I talk with the people behind Bold Journal and Rucksack 

An indie mag newsletter by Dan Rowden

Issue 11 — May 12, 2018


I'm now in Finland, currently at my wife's family's summer cottage. Having lived in Finland for about 5 years in total, I can say that coming out to the countryside during the looooong summer days has to be in my top 3 things about Finland. We're right by the lake, eating simple country meals in a house with no running water. The kids are happy exploring the outdoors and I brought some magazines along for the relaxing weekend afternoons. Beautiful.

Last week I launched the Totes Love Magazines website, and opened pre-orders 💪 (see below for more info)

It's World Cup week! Woot. Look out for a football-focussed Coverage next time.

For this edition, I've got some in depth interviews with two very different magazines, Rucksack and Bold Journal. I also asked Totes Love Magazines designers, Luke Tonge and Laurène Boglio which magazines they'd fill their tote bags with.

What magazines are you currently reading? Let me know in a reply.

See you again soon! ⚽️


Totes Love Magazines

Tote bags for mag lovers

Pre-orders for my new mag bag project Totes Love Magazines are now open and you can get 20% off if you buy one of the first 50 bags!

If you haven't heard before, Totes Love Magazines is my first micro brand for magazine readers, producing limited edition bags designed by magazine makers ❤️

Beautiful designs by the amazing Luke Tonge and Laurène Boglio adorn the first two bags, available now for £12.

Go to toteslovemagazines.com and pick yourself up a bag before they're gone forever.


Luke Tonge and Laurène Boglio fill their tote bags with mags

Laurène (Little White Lies) and Luke (The Monotype Recorder) are the two designers for this Summer 2018 collection for Totes Love Magazines.

I asked them which magazines they would fill their bags with when they next took them shopping...

Laurène Boglio
Art director at Little White Lies, illustrator

Toiletpaper  •  Anxy  •  Huck


Luke Tonge
Art director at Monotype Recorder, graphic designer

Eye  •  Baseline  •  The New York Times Magazine


Bold Journal

A magazine helping to change the role of fathers in South Korea

As a father, I really enjoy the fact that people are making magazines about this specific role in society. Do you remember Kindling Quarterly from a few years ago? How about the Polish Fathers, now on its 6th issue?

Bold Journal is a magazine from South Korea looking at this topic with a different cultural perspective, which makes it very interesting for a European dad like me.

I talked recently with Tae jung Kim, editor of Bold about recent shifts in Korean fatherhood, the magazine's role in society and its international goals.

Dan R: Can you explain the current father scene in South Korea? What is it like being a modern day father?

TJK: Like some other Asian countries, Korea is generally a Confucius patriarchal society. In exchange for providing for the family, Korean fathers had all the authority and were in charge of the household. That authority was handed down for generations and it became natural for men to be respected. However, in the recent 20-30 years, Korean society has been changing rapidly. As more and more women join the workforce, the traditional role of father and mother is being challenged.

The debate over women’s rights and equality has started to heat up. Korean men in their 30’s and 40’s are the ones that are most affected by this change. They grew up seeing their fathers being respected and receiving full autonomy from child-raising in return of providing for the family, but they now are faced with a society that says they are no longer leaders, but members. So it is natural for them to be struggling while looking for answers about how to balance life and work, and their roles as fathers.

Bold Journal defines ‘modern fathers’ as fathers who are breaking out of the traditional father role, and are trying to live a family-focused life. These fathers are more focused on the ‘happiness of their families’ than ‘being successful’. They are fathers who are not shaken by the standards of this performance-driven society, but fathers who are trying to balance work and life by living an independent life.

Bold Journal sets themes that resonate with these kinds of fathers, and by exploring various lifestyles, strive to be a guide for all fathers who want to live a balanced life.

DR: The magazine is bi-lingual. Are you hoping to reach an international audience with each issue?

TJK: Even before our first issue, we had global readers in mind. We thought that families from fast-growing Asian countries or Asian cultured families living in the western world would also have the same issues as we have in Korea and that it would ultimately lead to market growth. We are slowly being recognized globally. We were introduced in the Monocle Seoul guide and you can currently find Bold Journal in bookstores in Taiwan, England, and the USA, and more recently, Japan, Malaysia, and European countries have been reaching out to us.

Bold Journal sets a topic for each issue that modern fathers would be interested in, and it is exciting that global readers also are interested in these topics. All the attention makes it worthwhile making this magazine.

Dan R: What’s the magazine’s main goal with respect to fatherhood?

TJK: It’s hard to find a magazine that thinks deeply about the life of fathers, not only in Korea but globally. Most men’s magazines talk about fashion, politics or hobbies. Fathers have no place to stand. The goal of Bold Journal is to provide practical information that will benefit fathers who are trying to live a work/life balanced life. The meaning behind ‘bold’ from Bold Journal is ‘boldness’. We believe that breaking free from the socially ingrained idea of success, and choosing to live an alternate, unique life requires extreme boldness. Bold Journal aims to equip these bold fathers with quality information to enable them to have better experiences in life.



No limits, no boundaries. A chat with Rucksack.

Rucksack is a magazine I can't seem to put down at the moment. It's one of those. Founded by editor Laura Pendlebury and creative director Mirko Nicholson, Rucksack is a beautifully put together magazine: the second issue looked at journeys, with amazing photography and wanderlust-inducing travel writing from around the world.

I wanted to find out more about the mag's origins and how Laura and Mirko have used social media to grow the magazine (that's where I first stumbled across Rucksack last year).

Dan R: Rucksack started as an online journal before you created its print counterpart. How was it, making this addition, and how do you now balance the two content channels?

Laura P and Mirko N: The online journal began as a way for us to celebrate and share all the beautiful images and stories we began receiving as it grew in popularity. We always had the idea of a printed magazine at the back of our minds, so the progression from online to print seemed like a natural move in the end. Developing the first printed magazine wasn’t too dissimilar from the work we were creating to publish online, it was just on a bigger scale and with less room for error.

Having the online journal already established meant we had already spoken to lots of talented photographers and writers before beginning to put the magazine together, so it actually made the initial process much easier. Balancing the two content channels only becomes a bit trickier when we are putting the final touches to the printed magazine, which happens twice a year. The rest of the time having the online journal works as a perfect supplement to the content we produce for the magazine, and we use it as a great source of inspiration for potential future titles.

DR: What are your backgrounds, and how do they work well when publish a magazine together?

LP & MN: We both work in full-time careers in completely different industries to magazine publishing. The magazine is definitely a creative outlet for both of us; a chance to design and make something from scratch completely by ourselves. We definitely have very different skill sets, which seem to compliment each other pretty well when putting the magazine together. One of us will focus more on the written content and stories we use, whereas the other will be much more involved in the design and final layout of the magazine. It is pretty lucky that we both enjoy the different areas so much, as it splits the job in half and means we are so much more time-effective.

DR: It was interesting watching the magazine being released after you already had a decent online following. How do you see social media affecting your brand, reach and ultimately sales?

LP & MN: Social media—Instagram especially—has helped us hugely with selling the magazine online. It was brilliant to have secured the attention of such a creative and innovative community as it gave us confidence that the magazine would be something people might actually buy for themselves.

I think the beauty of social media lies in its ability to reach so many people across the world, no matter where they are. You can get an almost instant response to something you have worked so hard to create and it is great to be able to interact with our readers so easily.

We also use Instagram as a constant source of inspiration for the way we want our own images to look, and it helps us decide the kind of design and edits we prefer. It has been an amazing way to connect with people; photographers, writers, readers and brands.

DR: The first two issues focussed on Winter and Journey. You’ve described the Rucksack as having "no limits, no boundaries”; what’s next?

LP & MN: We never want the theme of each magazine to become limiting; it needs to have scope for depth and exploration so that each page reveals a new take on the same topic. We try and use themes which help explore ideas rather than a specific place or location. We find this tends to take away any limits or boundaries and opens up the potential content we can use much more.

With the theme of ‘Winter’, it was a case of us becoming tired of the wet, dark and cold London weather. We wanted to explore the beauty of the season to help us get rid of the negativity that can often become attached to it. It was a similar idea for ‘Journeys’; travelling somewhere is often the part of the trip people enjoy the least, so we wanted to explore the lost excitement that can be found from it.

We try and remain pretty flexible with our choice of theme, and don’t tend to make a final decision on our focus until quite late. We don’t want to plan for or map out too many ideas ahead of creating the next magazine as you never know who you are going to work with or what you are going to experience.

Volume 3 will be ‘The Island Issue’, which was initially inspired by our trip to the Faroe Islands earlier this year, but our focus throughout the issue will cover a variety of places and ideas as well. We are still unsure of the exact direction of the magazine itself, and I think it is this which ensures it has no boundaries or limits. We have not set expectations or targets so we are able to move with its gradual evolution and growth with great flexibility.


10% off Rucksack magazine

A magazine discount just for Coverage readers

Laura and Mirko from Rucksack are offering Coverage readers 10% off their second issue.

Use the code JOURNEY10 at rucksackmag.com

The code is only valid until the end of Thursday 14th June!


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