead of brands to get the magazine funded.
Distribution is very important for every magazine. For us it has always been very diy because we like to know exactly where you can find our magazine and if a location is right for us. We are available in a few major cities in Europe and send out the magazine to places and people all over the world who contact us or who we think would like to read POSTRmagazine. Check our website for a full list of stockists.
As a thought provoker and idea generator, what are your favourite topics/subjects that you like to talk about?
We like to talk about any subject really. Like we say in our mission statement: “We want to get you thinking about whatever you didn’t know yet, and to make you think twice about what you thought you already knew. Because fact is, you never know.”
Any subject can become a POSTRsubject because it is the way we write about it and the perspective we take that makes it interesting for our readers.
Do you usually collaborate with freelance contributors/designers?
We don’t usually work with contributors but sometimes we do when we are pressed for time or when somebody pitches a story that is just to good to pass up on. Our editor in chief has such a unique and high level of writing it’s very hard to find somebody who is up to par with him anyway.
I always do the design myself. I have a certain way of choosing the images and know the rules of the grid by heart so it would be difficult to let somebody else do it.
What are your circulation and distribution options? What is the number of copies distributed?
We print on a circulation of 5.000 copies and distribute these magazines to selected stockists, subscribers and people of interest.
Since you’re a free magazine, tell us if this affects the design of the magazine?
The fact that it’s a free magazine affects the format and the use of color. The front side of the poster is always a duotone print. The back cover used to be duotone as well but because that meant advertisers had to create a custom ad just for our magazine we changed it to quadri color.
Are there any side projects or events that you are going to be working on in the near future?
We are planning on doing an online radio/tv show on www.stroom.tv and a small party to celebrate the release of a new issue.
Besides that we are turning our back issues into mixtapes. It’s complicated to explain so just visit www.mixcloud.com/POSTRmagazine and have a listen. We are planning on doing this for every issue.
What should we be expecting in the new issue of POSTRmagazine?
Our current issue, The Creative Issue, takes a closer and as always very critical look at the creative industry. Our next issue will be about identity and logistics in today’s globalised markets. It will be out in July.