Tyler Brûlé is no stranger to experiments. The biggest one that he took in life was probably when he set about the idea of launching a magazine on art, architecture, home décor way back in 1996 that targeted men and women. That didn’t quite add up to conventional wisdom at the time, which said that magazines in that genre would only attract women readers. Brûlé did not think so and went ahead with his idea. That magazine went on to become a cult title, a magazine that Time Warner Inc bought over in 1997 and this magazine was Wallpaper*.
“My advice to anyone thinking of starting a new magazine would be to say, 'don’t even think of going in for focused group testing.’ If you have an instinct about an idea, it’s better to go with your intuition. We did not rely on focused group research when we launched Wallpaper*,” said Brûlé.
This year, Kyoorius Yatra began with Brûlé who gave an account of his professional journey before he launched Wallpaper*, talking about the time that he spent working as a correspondent for BBC, reporting for Fox’s news channel as well as writing for The Guardian and being caught in a crossfire in Afghanistan. He returned to London, after his injury and came up with the idea of launching a magazine. He continued working at Wallpaper* for another five years, after it was bought over by Time Warner Inc before starting creative shop Winkreative and launching a second print and online title Monocle.
“Wallpaper was a very beautiful accident but Monocle is probably the magazine that I was supposed to launch in the first place, that’s more in line with pure journalism and I love editing,” said Brûlé. Winkreative was launched as result of a request that Brûlé got from clients during his Wallpaper* days to create communication for their products which was similar to the editorial spreads that his team had created there.
“I am sick of big media houses blaming the web for the decline of the print medium. When you look around in the market, you wonder, ‘where’s the innovation in print taking place for readers to be interested in the medium?’”, he said, adding that part of the reason for the rise in glossy magazines in the market was due to the need of print publishers to compete with the online medium. Hence the attempt to raise the tactile nature of magazines, making them glossy to entice people to store it away for prolonged reading rather than throwing it away after one cursory read.
Some of the work that Winkreative has created includes work for airline brands in Europe and USA, including Swiss Airlines and Canadian brand Porter. The latter, a new entrant in the Canadian market, dominated by government owned behemoth Canadian Airlines, was advised by Winkreative to build a unique supply chain that supported small business entrepreneurs, to help create a unique brand value system. Talking of Monocle, Tyler explained that he started the magazine with the idea of having a high quality magazine that talked of world affairs, business, culture and design, with a distinctive visual style.
Tyler said that their vision for Monocle’s online version had been to build it as a broadcast medium. He added that the packaging of the online content was in the form of documentaries.