Background: “Serviette is a magazine about food but not just about the food we eat. It’s about the themes, ideas, conversations and connectivity around the cycle of our food: the language, culture, and transformative possibilities of the future of our food; the journey it takes from seed to stomach; and the people who helped it along its way,” says Max Meighen. “Serviette’s target audience is young professionals in urban centers across Canada, Europe and the United States—those who care about where their food comes from and how it connects to the world around them.
“I wanted to create a magazine clearly informed by perspectives of various professionals who are experts in their field, but not written in such a way as to be inaccessible,” Meighen continues. “Serviette is as much a gastronomic magazine as an arts and culture publication.”
Favorite details: “It is especially rewarding to have been able to publish a print publication during a pandemic with contributors across the globe,” says Ortiz. “We worked with the design team at Toronto-based creative agency Concrete, who is responsible for the brand identity, to develop a magazine that was not only distinct but memorable, eye-catching and unlike any other food publication we’ve seen in Canada—or anywhere. Each page was almost like designing a magazine within a magazine. Each feature has its own personality because of the striking colors, unique typefaces, and precise guidelines.”
Visual influences: “During our collaboration with Concrete, we determined that Serviette’s visual style should be authentic and earnest,” says Chuck Ortiz. “We wanted to create imagery that portrayed subject matter in a way that felt realistic and not overly stylized. Additionally, illustrations formed a big part of the visual identity and language of Serviette. These illustrations help enrich the publication and provide an opportunity to visualize concepts that cannot easily be expressed by photography.”
Time constraints: “As a result of the pandemic, we faced several scheduling conflicts and delays in our production schedule,” says Ortiz. “Also, we finished up the first issue just before the holiday season, so we knew we would go into the new year with a finished magazine. But we had no idea what the world of printing, shipping and distribution would be like.”
Specific project demands: “Having almost a clear palette to work with as a creative studio can sometimes make it difficult to narrow down one core idea,” Ortiz says. “It’s a dream to have an incredible amount of freedom, but you have to work extra hard to define what the end product should look like.”