The Papersmith Series — Elliot and Samantha Stocks

The Papersmith Series — Elliot and Samantha Stocks

As Issue 8 begins its journey into shops, bookshelves, and people’s eagerly awaiting hands, how would you describe the Lagom journey so far?

[ELLIOT] It's been great, but, like most things, has its ups and downs. I think it took us until about #6 to really find out feet and to work out what it was we were doing — and doing differently from other folks. That's why we did a sort of soft relaunch for that issue. But now, with #8, we feel like this is actually the best issue yet — the most accurate representation of everything we're trying to do with the magazine. And people seem to be responding favourably, which is nice, so we're feeling pretty good about things at the moment.

[SAM] There have been a lot of learning curves along the way, in just about every area you can think of, and we’re definitely still learning. But we’ve always enjoyed what we’re doing, even during the down points! And we still do, and I think that’s the most important thing.


Do you have a favourite feature from this issue?

[SAM] I really enjoying learning about the experiences of others who have started out on their own, finding out their motivations and what they’ve learned on their journeys. So from this issue I particularly enjoy potter Jono Smart’s piece, which is very honest and open, discussing pottery’s therapeutic benefits.


What are the biggest challenges you face in the creation of a magazine?

[ELLIOT] All the behind-the-scenes stuff can be the toughest part, and it's the least sexy part, too, so it naturally gets overlooked when you decide to start a magazine. Dealing with the logistical side of things, customer support, maintaining an online presence, and liaising with advertising partners is really the bulk of the work, in all honesty. The designing, the writing, the editing... that's the easy part!

[SAM] Finding the time! Neither of us are able at the moment to give the magazine quite the time it deserves. I work part-time, taking care of our three-year-old and three-month-old daughters. They are far more challenging than running a magazine, so when I get to work on the mag, it almost feels like my time to relax!

Lagom isn’t your first foray into print. 8 Faces is a previous creation, yet your background is largely in web design. We’re interested to find out more about your relationship between print and digital, and how one can evidently be beneficial to the other rather than sit in complete opposition...

[ELLIOT] The creation of 8 Faces was almost entirely a reaction to web design. I was tired of seeing my work disappear into the ether and wanted something I could hold in my hands, and so I made 8 Faces. I'd done very little print work at that point, and even had pretty limited typographic knowledge then, too, so I did a lot of learning on the job in a very short period of time. But as 8 Faces grew, I realise how much I enjoyed not only print, but also the whole editorial thing. And yes, although I moaned about the non-sexy, logistical stuff above, I do actually kind of enjoy being in a role that brings together all of these disparate components, and disciplines, and people, into one product.

From coffee to typography to music, what are some of your other current side projects?

[ELLIOT] That's not enough? ;)  Music is the side project I'm very heavily invested in at the moment. Hopefully I have another record, or perhaps two, coming out in autumn. But also Sam and I are parents to our two young girls — 3 years old and 3 months old, respectively —  so they're our biggest project by far!

[SAM] I try to find the time to indulge my creative side. At the moment it’s working on a long-running little project of writing and illustrating a short kid’s book, using water colours.

Do you have any go-to tools or stationery that you use to create or organise?

[ELLIOT] Most of my organising is done digitally, and I'm a bit fan of the to-do list app Things. That, and a fairly through method of planning my day, is pretty much how I keep on top of things.

[SAM] I’m somewhat of a reluctant adopter of technology! I far prefer a simple pen and paper to plan out my week. I’m a fan of lists. Any old pen and paper will do.

Tell us something about you as a designer that would surprise our readers?

[ELLIOT] I read very few magazines.

For our Lagom lovers, what further reading (or listening) would you recommend?

[SAM]  We’ve long enjoyed music from This Is The Kit, and in issue 7 we were lucky enough to go to Paris to meet and interview Kate Stables. We love her album Moonshine Freeze, which has become one of our go-to albums.

And finally, what are your favourite things to do to switch off?

[ELLIOT] As parents of young children, it's pretty hard to switch off! But we're generally pretty good about getting away from screens a lot of the time, and as a family we're always spending time outdoors, with at least two dog walks a day.

[SAM] As i’ve got mid-way to my 30s, I suddenly find myself into gardening! I love wildlife, so my garden project is to make our garden more wildlife friendly - a bat box is the next addition. And of course, walks in the countryside, especially by the Chew River, for me is the best way to switch off.

Follow Elliot and Samantha on Instagram.

Photo credit: Elliot Stocks. 

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