Celebrating All Things Creativity And Print With Four&Sons
Melbourne based print and online publication Four&Sons chronicles the work of creative people and their fascinating dogs. The magazine is a 'guided tour' through the world of art, photography, music, and literature — as inspired by man’s best friend. We first came across Four&Sons back in 2014 and instantly fell in love with the publication's interesting and inspiring content.
We recently spoke with Marta Roca, a Melbourne based graphic designer and the creative director of Four&Sons about her journey with the magazine, her passions and inspirations.
Could you tell us a little about your background and the story behind Four&Sons? When was the magazine first launched and what inspired you to start the publication?
I am a graphic designer ‘by day’ and a publisher/creative director ‘by night’. After studying in my hometown of Barcelona, I moved to London to specialise in typography. I cut my teeth working in great studios in London and Melbourne, where I moved, hoping to slowly find my way into editorial design. After a decade, I ended up founding Four Publishing to work on self-generated projects.
Where did your passion for print ignite?
My dad was an avid reader. He handed his love for books down to me like a precious gift. (Full disclosure, the only reason my sister and I were allowed to be late for Sunday's lunch is if we were finishing a chapter.) As an introverted child, I was obsessed with books and magazines. I later became a graphic designer so I could work on editorial projects. I did also consider being a writer or running a bookstore, so I could touch books and smell the ink all day long.
What has been your biggest inspiration throughout your journey?
Passion. I really get a kick talking to people who do what they love; it doesn’t really matter in which field. It pays off to feel a bit like a dog with a bone. Pun totally intended.
What is your favourite part of the process when producing each issue?
The storytelling that unfolds during the design stage. Something as ‘simple’ as rearranging the order of the features impacts hugely on the way people experience the content. Although we don’t theme the issues, oddly, each one ends up shaped into a particular ‘guided tour’. The mag has a life of its own, so to speak. I really enjoy that mix of consciously designing and letting go, when everything falls into place.
If you could share any tips or advice for anyone starting a print publication, what would it be?
Trust your gut instinct and stick to your guns, meanwhile still be flexible and open-minded. Build a solid team and nurture them (from the contributors to the printers). Don’t try to do it all yourself!
What qualities do you search for in the creatives, illustrators and photographers that contribute to each issue?
Talent aside, it does circle back to passion. When someone enjoys their work and is prepared to go the extra mile, it really shows. Being a labour of love, we try to give all creatives as much freedom as possible. Finding the right fit is essential.
Are there any print or publishing projects that have inspired the design and content of the magazine?
The work of indie publishers on ‘niche’ content always spurs me on. In my twenties I use to literally count the days until a magazine I love would come out, like waiting for the release of your favourite band's new album. I am still chasing that high from plenty of magazines, from Apartamento to The Gourmand, from Inventory and The Gentlewoman to Acne Paper or The Paris Review, among many, many others. Designers co-sharing the editor’s role seem to be paying off for many magazines. Any publication by Folch Studio is always stunning in its thinking and execution.
Could you give us a little insight into what the recently released ninth issue contains?
In our spring issue, there’s much to be in high spirits about. We go behind the scenes of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, a movie fuelled by dopamine, alpha dogs, and a vast crew of artisans and animators. We hang with a pack of trippy-looking poodles created by artist Susumu Kamijo. We find five mutts who changed history by injecting their human counterparts with a good dose of serotonin.
There is plenty of oxytocin going around, too. We celebrate Sulek’s photography of rescued Spanish galgos, Jo Longshurst’s abstract twist on pet portraiture, and Ho Hai Tran’s love of stripes and spots. We travel to Berlin, Toronto, London, and upstate New York to meet creative types whose bonds with their four-legged mates are as heartfelt as they are intoxicating. We ask five foodies to fess up about dog snacks and guilty pleasures that feed body and soul, and we embrace illustrator Apolline Muet’s bear hugs between humans and animals.
To take a peak at the new issue or to browse our collection of Four&Sons available back issues visit our Four&Sons collection page here
If you're enjoying our posts you can sign up to our weekly newsletter below to receive our latest news.