City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

First glimpse of Monocle

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At the end of a personally tumultuous week, in which I left the BBC after five years and started straight away at Monocle as Director of Web and Broadcast, the first issues of the magazine arrived from the printers in the office on Friday evening, to huge excitement. Not the final production quality, but close. And it’s amazing. You might expect me to say this but I think it’s going to utterly delight people. The design and production quality are extraordinary; four different paper stocks across each issue; beautifully crisp layout and typography; stunning photography; and most importantly of all, fascinating articles with an editorial approach to a ‘global briefing’ that you won’t see anywhere else. You will get see all from Thursday 15th, when it hits newsstands globally.

Amidst the other titles on any of those kiosks, it’ll be completely distinctive. There’s nothing quite like it. We’ve had the magazine’s pages pasted up across on our ‘wall of wonder’ at Monocle HQ in Marylebone for a couple of weeks now, but seeing it in the flesh is something else. It’s a bloody book, I tell you.

I’ve had limited influence on the magazine side thus far, having been involved somewhat at a distance over the last few months, but I feel immensely fortunate to have been able to watch the team in action. As I mentioned previously, it’s both thrilling and sobering to see how the creative and industrial process of making a magazine has been honed to streamlined effectiveness, given a few hundred years’ practice. Sobering, as it makes new media seem a clumsy, gauche ingenue in comparison. I’ve been working flat out to ensure that the website on the 15th provides a sense of what’s to follow there too, from the broadcast side. It’s been hugely instructive already. I’ve been focusing more on content creation rather than design and architecture – that will follow – and hope to have a series of interesting, engaging features there on Thursday too. Apologies for the lack of posts here recently, but I’m sure you understand. More later.


15 responses to “First glimpse of Monocle”

  1. adrian Avatar

    Yes – but was there any info on where to get great Argentinian beef or carrot cake in Paris?


  2. Alan Connor Avatar

    When I can’t find Monocle on, is my search futile or merely botched?


  3. Dan Avatar

    Looks like your blog has that kind of thing covered, Adrian! And Alan, not on Amazon at the moment. You’ll be able to subscribe via shortly.


  4. mildlydiverting Avatar

    “Sobering, as it makes new media seem a clumsy, gauche ingenue in comparison.”
    That’s a lovely way of putting it. I’ve been wondering if this is a problem in… the old place, and why New Media and telly just can’t seem to get themselves ‘alligned’. One is professional, thrives on specialisation and well-recognised process, and has 70 odd years of experience to inform its decisions. The other is a young upstart with no idea that itis re-inventing the wheel, and a bit of a chip on it’s shoulder. It must be like trying to work with a bunch of sulky teenagers.
    Anyway, greatly looking forward to the mag. Does the print smell nice? That’s always the icing on the cake…


  5. marty Avatar

    I have to say I’m looking forward to seeing issue 1 of Monocle on Thursday with almost child-like enthusiasm. There is something about print publishing that online media cannot match – perhaps it’s the way the light catches the images, the sheen of the paper, the opulence of white space. To send a magazine to press is an act of faith and commitment that new media , with it’s endless mutability, lacks.
    I loved Wallpaper until I realised one day that I was never going to be able to afford any of the stuff advertised in it, and was never going to be able, or even wanted, to holiday at a boutique holiday in the Maldives, go skiiing in Aspen, or jet around the world first class. Hopefully Monocle will still be aspirational but not quite so superficial or materialistic.
    One day a magazine will come along with some combination of design sensibilities of the first 3 issues of Mark magazine (the redesign is a disaster), with the content of Wired in the early days before it went too mainstream and starting running too many articles about stocks and shares, and adverts for cars and cigarettes.
    I doubt that Monocle will be that magazine, but I live in hope, and maybe there will be enough in it to keep me interested.
    Best of luck with it – I look forward to seeing the website too.


  6. John C Avatar

    Looking forward to seeing this although I already buy enough mags and other reading material per month as it is.
    Re: the website. Is black now the new white?


  7. adrian Avatar

    That was a bit tongue in cheek, as Tyler might have put in some Paris resto intell I gave him … we’ll see..


  8. adrian Avatar

    When’s the webcontent coming on line? It’s said “later today” for the last couple days…


  9. Dan Avatar

    Any second now!


  10. Neil Avatar

    I can’t find it anywhere in Paris… oh well, I’ll try again this afternoon in WH Smiths. The website looks great.


  11. adrian Avatar

    Neil, it’ll be in stock at WH Smiths on Feb. 20th – I’ve already reserved a copy for myself, I suggest you do the same!


  12. Neil Avatar

    Thanks Adrian, I just called Smiths again before I read your comment. I’ll call to reserve a copy later.


  13. Dan C Avatar

    I have a copy, and really like it. Having grown out of all the magazines that I used to love (Viz, Loaded), or had them close down (Neon, Eat Soup), or get really samey (The Word, Wallpaper), I’m actually looking forward to the next issue.
    My main concern is that on deeper reading it will turn out to be really right wing, like the Economist.


  14. Brad Thompson Avatar

    Is it being distributed in the US yet? I can’t find it in San Francisco…


  15. Dan Hill Avatar

    Hey Brad, it should be in the US now. In San Francisco, it should be at:


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