Boat Magazine

“We got a few blank stares when we told people we were picking up our 8-month-old studio and moving it to Sarajevo for a month to make a magazine.

“We suspected there were a few reasons for the confusion; magazines seem to be a dying art form, moving a brand new business in the middle of a recession is ludicrous, and Sarajevo? Where is Sarajevo?


(It’s here, by the way.)

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

“As writers, designers, incessant travelers and lovers of magazines, the in-the-flesh-paper-between-my-fingers-smell-of-ink-in-my-nose type magazines, we couldn’t think of a better project for our brand new business to take on.

“Boat Studio is a deliberately small creative studio in the heart of London. We work hard for clients we love year-round. But in the slow months, we need a different challenge to tackle. Like, how can we get people to take notice of amazing but forgotten cities around the world, like Sarajevo? How can we help update people’s views of these places when the only information out there is dated and tied to past events?

“Our answer to this quandary is what you’re holding in your hand right now. We pulled together the most talented people we know; writers, photographers, illustrators, musicians… gave them a blank canvas, and set them loose on the streets of Sarajevo.

“We had one goal — to tell a new story.”

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

“Since the war in the Balkans ended in 1996, the media left and haven’t returned, leaving the images and ideas we have in our heads of Sarajevo dated, war-torn, and depressing. We hope this little publication will inspire you and help you create or update your ideas and images of Sarajevo.

“It’s a beautiful place with big stories to tell.

“We hope we did it justice.”

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

Erin Spens: Do you have hope for Sarajevo?
Ziyah Gafic: You know, the locals are very pessimistic about our circumstances, but I’ve traveled quite a lot and when I look at where we are, I think we’re doing okay. 15 years after WWII we were still on food rations. Now 15 years after the recent war we don’t need a visa to travel around Europe, we’ve got internet as fast as anyone else, we have freedom of press which is amazing, we have free education and health care. The locals’ only reference to how we’re doing is how much money they have in their pockets, which is fair enough. But when I compare us to Beirut, Kabul, even London and New York, we’re doing really well for a ‘war torn country’.

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

Boat Magazine

Edited by Erin Spens
Designed/art directed by Luke Tonge
Translations by Milica Vuković & Neno Novaković
Printed by Cambrian Printers (a few UK printer recommendations here)
Published biannually by Boat Studio Ltd
Boat Magazine on Twitter

I love insights of life in other parts of the world. This magazine gives just that.

Beautifully done.

# #

June 17, 2011


Hey David, thanks so much for the feature and I’m stoked you enjoyed issue one! It was refreshing and humbling to be designing with such incredible content and framing stories from such an interesting place. We can’t wait to start work on issue two (and put into action all we’ve learned through the process of issue one) – no doubt Davey will drop you a copy around Christmas time. All the best, Luke.

Hi David,
Evolution has forced us Designers to not only consider designing for the Web but to look for business on the Web as well. Obviously it’s a media that you seem to handle very well like so many others do.

Unfortunately as for myself I love print to the point that I hate the Web when it comes to designing websites… is it because I don’t design Websites? Most probably so…. and do I care? No. Can potential clients care ? Definitely.

This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate (or don’t envy) all the talent out there on the WWW. The fact that I refer to your site and those of other Designers I respect convinces me that accessibility is a beautiful thing and very enriching… and yes inspiring.

Really all what I wanted to say was that it’s cool for you to show that all elements and media of design
matters and that there’s not only logos in the design world even though we both know they are King.
I hope print never dies.



I’m not 30 yrs. old yet and I still love print material. I really don’t care about the kindles and nooks so much. The ipad is neat I have to say its fun to use. You can have a library of books in your pocket now a days which is great for travel. How many books do you really want to pack in your suitcase?

But I still think that print has its place. When you give a client an identity package folder full of your fine printed materials, there is just something special about it. Seeing your identity on the printed page for me makes it more tangible.

To me its like web art and using a canvas. I think both have great value. They both have a place in today’s world. Neither will die.

Finally I believe that anyone operating a business or that wants to be known for whatever needs to have a website of some sort. No choice. No option.

Thank you for sharing this.
The creatives who made the magazine, must have beautiful minds!

A thought on media.
Today I read your tweet, followed the link to your blog, looked at photo’s and paged through an interesting magazine, read thoughts of others on internet and learned more about the situation in a foreign country. Oh, and I will be sharing this with others, probably through different media.

When a medium enables the sharing of ideas, knowledge, shouldn’t that be enough reason for it to exist? And also, doesn’t the diversity of people make the variation of media necessary?

Thanks for this post. I studied to be a graphic designer/illustrator but now working as a web designer and dreaming of the day when people go offline. I love printed books and magazines; it’s a shame they are dying out. There will probably be a massive decline in print not only because of ipads and internet etc but due to the economical climate: people simply stopped buying even newspapers.
Nonetheless, I’m still hoping to find a job as a graphic designer.

I was in Sarajevo with NATO back in my working days :) Now I just relax behind a computer screen. Lovely photos. I wish I could find my old photo albums, but alas they are printed and hidden away in a box somewhere.

Thank you so much for sharing this. I am excited to see designers doing something that is socially forward and brings attention back to something that should not be forgotten!
It is cool to see design giving even more focus and punch to such an important issue.
I loved Marieke’s comment that diversity should make variation necessary. While websites and social media continue to grow and take over certain markets, there should always be room for all types of media, including printed materials. Otherwise, you will inevitably alienate a group of people.

What I’m loving about this is the small logo and barcode area, which makes more room for a beautiful cover image.

Wonderful matte paper too, I’m loving that, and also the typography. Is that Plantin Italic on boat-magazine-20.jpg?

Hi Louis,

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I’m pleased you mentioned the masthead as that underwent quite a few rounds of development to pair it back so it doesn’t interfere with the content/cover shot.

Its actually Adobe Caslon you referred to… and yes, we do post to Australia! Keep your eyes peeled for issue 2…Detroit.

@Luke, I think the work has paid off, I imagine it’d stand out well amongst the other magazines. I’ve always wanted to publish a free streetmag that uses at least 95% of the cover for the cover image.

Adobe Caslon, I’ll look into that.

Will do. I’m the kind of person who’ll buy a well designed magazine for the design, not always the content, but both are interesting in this case.

Great work, Luke, and thanks David for sharing this.

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