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KIBLIND 65 - Summer 2018 - Extraterrestre Issue - Cover : Floor van het Nederend

- Editorial Design , Interview

10 questions to: Kiblind Media

Is it a magazine? An an artist space? A communication agency? Maybe a little of all … For 14 years, the French media Kiblind has evolved to become one of the most famous publishing platforms dealing with graphic design and illustration. With Maxime Gueugneau, editor and chief of web projects, we delve into the history of Kiblind, its evolution and its plans for the future.

 

Interview: Guillaume Sinopoli

KIBLIND 58 - Fall 20116 - Fight issue - Cover : Bastien Vives

Can you tell us about the origins of Kiblind Magazine?

 

It was born of the magnificent faculty that only youth provides: the courage to try out anything. Originally it was a local magazine, distributed only in the city of Lyon. We were frustrated to see that none of the local media was capable of dealing with the young, the artistic scene, with us. The idea was to go easy on it and to show the magazine to as many people as possible, so we published the most nonsense things in the world. 

 

While the internet was starting to become accessible to everybody and fuelled the ambitions of established journalists, we launched a paper magazine that came out from nowhere and was created by people who never studied journalism or graphic design.

 

 

How do you find the illustrators you work with?

 

Through a lot of different ways. The internet makes the task more easy. We do not hide: Instagram in first place and it friends Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter allow us everyday to discover our next chouchou (darling designer).

 

We also receive a lot of mails from designers who send us their portfolios. We like those applications, because the people make an effort and they generally know us really well. In each issue at least one of the designers we present comes from a speculative application. And last, but not least we visit artist fairs and design festivals to look for unknown authors, innovative collectives and pretty independent magazines and publications.  

KIBLIND 61 - Summer 2017 - Wild issue - Cover : Crushiform

From the beginning the magazine was distributed for free in Lyon and Paris. Why have you decided to make it free?

 

Everything comes from the original ambition: to show unknown talents to as many people as possible. It’s the old dream of cultural democracy we learned about at university and to which we still strangely attached. We thought and still think, that a financial barrier will exclude certain people. Today it’s a sign of a real investment to buy a magazine. If we attached a price to the magazine, we would distance ourselves from part of the public, from all those people who are not interested enough to invest in buying a magazine. But we want to talk to everybody, be accessible to everybody and avoid the niche effect.

 

It’s also possible to feel it in the way we write texts or do the layout. We prefer to make direct contact between the artwork and the reader. Drawing is formidable for that. No matter how complex the technique or the number of references the image is based on, it always allows for first level reading and can seduce anyone immediately. We try to focus on this spontaneous connection between reader and artwork, even if some readers will later on consult other reviews or books todig a little deeper.

 

 

Why have you choosen to engage in visual communication?

 

14 years ago, when we started, we were already interested in visual art, but we were interested in other artistic areas just the same. We were convinced that visual arts and print would be a great match and we had the feeling, that the traditional media has the tendency to forget that. 

 

By the way, at the time we already devoted our covers entirely to a designer’s work, without any text visible, without anything to disturb the visual, exactly like today. 

 

Little by little, through human or artistic exchange, we steered the magazine more towards graphic design and illustration, because in these fields the changes seems the most interesting to us. Thanks to new ways of creation and communication tools, to a new way to teach art in some schools, to a new generation of artists with no fear of reproach and to a public, which is more curious, we were confronted with a boiling artistic scene. So we jumped on it.

KIBLIND 65 - Summer 2018 - Extraterrestre Issue - Cover : Floor van het Nederend

Every new issue is celebrated with a party linked to the respective months’ topic. How was this tradition born?

 

It was meant to simplify everything. We always have difficulties to put ourselves in the shoes of the readers, to know if the reception of the magazine is really the one we were wishing for, if we made ourselves understood. At one moment, we felt that the magazine lacked in consistency. We needed a guide line to link the reports, the infographics and the designers’ works and give the magazine on the whole more consistency. In addition, as a monthly magazine we have a bad frequency of publication, which creates a distance to the news of the moment. But we also couldn’t pretend we weren’t part of this world. So, we decided to chose a current topic for each issue and offer a range of different processes that mix visuals and text. And for the events, we try to stick to the topic to allow every launch to be unique and to not look like the event before, or the event after. From our perspective – it allows us to have fun and to avoid routine. 

 

 

Kiblind, it also an agency and an artist studio. Was that what you had in mind when you started Kiblind?

 

From the beginning, not really. To tell the truth, we didn’t know how far we would go and we never though it would last this long. The agency started when we were at a crossroad: short on sponsors we had to make a decision. Either we stopped, or we professionalized. The number of adverts in the magazine were not enough to cover the printing costs, so we couldn’t raise enough money with the magazine itself. At this moment we got in propositions like »if you know how to do a magazine, you know how to layout a booklet, create flyers, design a website, etc…« That’s  how the agency started.

 

The artist studio is more recent. We had an old dream: we wanted to open a public space that would look just like us. For a long time, neither our time, nor our finances would allow for it. Particularly as finding a central space, cool, big enough and in the neighbourhood was hopeless. And then, a little more than a year ago, an architect who was our neighbour retired and let us a really affordable space, really nice and open to the district. Bingo. Like with the agency, we grabbed at the opportunity. We didn’t know exactly what would happen, but we jumped in. We bought a risograph, we painted the walls white, we printed our first invitations and organised an exhibition at the same time. Voilà, we finally have an atelier-gallery Kiblind.

KIBLIND 61 - Summer 2017 - Wild issue - Cover : Crushiform

What are the links between the magazine, the atelier and the agency?

 

Simply in an administrative way, it’s the same entity, the same company. In a more philosophical way, the artist space and the agency are a bit like children of the magazine. They allow us to try out new things, to meet new people, to be more free than we would be anywhere else. The magazine generously feeds the agency in giving it its own experiments and its open mind. It also feeds the atelier-gallery thanks to the designers with which we mingle. In a more prosaic way, we will not hide this fact, it’s the size of the whole enterprise that financially keeps everything going.

 

 

How do you choose the topics for the magazine?

 

Generally, we sit around a table, and we search for hours until we validate an idea. We have to find the right angle that connects us, and our very different personalities, with the spirit of the times, the artistic inspiration, the efficiency, the possibility to use different sizes of the magazine, the consistent quality of designers/artists we would like to have on the cover, etc… And finally, two weeks after the initial meeting, we realize that our first idea was crap.

 

We still don’t know why we impose that on ourselves.

Since its creation, the magazine hasn’t stopped to evolve (new size, new content, etc…). What will be you next step?

 

Oh, we are up to a lot of things for the magazine. More issues, more pages, more contributors, more sections, a prettier edition with more beautiful paper and a more conscientious layout. And, of course, we would like everybody we like to fill the Stade de France for a big party. 

 

In reality, things happen little by little. Every time we succeed to earn a little more money or get a better offer from the printer, we start some new thing, we put some polish on and add some neon colours to the lower body frame. Little by little, our Renault Clio shines more and more on the parking lot. For next year, we will, for example get a new paper for the cover, alternate between uncoated and glossy in the magazine and change two or three small sections. It’s small steps, we rarely make giant leaps. Our next step is to continue the season 18/19 on the same level than the year before and raise the mark a bit.

 

 

What is the biggest accomplishment of Kiblind media?

 

Clearly, it’s the survival. Stay on course for 14 years, as an independent media, free and from the city of Lyon, we don’t really know how we managed that. We are not smarter than others, but thanks to luck, good things that just felt right and projects that fell on us, we managed to get through. Actually, we can be proud of that.

KIBLIND 58 - Fall 20116 - Fight issue - Cover : Bastien Vives

Since its creation, the magazine hasn’t stopped to evolve (new size, new content, etc…). What will be you next step?

 

Oh, we are up to a lot of things for the magazine. More issues, more pages, more contributors, more sections, a prettier edition with more beautiful paper and a more conscientious layout. And, of course, we would like everybody we like to fill the Stade de France for a big party. In reality, things happen little by little. Every time we succeed to earn a little more money or get a better offer from the printer, we start some new thing, we put some polish on and add some neon colours to the lower body frame. Little by little, our Renault Clio shines more and more on the parking lot. For next year, we will, for example get a new paper for the cover, alternate between uncoated and glossy in the magazine and change two or three small sections. It’s small steps, we rarely make giant leaps. Our next step is to continue the season 18/19 on the same level than the year before and raise the mark a bit.

 

 

 What is the biggest accomplishment of Kiblind media?

 

Clearly, it’s the survival. Stay on course for 14 years, as an independent media, free and from the city of Lyon, we don’t really know how we managed that. We are not smarter than others, but thanks to luck, good things that just felt right and projects that fell on us, we managed to get through. Actually, we can be proud of that.

 

www.kiblind.com

KIBLIND 61 - Release party outside of the gallery