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Topman newspaper explores masculinity through fashion

Topman explores "modern masculinity" with a newsprint magazine

For their latest print outing, Topman stepped back from glossy magazines to investigate modern masculinity in a more low-key format.

The issue is packed with thought-provoking articles exploring what it means to be a man in 2017, through the lens of fashion. We spoke to the creative team behind the project – designer Jonny Eastwood, writer Dan Copley and marketing co-ordinator Carol Bailey – about asking big questions (Should men be feminists?) in an understated newspaper.

Topman explores "modern masculinity" with a newsprint magazine

This issue is concerned with "modern masculinity" – how did you land on that theme, and how did you choose contributors to write about it?

The theme kind of chose us, really. We were taking part in the CALM Photography Movement exhibition as CALM is our sponsored charity. They help prevent male suicide – the biggest killer of guys from 18-45. It's a saddening stat and it got us thinking about factors that contribute to this.

Our guest editor, Alex Harris, really connected with the subject and instantly knew the contributors that he wanted to work with to bring the articles to life.

Topman explores "modern masculinity" with a newsprint magazine

Why did you choose newsprint for this project?

We wanted to move away from the longer form magazines we've done in the past and produce something flexible. Newsprint also allowed us to print more issues, so distribution was larger. But most importantly, we just really like newsprint. It's cool, simple and understated – letting the content speak for itself.

What's the design process like at Topman? Did you have any specific reference points for this newspaper?

The design process for us normally starts with moodboards to make sure we're setting the right tone. Having done a more premium-looking style for all our previous magazines, changing to the newspaper format was a conscious decision to make our publication more accessible.

We decided to park the old design and iterate, using previous issues as a reference point. Call it a kind of "coffee table newspaper", with clean layouts and imagery filling pages that people can dip in and out off easily.

Topman explores "modern masculinity" with a newsprint magazine

To break things up, Jonny brought in illustrator Patrick Morgan, whose style has a certain edge to it. This was wasn't planned initially but something that we think really transforms the piece. Being fluid with the design meant that we could be creative throughout the entire process.

How are you using the newspaper, and what sort of response have you had to it?

We've had a really lovely response to the newspaper – I think the theme really struck a chord with people. We genuinely think using newsprint made the publication feel like something people could just pick up. Lots of people thought they had to pay for our previous issues because they looked so glossy.

One of our friends used it as wrapping paper – always remember to recycle!

Topman explores "modern masculinity" with a newsprint magazine

What role does print play in Topman's branding/marketing?

Print plays a big part in our business – it's all over our stores, whether it be sales messaging, photography, etc. Print will never be dead for us. The newspaper offers a point of difference to the traditional sorts of printed material though. It's a glimpse into what makes us tick and the things we're interested in as a brand.

Learn more about tabloids. Our most popular size – we’ve printed millions! Perfect for comics, catalogues, newsletters…the possibilities are endless.

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