Fiera "will be a lasting record of the world of design"
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New magazines: "A lasting record of the world of design at a point in time"

While blogs and online magazines have come to dominate coverage of design news, the internet has also made it more feasible for anyone to launch a print magazine and created a demand for a more considered approach says Katie Tregidden, co-founder of Fiera magazine (+ slideshow + interview).

Fiera new design magazine from Katie Treggiden

In the second interview for our series focusing on new design magazines that are bucking the trend for online publishing, the founder of the confessions of a design geek blog explains why she is launching a print magazine dedicated to covering international design fairs.

"The current coverage of design festivals largely happens through social media. It's fast, dynamic and exhilarating, but it can be as overwhelming as the fairs themselves," said Treggiden, who is also a contributor to Dezeen.

"Fiera is a magazine that needed to happen in print. The ephemeral nature of the current coverage of design festivals on blogs and in social media is what it counterbalances. It will provide in-depth, analytical coverage that demands more focused reading, and will be a lasting record of the world of design at a point in time."

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The first issue of the magazine, created in partnership with Jeremy Leslie, creative director of MagCulture, will launch in November this year with coverage of the London Design Festival, Prague's DesignblokInterieur Biennial in Belgium and Dutch Design Week, and has been funded via a Kickstarter campaign.

"One of the founding principles of the magazine is that, for it to be created in the best interests of the readers, it needed to be funded by the readers," said Treggiden.

"The magazine will focus specifically on discovering new designers, who rarely have PR representation or relationships with larger titles," she explained. "There isn't another magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at design festivals – it's quite a niche."

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Treggiden will continue to provide coverage of the same design events on her blog, confessions of a design geek – an approach she described as "digital first".

"The current coverage of design festivals largely happens through social media. It's fast, dynamic and exhilarating, but it can be as overwhelming as the fairs themselves," said Treggiden.

"I write pretty much in the way I speak on confessions of a design geek. People spend more time with printed media, and the process of creating it takes longer, so the writing can be more in-depth, more analytical."

Fiera new design magazine from Katie Treggiden

Fiera is one of a number of new print titles dedicated to design launched by female editors this year, including design criticism magazine Dirty Furniture co-founded by former Icon design editor Anna Bates who also funded her first issue through Kickstarter.

"Blogging, social media, crowdfunding platforms and independent publishing are all conspiring to democratise the industry," said Treggiden. "They are opening doors to anyone with a good idea and the energy to make it happen – regardless of their background, gender or financial position."

Fiera new design magazine from Katie Treggiden
Jeremy Leslie and Katie Treggiden

Update: Fiera magazine is now available to buy from MagCulture.

Read the full transcript from our interview with Katie Treggiden:


Anna Winston: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to launch a print magazine?

Katie Treggiden: My name is Katie Treggiden and I've been writing a blog called confessions of a design geek and covering European design festivals for American design blog Design Milk for almost five years. I was on the bus on my way home from the London Design Festival last year, inspired and exhausted in equal measure, when the idea for a print magazine about design festivals popped into my head.

I did a Guardian masterclass on independent publishing and Jeremy Leslie was one of the speakers. He sent me a tweet afterwards suggesting we met up for a coffee to discuss my magazine idea, and the rest is history.

Anna Winston: Can you tell us a bit about the idea behind Fiera?

Katie Treggiden: Fiera is a biannual independent print magazine discovering new talent at the world's design fairs. The current coverage of design festivals largely happens through social media. It's fast, dynamic and exhilarating, but it can be as overwhelming as the fairs themselves.

Fiera will take a step back, analyse a full season of design fairs, and try to make sense of it all. The magazine will focus specifically on discovering new designers, who rarely have PR representation or relationships with larger titles.

The magazine is for anyone who would love to see the design festivals for themselves, but either can't get to them, or can't stay for long enough to see everything.

Fiera magazine launch

Anna Winston: Where did the name come from?

Katie Treggiden: I was having a conversation with Stefan Scholting of Scholting and Baijings, and he said Milan had "the best Fiera", referring to all the satellite events around the Salone. It's Italian for fair. It also means wild beast in Spanish and proud in Esperanto.

Anna Winston: What kind of content can readers expect from the magazine?

Katie Treggiden: The magazine will be split into two sections. The first section will deliver high-energy coverage from the coalface of the festival circuit – the sights and sounds that really bring it to life. The second section will feature critical analysis, macro-trends and outsiders' perspectives on the world of design.

Anna Winston: What does the magazine offer that others don't?

Katie Treggiden: There isn't another magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at design festivals – it's quite a niche. Other magazines certainly cover the fairs as part of what they do, but Fiera will be the first to offer comprehensive coverage in one place with a specific focus on new designers.

Anna Winston: How have designers reacted to the idea?

Katie Treggiden: Everybody we spoke to before we launched the Kickstarter campaign was incredibly positive, but one of the reasons we decided to raise funding via Kickstarter was to test the market. We wanted to be sure there was demand for the idea we were so excited about. We raised £16,332 against a target of £14,000, so that's given us the confidence that this is something the design industry wants and needs.

Anna Winston: When will it launch and how will you distribute it?

Katie Treggiden: Fiera will come out twice a year after each cluster of design fairs, so the first issue is due out in November 2014 and will cover the London Design Festival, designblok in Prague, Interieur Biennial in Kortrijk (Belgium) and Dutch Design Week.

It is already available to pre-order via the magCulture shop, and will eventually be distributed via our website and select outlets in each of the major cities we cover.

Fiera new design magazine from Katie Treggiden

Anna Winston: How difficult has it been to get to this stage?

Katie Treggiden: It's been both harder and easier than we ever could have imagined. I cannot over emphasise how difficult, both physically and emotionally, running a Kickstarter campaign is. It's a full time job, fraught with the risks that come with putting yourself out there for such public "all-or-nothing" success or failure.

That said, we've had an incredible amount of support that has made it possible to get from idea to launch in less than a year. From photograhers Adam Hollier and Yeshen Venema, Daniel Nelson who made our Kickstarter film and the New Craftsmen who hosted our "pledge party," to all our amazing backers any everybody in between – it's been quite overwhelming.

Anna Winston: Why publish in print rather than online?

Katie Treggiden: Fiera is a magazine that needed to happen in print. The ephemeral nature of the current coverage of design festivals on blogs and in social media is what it counterbalances. It will provide in-depth, analytical coverage that demands more focused reading, and will be a lasting record of the world of design at a point in time.

Anna Winston: A lot of the new print design magazines are being launched by female editors. Do you have a theory on why this is happening?

Katie Treggiden: I'm not sure. Perhaps there's something in the fact that blogging, social media, crowd-funding platforms and independent publishing are all conspiring to democratise the industry. They are opening doors to anyone with a good idea and the energy to make it happen – regardless of their background, gender or financial position.

Anna Winston: What's the difference between writing as a blogger and writing for a print magazine?

Katie Treggiden: People consume the two media differently, and so the writing has to reflect that. Blogs are very immediate and often more personal. I write pretty much in the way I speak on confessions of a design geek. The tone reflects the barely contained excitement I feel when I'm at a design festival, seeing new work and meeting new designers.

Fiera new design magazine from Katie Treggiden

People spend more time with printed media, and the process of creating it takes longer, so the writing can be more in-depth, more analytical. Fiera will communicate the same level of passion, but with a more considered tone. It will feature much more long-form content, which seeks to make sense of everything I've seen across four design festivals.

Anna Winston: How are you going to fund future issues? Will there be much advertising?

Katie Treggiden: There will be no advertising in Fiera Magazine at all. One of the founding principles of the magazine is that, for it to be created in the best interests of the readers, it needed to be funded by the readers. This leaves us absolutely free to write about the best new talent we can find at the world’s design fairs.

The Kickstarter campaign has funded Issue 1, so all additional sales of Issue 1 will fund Issue 2, sales of Issue 2 will fund Issue 3 and so on. Everybody who knows anything about publishing has told us that it's not possible to run a magazine on cover sales alone, so it's a huge leap of faith. The Kickstarter campaign showed that readers see the value of independent coverage and we can only hope that the support and demand for what we're doing continues.

Fiera new design magazine from Katie Treggiden

Anna Winston: Will the magazine also have a website to complement it? If so will it offer different content?

Katie Treggiden: We’re coming at this very much from a "digital first" perspective – confessions of a design geek already provides the sort of fair coverage on blogs and social media that Fiera will supplement. There will be a simple website where readers can pre-order the next issue, but in terms of digital coverage of the design fairs, that will remain on confessions of a design geek.