An insight into the world of independent magazine publishing
Across all areas of study here at Plymouth College of Art, our students enjoy a rich programme of visiting lecturers. Professionals from every niche of the creative industries are invited to give talks and lectures, and students get a special opportunity to get an insight into the career path that each lecturer has carved for themselves, as well as getting insider tips and advice on how they could succeed in their chosen sector.
Our BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing students recently welcomed writer, editor and creative director Elisabeth Krohn to the college. Specialising in fashion and culture, witchcraft and social media, Elisabeth founded the award winning Sabat Magazine in 2016, and is also co-founder and managing director at Dreadful Press and editorial advisor for Suspira Magazine, as well as previously being a fashion writer for Glass Magazine.
Fusing witchcraft and feminism, ancient archetypes and instant art, Sabat Magazine was shortlisted for the Stack Magazine of the Year Award in 2016 and 2017, commended in the category Art Director of the Year 2017, and took home a Pencil in the Independent Magazine category at the D&AD Awards 2017. The Crone Issue won a Silver Prize at The European Design Awards 2018 in the Publications category.
Third year BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing student Georgia Gadsby interviewed Elisabeth after her lecture at the college. Read on to find out more...
From witchcraft to feminism, to monsters and fetishes, Elisabeth Krohn has had her fair share of dark and niche topics to cover in the world of independent publishing. Beginning her career as Editor-in-Chief of self published witchcraft magazine Sabat, to taking on the role of Editorial Advisor for feminist horror publication Suspira Magazine, Elisabeth had a lot of experience to share with the students of Plymouth College of Art during her visit.
Elisabeth detailed her career from the very beginning, explaining how Sabat Magazine was originally a zine project for her MA in Fashion Journalism. She spoke about how much development and collaboration was needed before the creation of the first published issue of the magazine, resonating with our students who know all too well the process of creation and re-creation within creative practices. She evidenced the journey from zine, with inspiration from early 90s underground feminist punk movement Riot Grrrl and American punk rock band Bikini Kill, to successful publication with contributors and readers from all over the globe.
Topics such as developing a concept, sourcing contributors, dealing with constructive criticism and funding were all covered throughout Elisabeth’s talk, allowing students to see the real amount of time and dedication needed to create a magazine.
Explaining how collaboration was key for the publication of Sabat, she detailed the immense amount of effort that went into the graphic design aspects of the publication; a field she had little to no experience in. Elisabeth worked closely with a graphic designer, and after publication Sabat became a magazine known widely for its tactile elements including varnished logos, textured paper, gradients on top of transparencies, and various other techniques. Delving into the importance of these elements enabled students to take in the need for uniqueness and character in the oversaturated publishing market.
When asked if she ever had an inkling of how successful Sabat Magazine would become, Elisabeth shared her original thoughts of being worried that no one would buy it. She revealed her concern that the magazine would only sell five copies, expressing that she really had no idea it would become this big and gain such a huge audience.
She realised the magazine’s success when she saw a copy being re-sold on Ebay, a simple thing yet a huge milestone for an independent publication. Highlighting the importance of PR, Elisabeth spoke about a piece of press the magazine received in Dazed online, entitled ‘How to Embrace Your Inner Witch’, which kick started a wave of sales and raised the profile of the magazine.
Since the Sabat trilogy came to an end, Elisabeth has taken on the role of Editorial Advisor for Suspira Magazine. Suspira “reimagines classic horror elements and moves them into an editorial sophisticated feminine lens.” A magazine focused on the feminine macabre, the topic does not stray too far from the dark genres Elisabeth has a keen eye for.
One thing that has changed, however, is her job role. Explaining that taking a break and moving from a creative role into a more administrative one to take time to revive creativity is key, she describes how Sabat was solely a “passion project”, with Suspira being more business focused. For the students, being able to see Elisabeth’s development from one role started at university into another role completely removed from education allowed them to discover the various positions available in independent publishing.
Finishing off her talk, the witchcraft and editorial expert left us inspired with the comment, “I think weird ideas are a great place to start... informed weird ideas.”
- Interested in studying on BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing? Find out more about what the degree entails here.
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