Toby Mclaren

Aballone is a project started by Hannah Roadknight and I. We both had the vision of creating and selling an independent magazine during our time in Norwich and so, Aballone was born. Aballone is a lifestyle magazine, focusing on the beauty of simple living and elegant culture, a tranquil escape from your busy life, whether with your morning coffee or on your commute to work. This publication encompasses everything we love about living in Norwich; the slow living, independent businesses and ultimately a deep love for the arts. Aballone features several independent artists, photographers, writers and various creatives to explore the joy and sense of wellbeing that all of this work emphasises. We have collated an incredible group of contributors for this first magazine, with frankly an obscene amount of talent hosted between them all! Artists from around the globe have worked closely with us to get as much work out to people as possible, with an aim to support independent creatives in any way we can. We have met with several creative groups throughout Norwich to share ideas on how to progress as a business, which was important because it provided us with the opportunity to explore how other creatives thrive in this climate.  

The original embodiment of Aballone was solely a magazine, but with so much time to plan and be creative after graduating, we were able to think more broadly about the business as a whole, how we could work collaboratively as a freelance design studio and how other products could fit into this lifestyle brand. We have launched a series of other products, including postcards, personalised carpenter pencils and tote bags, which have been exciting to design and see printed. Our most popular product is our Aballone gift box, which includes the magazine alongside goodies created by independent artists. We worked with Illustration student Erin Hodgkinson to launch a limited edition print series, which has been a particular favourite.  

Sadly, due to current circumstances, the original launch party was cancelled, so we (moped for a little, then) sat down and discussed how we would go ahead with the magazine. We decided to take a step back to re-assess everything, spending some time re-designing a lot of key aspects of the magazine which allowed the design to reflect the minimal, sophisticated feel that we had initially planned for. After converting our university bedrooms into makeshift offices, we were buried in print testers, mock-ups and parcels, with paper everywhere. In June we launched a Kickstarter to pre order the magazine, and within 24 hours we had reached our first goal, and in the month-long time frame that this was up, we have now reached over 200% funding for the first issue. This allows us to send off the magazine to print on the 6th July with the intent to be sent out to customers mid-month. 

At the time of writing this we are a few days away from the Kickstarter ending and us sending the magazine off to print, sat in a room full boxes, products and prints. Our websites is soon to be launched and we couldn’t be more excited to be working on our own business, designing products and creating publications that we are truly passionate about and feel people will love. From an idea half a year ago in a coffee shop that was originally just a magazine, came a full business and studio. Maybe having so much time at home isn’t so bad after all. 

Words: Toby Mclaren, Design for Publishing, @aballone_

Co-Founder: Hannah Roadknight

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