Lara Burke, creative director, We Print Nice Things
Words of wisdom to live by? Definitely measure twice, cut once.
The world of print media has a long history of being our number one source of information and inspiration. As the digital age progresses and the internet becomes more important in our daily lives, the role of print publications is changing dramatically. Far from being rendered obsolete, print media has evolved to be a breeding ground of niche publications that cater to specific tastes. Lara Burke and Louise Bannister – who have previously worked on publications such as frankie Magazine, Spaces and Smith Journal – decided to step away from mass publishing to focus on supporting boutique magazines. We Print Nice Things is Lara and Louise’s independent publishing house, and their first magazine is Lunch Lady, which may be familiar to some as a food blog run by Kate Berry. Boasting family-friendly recipes, stories, opinion pieces and beautiful photography, Lunch Lady is shaping up to be the first of many successful niche offerings from We Print Nice Things. We spoke to Lara Burke about the evolution of the print industry and how the partnership with Lunch Lady came about.
First of all, I’d love to know what it was that instigated your love of paper and print?
I’m an analogue person and like old-school things and respect the trade of print. I get inspired by paper and different printing techniques and all the creative things you can do with print and paper which creates a truly unique product.
What was the catalyst for you and Louise to start the publishing house We Print Nice Things?
After 15 years of working for other people Louise and I wanted to go out on our own. Publishing is what we know best and where our passion lies. We wanted to build a family friendly company that supports the work life balance, where we can have a career doing something we love and also the flexibility needed for children and school life.
When it came time to back a project what was it that drew you to Lunch Lady, specifically?
We found Kate’s blog to be thoughtful and inclusive and we could relate instantly. It had all the right ingredients (pardon the pun) to transform into print. We knew we could build on what Kate had and translate it into a beautiful printed publication and strong authentic brand.
What feeling and vibe did you want Lunch Lady to have?
We wanted Lunch Lady to offer readers a community that we don’t believe currently exists. A warm, inspiring and friendly place where parenting is not taken so seriously, but where a balanced approach to everything is. Lunch Lady’s aesthetics are warm and fuzzy, happy and colourful.
You’ve been involved with some very successful publications in the past. What do you think makes a publication connect with readers?
Genuine content, exceptional contributors, attention to every detail and self-deprecating honesty.
With the amount of uncertainty apparent in print media, how do you think the industry will progress in the coming years and how will We Print Nice Things adapt to the changing nature of the industry?
Quality printed products with high reader engagement will always have a place in print media. But it is important for publishers to find new and innovative ways to distribute. The newsagent model is not as strong as it once was and securing shelf space is tough. It’s important to pioneer new ways to get them into the hands of readers.
Do you think finding niche audiences and producing boutique publications is the way of the future?
Niche publishing definitely has its place but it’s not for everyone. Magazines are costly and you need to have a definite audience and solid business plan to last the distance.
Where do you see Lunch Lady heading in the future? What are some things that you’d like to incorporate as more issues come about?
First and foremost it’s about creating a genuine conversation with our readers through the magazine. We’re also excited about our international Lunch Lady audience and potential in developing our brand beyond its printed pages.
How do you like to unwind after reaching a print deadline?
At the moment it doesn’t seem to end as we are in start-up phase!
What are some other independent creative publications or people that we should keep an eye out for?
Cathy Olmedillas, founder of Anorak Press, creates unique kids publications that I find really inspiring, and also lovely creative literacy tools for my little boys.
What are some words of wisdom that you live by?
Definitely measure twice, cut once.