Containing exquisite imagery, Cereal is a unique and beautiful magazine crafted by Rosa Park and Rich Stapleton. The content found in this food and travel magazine goes beyond the norm with cultivated, in-depth and compelling articles. Rich and Rosa’s passion for food, travel, intelligent words and beautiful design brought about their desire to create a magazine not only interesting and of lasting quality, but more importantly, one that they themselves would want to read.
It was about two years ago when Rosa and Rich first envisioned Cereal: the name, concept & visual direction. “One of our fondest memories of childhood is of waking up to a huge bowl of something crunchy and milky, devouring the words and pictures on the back of the packet. These boxes were the first thing we read each day, and they taught and entertained us. Hence, Cereal.”
Last summer, the magazine becoming a reality after receiving funding to start the project, and Rich and Rosa set out to create an enduring magazine. “The element of timelessness extends beyond the physical attributes of the magazine; it's also inherent in the editorial content. We try our best to avoid anything too time sensitive. The bulk of our articles are on the histories of foods and drinks and portrayals of significant landmarks and sights paired with striking imagery. We hope Cereal, like a good book, can be read over and over again.”
Cereal provides an immersive experience and leaves a rich impression on the reader. It is easy to see that every facet from design, writing and photography is approached with the utmost care & clear intentions. Read on to learn more about this gorgeous, thought-provoking magazine. All of Rich & Rosa’s stunning imagery of landscapes, places, food, and product below were processed using VSCO Film™.
Creatively, what are each of your backgrounds & areas of expertise? How are these skills implemented into Cereal Magazine?
Rosa: Prior to Cereal, I wrote for a local food magazine in Bath, England, and worked as a freelance writer and photographer for other publications in the UK and the US. Before that, I was in school getting my master’s in english literature, which was the reason why I moved to England from New York. In New York, I worked in PR and marketing for luxury beauty and fashion companies, and all of these experiences have heavily influenced the way I approach Cereal. My love of writing and reading, and books in particular, has made its mark on how the magazine is produced and structured. We divide Cereal into topic-specific chapters, which each feature deeply-researched articles - these come with a bibliography should the reader want to engage in further reading. The Cereal logo pays tribute to my love of books, with the lines between the letters representing the divisions between books on a bookshelf. I’m also a very visual person, hence my love of photography; so I place equal importance on images and words. I believe that one cannot exist without the other in order to create a memorable publication. As for my marketing background, that comes into play as we find creative ways to promote the title to our target readership!
Rich: I have a background in engineering and product design, from which I have drawn significant inspiration when designing Cereal. For me, functionality was the approach. I have always admired Dieter Ram’s principle of form follows function. I wanted the focus to be on the reading experience itself. I also wanted to give the visual content in the magazine sufficient room to breathe, which meant that we decided upon a very minimal aesthetic with lots of white space. It’s important that the look of the publication is simple, clean and neutral so that it doesn’t feel cluttered or chaotic, allowing the content to speak for itself. In the process of creating the look and feel for Cereal, I took inspiration not just from other magazines, but also books, stationery and apparel.
We only see the perfection of the final product. What are some of the realities and challenges you’ve faced, especially bringing the first printing to fruition?
One of the challenges we’ve faced is getting all of the content to work well together as one cohesive piece. This can be tricky as we work with so many different contributors with various styles and looks. Another hurdle we faced, when printing for the first time, was getting the colors of the images just right, as things always look different in print from on screen.
How does a volume of your magazine come together, from choosing content to collaborating with photographers and more? What does this process look like?
We start a volume of Cereal with a blank piece of paper, on to which we write a list of topics we’d like to explore. From here, we narrow the list down to 4-6 subjects. Then, we pick the winners and spend several weeks researching each topic, creating a list of articles to be included in every chapter. Once this is set, we approach the writers, photographers and illustrators we want to work with and collaborate with them on the stories. It’s our favorite process!
What about food and travel ignites a passion in each of you?
We love how travel can take you completely out of your comfort zone and force you to confront situations, people, places and things that you’d otherwise never face, and therefore, never learn and grow from. We always have an a-ha moment in our travels - that moment when you stop talking, stop taking photos, stop engaging in whatever other distractions you have, to just hit pause, stand still and take in what’s in front of you and be in awe of it. It reminds us of just how big the world is, how much there is to see, and it inspires us to travel more and more. As for food, we appreciate and are intrigued by how a love of it is one of the few things in life that everyone has in common. It’s difficult to find people who don’t enjoy delicious food. We all have to eat everyday; therefore, the wealth of culture and history within food is fantastic. We love to explore those aspects.
The desire for tangible, beautifully printed publications seems to be a growing sentiment. What appetite do you hope to satisfy in your readers?
We hope our readers perceive Cereal as a source of deeper insight and knowledge of the food and drink they consume and the places they visit. We always want to dig deep into the topics we cover, which is why we dedicate anywhere from 20-60 pages with multiple articles on a singular subject, whether it’s carrots, salt & pepper, Copenhagen or Seoul.
As your magazine has developed & spread organically, what is one piece of business advice would you give to other entrepreneurs in the publication sphere?
Four words: stick to your guns. As in, trust your instinct and do what feels right for you. Don’t bow to outside pressure.
What can people expect to see from Cereal Magazine in the future?
We are launching our new website with Volume 3 (in early June), which will have a completely different look from the current site, added functionality and more editorial content. We are also going to be selling products beyond our magazines on our online shop, including limited edition prints, stationery and small leather goods. There are some exciting events we’ll be hosting in collaboration with other brands as well; so watch this space!