Back to zero: Tusk Journal goes from online to print

Susie Stubbs

The online fashion, art and music magazine has gone rather beautifully lo-fi – with its first ever incursion into print.

Say what you like about print (it’s a dinosaur, it’s uneconomic, it’s irrelevant) but like vinyl it just refuses to die. We’ve long waxed lyrical about the almost magical properties of print and it seems we’re not alone. This month, Tusk Journal, formerly an online-only venture, launches its first analogue number, a 64-page, uncoated and perfect bound beauty that even the most hardened print cynic would struggle to take issue with, what with it its minimalist lines, commissioned illustration and dedication to, as Tusk founder Alexander Lester puts it, acting as “a platform for young creatives in the North West, the sorts of people who are changing things but not getting the recognition they deserve.”

We wanted to make something that documents the changing landscape of the North West

“I’ve been in love with print for years, and while we started online we realised that our articles struggled in terms of longevity – they’d be over with in a few days,” says Lester of his and fellow Tusk founder, the designer James Falkingham’s, desire to create something more tangible. “We wanted to make something that captures a certain period and documents the changing landscape of the North West.” The result is Tusk Vol 0, a magazine that covers music, fashion and culture and whose first issue includes features on SWAYS Records, Everything Everything and new work by the illustrator, Kris Sale.

This issue of Tusk is, as it turns out, a bit of a teaser. The magazine switches to a 120-page, bi-annual format from May 2014, with this early issue intended to give a flavour of what’s to come (Lester promises more short fiction, art commissions and illustrations to flesh out the fatter format’s pages). As such, there are only 100 copies on sale – although 900 more will be distributed free in venues such as Cow & Co, FACT, Soup Kitchen and Magma. As teasers go, though, this one is rather effective: it generated much in-office debate over its cover colour (is that sage green we see before us?) and reminded us, if we needed reminding at all, that’s always room on our shelves for a well-designed piece of print.

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