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Four&Sons Magazine

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27th May, 2014
Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 27th May 2014

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Four & Sons Issue 1

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Four & Sons Issue 1

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Four & Sons Issue 1

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Four & Sons Issue 1

Marta-portrait

Marta Roca, creative director of Four & Sons

We've been big fans and keen supporters of Melbourne online publication Four&Sons since they first launched in 2011.  This beautifully presented website describes itself as a space where ‘dogs and culture collide’, and has been an ongoing labour of love forMelbourne graphic designer Marta Roca of Studio Matador.  Four&Sons shares stories and interviews with creative dog lovers the world over, for whom creativity and canine companionship is inseparable.  

After starting life as an exclusively online publication in 2011, Marta first experimented with a printed version of Four&Sons last year, to celebrate the first anniversary of the publication.  The result, at least initially, was a Four&Sons Journal, a beautifully executed free newspaper, which we profiled here.  It was so well received, an ongoing commitment to produce a high quality print publication seemed inevitable... and indeed it was!  This month sees the launch of the latest incarnation of Four&Sons - a beautifully edited 144 page print magazine, filled with stunning photography and thoughtful commentary, to be produced twice yearly!

To realise this ambitious ongoing commitment, Marta has joined forces with Brooklyn, NY based creative Samantha Gurrie, who has joined the team as editor of Four&Sons print magazine!  Together, Marta and Samantha have collaborated with over 20 contributors from across the globe to bring the first print issue of Four&Sons to life.

In their inaugural issue, the Four&Sons magazine pays homage to iconic American photographer Elliott Erwitt, whose well known shots of famous figures such as Marilyn Monroe and Fidel Castro are rivaled only by hundreds more photographs of dogs!  The issue also explores artists whose work is inspired by dogs - this includes Guggenheim Fellow Mark Ruwedel’s photographs of abandoned doghouses in the desert, and Sony Photography Award winner Sophie Gamand’s portraits of sopping-wet dogs, amongst many others.

The Four&Sons magazine is a substantial one at 144 pages, 215mm x 275 mm and is printed in full colour - Marta says that 'half a kilo of four-legged goodness... and it is not a Chihuahua!'  It's priced at AU$20 per issue, and is currently available online here, and at Perimeter Books in Melbourne. All wholesale enquires please contact Perimeter Distribution.

We asked Four&Sons founder and creative director, Marta of Studio Matadorfor a little insight into the development of Four&Sons, from online to print! -

Tell us what's been happening at Four & Sons since the last time we featured you on The Design Files?

Last time, we had just published our newspaper. It was a limited-edition 'souvenir' to celebrate our first year anniversary as online publication, and to say thank you to everyone who had supported us. We had always intended to move to print, and the response was so positive, we felt we had struck a cord. People notice us more and understood better what we are trying to do: we featured beautiful work by artists inspired by their relationship with dogs, and our 'dog as muse' motto started to sink in... The content is really visual (almost tactile): you just want to reach out and touch those mutts!

It would have been a shame not to publish on paper regularly. And so we have spent the last year getting ready to launch the magazine and keep it up with the online content!

Tell us a little bit about the process of transforming your vision for Four & Sons from online to print publication? How have you managed to develop your offering to engage both an online and a print readership?

The first thing we realised is we needed a more 'specialised' team, so to speak. We appointed our editor, Samantha Gurrie (based in Brooklyn, ex-Nylon Magazine, and involved in Gather Journal). Sam is mad about dogs, loves art and culture and it shows! Together we fleshed out the content: which sections we wanted to cover, how to get the right mix of features, who we wanted to approach (writers, photographers, artists...) and we set up to chase it all. It is very important to us that the content should appeal to someone who is not necessarily a 'dog person', it needs to be interesting and culturally relevant. We have been really lucky that people understand the magazine is still a labour of love, and have been really generous with their time, and also trusting us with their work.

We also have the support of Penny Modra and Frunch Nazarri, both from The Good Copy, as all-round advisors. They both understand what we are trying to achieve from a cultural point of view, but also keep us grounded!

The creative process is familiar to all of us, yet the biggest learning curve has been on the publishing/marketing/ business side, understanding how magazine distribution works (we have three different distribution houses covering different markets — Europe/UK, USA/Canada and Australia/NZ... we are still to crack Japan...), making decisions both from the heart and the head (well, still working on this one...), the positioning of the magazine (we are not a pet magazine!), which partners we want to associate with, how to engage the support of dog-lovers around the world...!

What's next for Four & Sons?

Already working on Issue Two! We are hooked! We also want to start focusing on other off-shoots.. exhibitions, collabs, events, publications, ephemera... watch this space!

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Four & Sons Issue 1

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