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Talking NTS’s New Quarterly Magazine with Editor Elizabeth Price
Talking NTS’s New Quarterly Magazine with Editor Elizabeth Price
Feature
June 18, 2024

Talking NTS’s New Quarterly Magazine with Editor Elizabeth Price

There’s a new quarterly magazine in town. We sat down with Never Too Small Magazine Editor Elizabeth Price to talk about the joys of print in a digital era.

There’s a new magazine in town. We sat down with Never Too Small Magazine Editor Elizabeth Price to talk about joys of print in a digital era and what to expect in the first quarterly issue.

Kate Kolberg
Writing:
Writing:
Kate Kolberg
Photography:
Photography:
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The Joys of Print in a Digital Era: An Interview with Elizabeth Price

Attribute it to “digital fatigue” or a nostalgia for a slower time, but print magazines are making a comeback. Magazines fill that niche between the rapidity of the internet and the fixity of books; they offer an opportunity to deliberate on current trends and chronicle them into a more official – and tactile – narrative. With the new quarterly publication Never Too Small Magazine, editor Elizabeth Price plans to do just that for the world of small space living, putting a spotlight on the people and ideas that are fueling the future of our cities through sustainable and experimental design.

It’s 2024, and Never Too Small – which originated as a YouTube channel – has made the decision to venture into the world of print magazines. What brought this on? Why did you feel it was the right time?

A print magazine is something we’ve been talking about within our team for a long time. In the last few years it’s been exciting to expand Never Too Small and what we have to say beyond our regular, tightly formatted YouTube episodes with our books, limited documentary series and digital guides, but we still have more to share. While we will always be interested in and focused on small footprint design we’re also extremely interested in the broader themes that intersect with it such as small footprint living, sustainable and experimental design, urban living and culture, and the future of our cities. 

Truly the best part of what we do at Never Too Small is meeting all the extraordinary and creative people our work gives us access to and the fascinating and inspiring conversations that come out of those meetings. We feel that a quarterly print magazine can be a thoughtfully curated and regular way to share these kinds of ideas and stories with our audience. 

We also noticed some gaps in the market as well – specifically an English language magazine curated for curious and conscious, design-loving city dwellers, packed with ideas and inspiration for small footprint living. We also felt there was another gap to fill in how architecture and design are presented and discussed in print media. We wanted to create something for a design-curious – but not necessarily design literate – audience. Since our beginnings, we’ve been passionate about democratising design in different ways and the magazine will very much be a part of that.                  

I’ve seen a steady trickle of stories over the past several months declaring that print magazines are making a comeback, many of which citing “digital fatigue” as a root cause. This makes total sense to me, as someone who has never veered from their identity as a “print person”. I wonder, does this ring true for you as well? What’s your view and experience of the current media landscape? 

Yes, I’ve been happy to read some of those stories too. Niche print magazines really do seem to be having a moment (though let’s hope it’s more than a moment!). I think that’s got a lot to do with the fact that we have access to so much content in so many places that we’ve become conditioned to a reality where we can have our niche interests served. But more than that, I do think there is a longing for tactility and “real” things as a reaction to digital fatigue. This nostalgic leaning is popping up in all sorts of cultural places from fashion and food to film, TV, and music too. I think there’s a community element that’s drawing people back to print magazines too.   

What would you say to someone who is hesitant about venturing out from the digital realm?

Meet your audience where they are. But start small and listen and learn from them. We have the confidence to launch a print magazine because of the experience we’ve gained (and infrastructure we’ve set up) from releasing our two books and our tote and other products, but most importantly because we know our audience well and have listened to what they want.   

Of course, this isn’t Never Too Small’s first foray into the world of print, with two lengthy books under its belt. How did the process of putting the magazine together differ from that of the books – or even the digital Essential Guides, for that matter?

Even though our books involve a lot of work and research, they sort of have a set formula. With the Essential Guides, it took a little experimenting to determine the ideal format for those but a lot of it was pre-determined by the crucial information and case studies we wanted to include. As far as the magazine is concerned, it felt like much more of a blank canvas. We were really asking questions like “what do we want this to be?” and interrogating the content to determine what sorts of articles were Never Too Small Magazine articles and what kinds were not. The broader collaborative team required to pull a magazine together is also huge compared to a book (in our experience at least) – as we’ve been working with writers, photographers, and talent from all over the world, alongside proofreaders, designers, distributors, printers etc. etc. The list just goes on.   

What surprised you the most about this process? Did you face any particular or unexpected challenges? 

We’re extremely fortunate to have two absolute superstar mentors and print magazine veterans – Lou Bannister and Lara Burke (co-founders and the amazing women behind frankie, Lunch Lady, Smith Journal, and SPACES magazines) – guiding us on this journey as first-timers, so we haven’t had too many surprises but we’re learning so much. We haven’t gone to print yet though, so there is still plenty of time for surprises!  

Receiving a magazine in the mail is such a specific type of thrill. Do you have a favourite magazine?

Firstly I agree with you – receiving any personal post (not from the bank) is a thrill but receiving a magazine is next level. Choosing a favourite is tough and especially so given we have a lot of wonderful magazines in the studio at the moment as part of our research for our own mag. Monocle has been a long-time favourite at Never Too Small and a bit of a guiding star for us in many ways, but we’ve also been very inspired by younger indie publications like wine magazine Noble Rot. We really admire the way Noble Rot is introducing wine appreciation to a young, curious audience without the judgement or snobbery often associated with the wine industry. We hope to achieve something very similar with our magazine but in making design and architecture more accessible.     

Without giving too much away, can you offer a little teaser of what kind of content is in store?

Of course. In each issue, readers can expect Q&As with the designers and inhabitants of three of our favourite small footprint homes from around the world as well as a profile on a creative person living in a beautiful small space. A feature spotlight on an amazing design studio focused on small footprint design will also be a regular fixture – a piece that almost has the feel of one of those Rolling Stone hanging-with-the-band kinds of articles – and for our first issue, the spotlight is on the fabulous team at ATOMAA in Milan. We’ve also got interviews with the extraordinarily talented Sri Lankan Australian artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran and photographer, author, and illustrator Todd “The Selby” Selby, along with chairs with bums, sexy bikes, and some storage porn too. Plus, much, much more. You won’t be disappointed.    

Okay, now down to the logistics: Will this be shipping internationally? And when can we expect the first issue?

Yes, we will be shipping internationally, with the first issues available in September.

Writing:
Writing:
Kate Kolberg
Photography:
Photography:
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