From a Uni Incubator to Life in Print… the Launch of Aballone

For students at the Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) in the UK, there’s a strong emphasis on life after university; Business ideas are encouraged and supported by a modern office space near campus called the Ideas Factory, designed as an incubator for digital startups.

The ideas that spring up there aren’t always strictly digital in nature, as shown by the launch of print magazine Aballone.

“As the end of university crept upon them, [NUA] students Toby McLaren and Hannah Roadknight began to feel nervous about not having a project to pour their focus on to, so they decided to set themselves a brief and launched their lifestyle magazine, Aballone,” explains this interview on the NUA website.

“Our aim is to create a tranquil escape from a busy world, through the form of print,” the newly minted publishers explain. “Our first issue explores the work of many creatives and features articles such as our own travel experiences.”

With a love for print and editorial design, the two collaborators decided to launch a magazine after graduation with input from Will Tait at the Ideas Factory.

“He talked us through all things business and strategy,” the publishers note. To help fund the project, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance their first print run, and ended up with enough copies leftover after mailing to donors that they were able to sell the rest.

It’s a thoroughly modern approach to the traditional business of print publishing, utilizing crowdsourced funding, finding creatives to collaborate via an online platform, choosing a designer they followed on Instagram, and marketing heavily through social media.

They credit their instructions at NUA with helping guide their own editorial and design instincts, which resulted in a coffee-table worthy print journal.

“Our lecturers are always ready to find even the smallest details to improve on. Consequently this trained our eyes to the point where we could spot a word that was half a point size too small,” they explain.

“We also learned about the importance of time management and working to a deadline. This is essential for when we order print runs and promote our product.”

The two are looking to the future when the Aballone brand could become self-sustaining and their primary source of income. Until then they plan to continue their freelance design services under the Aballone name, and look for new collaborations and partnerships — both very modern ideas of how to build a career in the new economy.

We wish them all the best; the first issue looks gorgeous. Grab a copy for yourself and enjoy this thoroughly modern look at print publishing.