Revisiting Monocle Mediterraneo

Posted inBranding & Identity Design

TAKEAWAY: The summer’s indispensable companion, Monocle Mediterraneo, made its grand entrance at a Mediterranean beach near you. It is a must have. For us in this industry, it is a colorful, informative reminder of how much fun print can be.

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A happy editor/publisher/admiral of the fleet, Tyler Brulé updates us on early report following the launch of Monocle Mediterraneo July 29:

The headlines:

“Our tiny LA shop sold 77 copies the first day! Can you imagine how happy any traditional newspaper publisher would be to sell that many copies at a single outlet we’ve been selling around 100 copies a day at £7 online. Everyone loves how it smells. I was in the store and I witnessed three customers crack it open and just smell the stock. I love that! People have been ordering two copies – one to get dirty with, the other to keep pristine. Our advertisers are all asking – what do you do for an encore?

The answer …

Monocle Montagna!

And Tyler dreams a little about his next seasonal newspaper:

Imagine a cozy edition to curl up to over the holidays? Imagine the advertising over the holidays!

Indeed, I can imagine it, Tyler. Print is eternal, we know, and with Monocle, print is seasonal and something to look forward to as summer leads to autumn and winter and spring.

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Frank Deville: probably Monocle Mediterraneo’s first reader, enjoying his copy at the beach in Maspalomas, Canary Islands. Frank resides in Luxembourg.

A front page with 15 enticing items to sample

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Here is the front page of the summer newspaper Monocle Mediterraneo, which appears July 29.

The contents page: navigation made fun and easy

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Contents mapped out

The contents’ page is a real map, pointing to locations of interest where Monocle Mediterraneo takes you in this premiere edition. But it is not just a navigator to the inside; it is also full of informative snippets about those sandy beaches of the Mediterranean. My favorites: In Bozcaada, go skinny dipping in the hidden coves on the southeastern tip of the forgotten Turkish island; Liguria, Italy, if you must truly connect to your digital dependencies, the port of Genoa now has free wi-fi, although Tyler would probably prefer that you take a post-morning-run coffee and ensaymada at the Fibonacci bakery in the Portixol on Palma’s seafront.

Depth with optimism gives content rhythm a great start here


Opening with optimistic pieces about Greece and Turkey

Culture Stack: 36 tips to make you wiser, more interesting

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Ship it with you

One of my favorite features, it encourages the reader to find a sturdy trunk and Fedex all these selections in advance. Among the top picks: El Pais of Spain, the must-read while in the Mediterranean (I agree and always do); A Single Man the movie, directed by Tom Ford; Abba’s Voulez-Vous, those guys from Stockholm go well with the waves; and, Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Feast of the Goat.

Even the late Steve McQueen comes alive here

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The ads with Steve McQueen, black and white splendor of a long gone movie idol, who seems to come alive here

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Ads as visually appealing as the rest of what we see here

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Another one of those ads that blend so well with the rest of the MM’s editorial content

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BlackBerry ads were never so appealing.

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Notice that everyone here is at the beach, creating proximity between the product and the reader’s environment, something rare in newspapers as we know them today.

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If good design is functional, appealing, serves the content first and let the visual surprises interrupt the dance of continuity, then Monocle Mediterraneo has it.

Those looking for the next euphoric design moment of mid summer will not find it here.

Students of how design can establish an engaging pattern that identifies the publication’s purpose (here it is classy and friendly), engages you intellectually as well as visually (this is obvious on every page), and, yes, makes you feel good about yourself (the hidden, but so prevalent, objective of all that we do, right?), will be able to use Monocle Mediterraneo as a sort of inspirational text.

Headers at the top of pages are big enough to be seen and not so large that they become party hats at the top.

The typography, mostly serifs for headlines, plays a secondary role for headlines, but more of a primary role when it comes to differentiation of narratives (serif) and secondary readings and finger reading (sans).

Page architecture is identical to that of Monocle magazine. Wider columns carry the substantive texts, while narrow ones speed you into lists such as “before you dive in”, which abound in this, as in any, Monocle product. The perfect symphony of trombones, violins and the occasional drum is achieved here.

Photos and illustrations give us an immediate signal as to the content of the story, but none appear too intrusive. I was thinking that this is one of the few publications that one could not rate as a “writer’s newspaper”, or as “photographer’s paradise, “ and not at all a “designer’s showcasse”. Yet, the three disciplines coexist like it was another day at the beach.

If anyone needs a little review of how to use small photos advantageously, turn to any page of ModMed.

And, finally, color: Yes, the palettes are mixed, from the golden yellows in the cover, to the subdued sky blues for headers, and the gray for summaries under headlines. It is all there, along with some
black and white to cleanse your palate between soup and salad, or between Inspiration and Fashion.

One of the most inspirational pieces in Monocle Mediterraneo plays with the “big idea” of changing lines of work.

“What’s the Big Idea?,“ asks the headline on Page 21, then it answers it in the summary below: “Can’t face the thought of returning to work after your summer break? Maybe it’s time for a new gig.“

For those of us designers/journalists, the inspiration is NOT to find a new gig, but to reacquaint ourselves with that gig we love, hit the reset button and let Monocle Mediterraneo inspire our next project.

But, first, a dip in that Mediterranean beach—-usually too cold for a Floridian like me, but, refreshing nonetheless.

Monocle Mediterraneo facts at a glance:

Multi-platforms: The Monocle newspaper will exist in both print and online formats.

Format/pagination: The 64-page colour tabloid will be accompanied by the weeklyMonocle Summer Series audio programme on, mixing live music, discussion and debate.

Price:The newspaper is priced at £3.50 or €5,