Cereal Magazine

A new magazine is born. It’s called Cereal, and it is privately published by Rosa Park {Editor}, Rich Stapleton {Designer} and Richard Aslan {Contributing Editor}. It is compiled in Bath and printed in Bristol {by Taylor Brothers} on good quality stock, in full colour and presented in a chic book format, nearly A4 size. Its objective is to inform, entertain, educate and inspire with beautiful photography, curated stories of food, drink, travel and life, written by lovers of artisanal craft. To tell us more about the creation of the magazine and their vision, we sent its makers some questions and here is what we learned about their work and ideas.

Q: Rosa and Rich, how and when did you think up the idea of creating Cereal magazine – what prompted the concept in the first place?

A: We came up with the idea of Cereal – the name, concept and visual direction – more than a year ago. So it’s been in the works for quite some time, but we finally got it off the ground this past summer when we received funding to start the project. I think like many other creative endeavours, Cereal came to be as a result of our passions – for food, travel, intelligent words and beautiful design – and the desire to create something that we wanted to read.

Q: Did you travel extensively in your childhood, and did that spark in you an interest in food, culture, lifestyle, architecture? Where did your families go on holidays?

A:Rosa – My first great memories are that of eating and travelling. My father was a restaurateur and also owned a travel agency, thus food and travel have always played leading roles in my life since I was a child. I remember complaining every summer holiday because my father would whisk our family off to some exotic destination, when all I wanted was to have sleepover parties with my girlfriends and stay at home! Looking back, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities to have seen and experienced so much of the world from a young age, as it has given me a wider perspective as well as sparked my lifelong appreciation of food and travel. I’m blessed to be able to say that I’ve visited countless countries in almost all of the continents. These days I’m more interested in going to smaller towns and villages rather than the metropolis, which is unfortunately subject to rampant gentrification, therefore losing its charm and character.

A: Rich– I grew up in a family that moved every two or three years – my father was in the Royal Air Force – so I was exposed to a wide variety of foods and cultures from an early age. We rarely went on holiday as a family since moving countries on such a regular basis seemed like back-to-back extended holidays. My upbringing has certainly given me the open outlook I have today – the desire to learn foreign languages, to seek travel, and to try new cuisines.

Q: What other magazines-books-publications inspired your elegant, pared down aesthetic and vision?

A: Rosa- I am a champion and lover of books, so I drew great inspiration from titles under the Penguin Classics series, as well as antique and vintage tomes. I find book design from say, a hundred years ago, to be much more classic and timeless and I wanted to go back to that. Plus, I’ve been a hardcore minimalist my whole life! Everything in my home is in neutral tones – lots of whites, beiges and light greys – and I’m a fan of clean, simple looks that don’t date easily. I think we’ve conveyed that in our first volume…

A: RichWe are both firm believers that less is more. I have a background in engineering and product design and have always admired Dieter Ram’s principle of form follows function. We wanted to give the visual content in the magazine sufficient room to breathe, which led to the minimal aesthetic. It was key that the look of the publication was simple, clean and neutral so that it didn’t feel cluttered, allowing the content to speak for itself. We took inspiration from not only other magazines, but also from books, stationery and apparel.

Q: How did you find the contributors in the very beginning? Did you already know most of them because you have all been working in creative industries for a long time?

A: A lot of the contributors in this volume are friends of ours, which is fantastic because we’ve always wanted to work with close friends! Some of them were creatives we’ve long admired, so we approached them to work with us on Cereal and they all said yes!

Q: Where did you find the financing for the project? There is no advertising in the magazine and these are tough times for independent publishers. Tell us your view of how your U.S.P will make readers subscribe.

A: We have an investor that’s provided the funding to start Cereal. We wanted to be advertising free for the moment, with hopes of remaining unbiased and objective in our editorial content as we launch the title. It’s tricky for us to distinguish (at this point in time) specific elements of the magazine that people will love, I think that will become apparent with time as feedback makes its way back to us. But we think and hope that people will appreciate the educational bent of our magazine. We’re keen to deliver facts rather than opinions – your opinion is for you to form once you have the necessary facts.

Q: The magazine is printed in Britain {hurray!} – tell us why this was important to you. Surely, the cost would have been much lower in the Far East?

A: It is indeed printed in Britain. We had the option of printing elsewhere, including the Far East, but it’s important for us to support the local economy, so our printers – Taylor Brothers – are in Bristol and they are brilliant!

Q: Are you going to set chapter themes for all of your quarterly editions? Tell us why you decided to categorise the work in such a way?

A: We are. Presenting our magazine like a book is one of the fundamental parts of Cereal. We think it gives the magazine a clear structure while allowing us to delve into various topics. It also lets us dig deeper into individual subjects which we love.

Q: Wherever you go, do you look at everything through the eyes of a camera lens or with a view to a potential article? Are you always on the lookout for an interesting story, unusual places and new voices, or do you just go with the flow, relax and serendipity will have its own way?

A: Rosa -I look at everything wondering if it would make a great feature!

A: Rich -And I look at everything through the eyes of a camera lens – both for photography and films. We are both constantly on the look-out for interesting stories, though ironically, the best ones always seem to creep up on us in the most unexpected circumstances.

Q: Tell us about your hopes-dreams-ambitions for Cereal magazine and its future.

A: We hopeCereal will become a publication that people can trust and rely upon as one of worthy and valuable information presented in a clear, beautiful way. We have no idea what the future holds for us – we’re just taking it one day at a time and working harder than we ever have before!

Q: Where to next in terms of locations? Tell us about places you would dearly love to visit, cuisines you would love to eat and people you would love to meet?

A: Well, that’s a surprise! We’ve already set the chapters for Volume 2 and the travel chapters are some of our favourite places. One country that is definitely on our radar at the moment is Iceland! As for food, we are currently in to Malaysian and Vietnamese. We could eat pho all day, every day; it’s perfect for this cold weather.

Further Information

Cereal: www.readcereal.com

Facebook: /cerealmag

Twitter: @cerealmag

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