Over the past 5 years Happy has evolved from a pop up music festival to one of Australia’s leading emerging music and media blogs, with a loyal readership that’s constantly growing and over 2 million page views annually. As part of W E A R E H A P P Y M E D I A we’ve been involved with Happy right from the start (including side projects like the Happy font) – designing their brand, building their first (and second) websites, and helping with all kinds of interesting creative projects – from posters to plectrums, and even their online marketing strategy.
We are now extremely excited and proud, to be a part of the launch the Happy Mag – with the first issue to be launched in January 2016. This seemed like a natural progression for Happy, and it’s a great way to do justice to some of the amazing artwork they regularly get commissioned, along with interviews and music premieres.
The written word reads best in print, that’s a fact. As wonderful as the internet is for providing instant access to a plethora of the latest publications – the satisfying physical act of reading from print is something the digital world struggles to replicate.
We’ve loved every project that we’ve worked on with these guys, but as any creatives will know, the opportunity to work on a magazine design is pretty special. The challenge for Happy was to take everything that makes the blog what it is – an online media brand with a seamless user-centred experience – and translate this into print.
The written word reads best in print, that’s a fact. As wonderful as the internet is for providing instant access to a plethora of the latest publications – the satisfying physical act of reading from print is something the digital world struggles to replicate, the same goes for artwork too. Although the website showcases some pretty awesome imagery – there is something to be said for holding artwork in your hands, which is where the Happy Mag comes into it’s own.
With all the great photography and artwork coming out of Happy HQ, the mag is an opportunity to showcase these images as they’re meant to be seen. Couple this with some top quality editorial content, and our years of experience creating beautiful typeset documents and it seems like a wonder we didn’t do this sooner.
In the end we decided to go A5 format, using an attractive recycled paper, making the mag a comfortable handful with a palpable tactility. The intent was always to keep the design of the mag in line with Happy’s no-nonsense content-centric philosophy. Print magazines are all too often over-designed or cramped and cluttered, and one of the most important things for Happy was to keep the design simple, concise and user focused – just like the website.
With generous use of white space and a simple 2 column approach to the typesetting, we used traditional methods of print presentation to produce a clean, modern aesthetic that is often missing in modern publications. Giving the editorial content space to breath also enhances the photography and artwork that is handsomely featured throughout the mag.
In addition to the mag, we also created Happy’s online store. We worked with the existing branding to create a functional and appealing storefront that leaves users in no doubt they are still under the Happy umbrella, yet with the clear intent of an online store. Despite the focus on a clean functional aesthetic, it was still important that the store feels inviting and is a pleasant place to be. We achieved this with a subtle use of colour, approachable fonts, and comfortable and spacious design.
We can’t wait for the official launch in January and to hold the final copy in our hands – and we’re already hounding the guys for hints as to what’s going in the next issue. For those who are interested you can subscribe to the Australian Music Magazine via the Happy Store.
Happy also have an excellent gig guide which you should definitely check out.
See more of the Happy Mag issue covers below.
Issue # 2 features DMA’s on the cover, interviews with Sean Caskey (Last Dinosaurs, Ryusuke Effects), SPOD, Jason Galea and Peter Noble, plus features on copyright in music and drugs, comics and more.
Issue # 3 features JAALA talking weed, women and weirdness, interviews with Rainbow Chan and MOSSY, a retrospective on rock and the written word, a chat with Sydney creative collective The Ladies Network and heaps more.
Issue # 3.5 is our special free map-fold edition featuring Marcus Whale on the cover, with collection of the best content on Happy Mag digital at the tail end of 2016, including a chat with Benny Montero, a retrospective on the rise of vinyl and a look at ‘the douchebag phenomenon‘.
Issue # 4 features Julia Jacklin on the cover talking Telecasters and dressing like a retiree, interviews with creative duo We Buy Yours Kids and photographer Matt Sav, an in-studio profile on Polographia, features on the gender imbalance in music and heaps more.
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