A lesson in attention to detail: Monocle Magazine
I used to be an avid reader of Monocle but have let my following fall by the wayside in recent years. I’m glad I refreshed my memory during my recent visit to the Monocle popup in Sydney because aside from the magazine, the Monocle brand makes for a great case study.
There has been a no-stone-left-unturned approach to creating the Monocle brand. With it's message extending far beyond the magazine pages, you can quite literally Monocle your entire life. From lifestyle products and limited edition prints to a 24/7 radio programme, they really have thought of everything.
Monocle is the real life execution of the branding possibilities that most graphic designers only get to nurture up to first or second round presentations (before the reality of limitations such as budget, time and team kick in).
The Monocle machine is the sum of all its astutely branded parts. The resulting gestalt quality is superb.
Some things that really jump out at me as head and shoulders above the industry:
Monocle has been characterised by its heavy use of illustrations since it’s inception and recruits the top talent in the world. Despite using a broad base of illustrators, the lineage in style and tone is strong. It’s so great when consistency marries well with flexibility because that’s gives a brand longevity and keeps it interesting.
Sure we’ve all seen a limited edition cosmetic bag slapped on the front of a fashion magazine but would we ever be persuaded to spend upwards of $200 on a magazine branded product? The collaborations between esteemed designers and Monocle are second to none. My favourite is Scent 3 by Comme Des Garcons. A glance at the bottle provides enough visual cues to know that it’s part of both the Monocle and Commes des Garcons families.
I love that the magazine produces it's own little newspaper as an additional publication. Since the regular edition already has a luxe broadsheet style the format totally makes sense. There are also annuals and a coffee table book on better living too.