The new sister offering to Kinfolk shows a more spontaneous, DIY approach from the team behind the established title.
For those unfamiliar, Kinfolk, is a magazine dedicated to all things home, work, style and culture. It’s astute and adult, sharp and serious. Kindling, the magazine’s new sister offering, takes a totally different approach, however, and offers Kinfolk designer Alex Hunting and art director Staffan Sundström a chance to be more playful, loose and childlike.
Targeted to people with children, issue one of Kindling, The Emotions Issue, was released in June 2021 with its follow up, The Body Issue, landing yesterday (07/12/21). Both show a new side to Kinfolk, catering to a slightly different audience while still retaining some of the Kinfolk character through beautiful design and intriguing editorial content. Kindling is an interesting angle in that it needs to belong within the same family as an existing title while pushing its tone of voice into a new direction. The magazine intends to stimulate adults through its written content and children through its visuals. To achieve this, its designer Alex took inspiration from “the visual language around education, spending time researching old children’s activity books and scientific journals”.
Both covers feature hand-drawn illustrations by Norwegian illustrator Espen Friberg, who works with ink on paper. “I just knew from the moment I first saw his stuff he needed to be in this somehow,” Staffan explains. “He ended up pretty much single-handedly illustrating both issues […] his style really personifies Kindling as an ‘aesthetic’ that just makes sense for everything the magazine is about and feels like.” That being said, Staffan is open to the idea of evolving that aesthetic, remarking that no commitment has been made to follow a certain style going forward: “I think it would be interesting to explore doing some variation on a photographic or typographic cover for the third issue.”
As for its typography, Alex opted for the Century Schoolbook type family for its “accessible yet authoritative tone,” paired with Feliciano Type’s Parafina, “which is used mainly at display sizes in a bold and playful manner […]
Parafina also adds a lovely Lubalin-esque 1970s feel into the mix with its multi-width geometric characters.” The result adds visual variety and a clear hierarchy to every issue. The illustrations and typography are then accompanied by a graphic language composed of geometric shapes, used throughout the magazine to tell stories in a simple and immediate way.
Ultimately, where Kinfolk “is a very refined object, typographically, design-wise, and in its art direction,” Alex summarizes, “Kindling has a more DIY aesthetic and its design allows for more spontaneity and freedom.”