Beautifully Designed Eight by Eight Engages a Global Audience
This interview is a part of a larger feature documenting some of the most exciting magazine launches and relaunches of the past two years. Click here to view more interviews with publishers of newly launched or relaunched titles.
If you've cracked open a copy of Esquire, Forbes Life, or O, The Oprah Magazine at any point over the past few years, you're probably familiar with the work of Priest & Grace, a blue-chip Manhattan design firm. Indeed, for the past five years partners Robert Priest and Grace Lee have been responsible for overhauling the visual look of many of the publishing industry's most recognized print magazines.
One mountain the design duo had always hoped to scale, however, involved creating a publication of their very own. That dream first came to light with the launch of Howler, a well-received soccer magazine that owes its visual concept to Priest and Lee's creative direction. But after collaborating on just two issues, a falling out with Howler's co-founders once again left Priest and Lee without a title to call their own. Soon after, the idea for Eight by Eight was born.
Named after the dimensions of a regulation soccer goal, Eight by Eight is a lavishly produced magazine marked by its exceptionally well-executed design and illustrations. And although the growing popularity of soccer among U.S. audiences certainly hasn't hurt the book's slow-but-steady growth, Priest, Lee, and marketing director Cooper Lemon point out that because Eight by Eight is intended for a global audience, social media efforts and the creation of free online content have become crucial to its continued success.
What inspired you to launch a soccer magazine?
Robert Priest: We wanted to do something for ourselves -- something we could get behind with a sense of passion. And I happen to be somebody who's really passionate and crazy about football. So that was the basic thrust of it: the passion, and the understanding that it's an incredibly popular game that's underserved by magazines. The idea was to create a very, very visual magazine. But the surprise, essentially, would be the quality of the writing.
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Dan Eldridge is a journalist and guidebook author based in Philadelphia's historic Old City district, where he and his partner own and operate Kaya Aerial Yoga, the city's only aerial yoga studio. A longtime cultural reporter, Eldridge also writes about small business and entrepreneurship, travel, and the publishing industry. Follow him on Twitter at @YoungPioneers.