Pablo Medina proudly presented me with a new magazine that he has art directed called Sneaker News. Indeed sneakers are still news and there are always new models on the runway. Intrigued by this particular niche (and the father of one who used to belong to the sneaker of the month club), I asked Medina about his new project and the role sneakers play in our lives (kind of).
How did you become A.D. of this upscale Sneaker mag?
My friend Yu-Ming Wu is the publisher of Sneaker News the blog. He has run SneakerNews.com for about 10 years. He was attracted to the permanence and staying power of print. He emailed me and asked if I knew of a young design studio who would be interested in designing Sneaker News, the print magazine. I said, yeah my studio would love to do it! (Disclaimer: I’m not so young.)
What is the goal of the magazine? Is it the sneaker culture or sneaker commerce?
The magazine is way more about culture than commerce, but it’s also about reaching a more high-end, artful and more diverse group. Yu Ming’s goal was to push boundaries. Through the love of sneakers, he wants to speak to new audiences.
It feels like hip hop with a modernist twist. What was your design brief? Who is it aimed at?
[Laughs] Yeah, like a refined bling. There is a lot of overlap between hip hop and sneaker culture but we wanted to stay away from too much excess. We looked at magazines like Saturdays Surf, Black Rainbow and even Martha Stewart Living. These all have a cleanliness that we were striving for. We also wanted the magazine to be visually eclectic from page to page. We worked closely with Kevin Brainard and Cybele Grandjean to help us establish a look and feel within these parameters.
Its aim is to speak both to the current sneakerhead world and new circles of people like fashionistas, art collectors, poets and taxi drivers.
What did you learn about sneakers that came as a surprise?
I had never been to Sneaker Con before. That was a trip. 11,000 kids in a sneaker frenzy.
What aspect of sneakerdom is so appealing to us?
Michael Jordan put sneakerdom on the map, and who doesn’t love MJ? His first shoe came out in 1986. Nike’s marketing savvy and our obsession with athletes kept the appeal alive. I’ll never be Michael, so the next best thing is wearing his shoes.
How will the magazine editorially sustain itself? Are there enough stories to feed the beast?
The stories are endless. The editorial team is already working on story ideas for Volume Two.
Do you want to design a typographic sneaker?
If I say yes, my nerd count will climb considerably, but yes, I’ll admit, I would love to.
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