An Interview with Samantha & Elliot of Lagom Magazine
18 November 2015
Lagom is a Swedish word that translates as ‘having just the right amount of something’. Whether it’s a perfectly exposed photograph, finding a balance between work and play, or balancing on the climbing wall it would seem that we are all seeking a sense of Lagom in much of what we do. We caught up with Samantha and Elliot, creators of Lagom Magazine to chat to them about what the word Lagom means to them and about the making of issue 3…
Lagom celebrates the creative industries, in particular independents and individuals who champion a particular craft or follow a more creative lifestyle. It often feels like the people and businesses featured are linked in some way, is this an intentional or intrinsic characteristic of the magazine?
[Elliot] It’s a combination, and actually this is something we talk about in our Editors’ Letter in the new issue. It’s always a case of balancing variety with some sort of common theme, but those themes also seem to find themselves, somehow — they often emerge from the stories in ways we didn’t foresee when we instigated the piece. Then, when everything is laid out, we make a few last-minute order changes to better reflect these themes.
What does the word Lagom mean to you; is it a personal philosophy, a way to live, or simply a word that resonates for you?
[Elliot] All of the above! We chose the word as our brand because it encapsulates that sense of balance and moderation, but it’s also okay if you don’t know what it means. If you’ve never heard of it or you’re not familiar with Swedish, it’s just a word — and we loved that it gave us such a blank canvas; so many words come loaded with existing connotations. Once you find out what ‘lagom’ means, you’re rewarded with that additional layer.
Could you tell us a little about your backgrounds, how did you meet and how did Lagom come to be?
[Elliot] We met on the internet, long before it was socially acceptable to do so, on a social network that existed long before Facebook! We’ve been together for just over 12 years, and started working together on our previous magazine 8 Faces. Lagom is our first ‘proper’ collaboration, though, where it’s 50% me and 50% Sam.
[Sam] After we worked together on 8 Faces, we realised that we could indeed work together without trying to kill each other! In fact, we found we worked well as a team and enjoyed it, so the idea to start a new magazine together seemed like a natural progression.
We’re also lucky that our different backgrounds and experience also come together perfectly: Elliot has a very strong design background whereas my background is in editorial and publishing.
Tell us a little bit about what we can expect from Lagom Issue 3 and how you go about selecting creative projects to feature?
[Sam] It might sound cliche to say, but our latest issue is our favourite yet. Each issue we strive to achieve a balance of content between the three sections, and try to ensure that the locations visited in the magazine are as varied as they are inspiring. I feel we have achieved just that in issue 3, and believe that it’s our most balanced yet.
As just a small taster, we speak to designer and architect Vina Lustado about her Tiny House Project in California; look inside Green Spaces, a co-working space in Denver that has sustainability at its heart; lecturer Christopher Murphy talks about why he goes swimming in the cold Atlantic off the coast of Northern Ireland; chocolatier Amelia Rope discusses why she thinks hand-made isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; musician Sebastian Mullaert lets us into his studio cabin in the Swedish woodlands and explains frankly about what inspires him.
A theme that runs through many of the features is sustainability, be that in an environmentally-friendly sense, or in a the sense of sustaining a business, sustaining your hobby, or even sustaining yourself, as Sebastian Mullaert and Christopher Murphy discuss.
This issue we were very lucky to have even more people reaching out to us with various ideas that we thought sounded like good fits, in addition to ideas that we already had when we set about creating the issue.
Finally what would you say are the best and the worst parts about making a magazine? Is there anything you particularly enjoy or dread about the world of print?
[Elliot] Just working in print is terrifying! I come from a web design background and I’m used to having the freedom to change anything and everything — even after launch. There’s a level of commitment when you send something to press that nothing else compares to.
[Sam] Holding the printed pages in your hands, and breathing a huge sigh of relief when you see that the features came together better than you’d hoped is definitely the best part. It’s also brilliant to have the opportunity to speak to so many fascinating people and get an insight into their lives.
The worst parts are finding that you are behind with deadlines, and wondering how on earth you are going to get everything done on time, and the never-ending fear of finding a typo in the printed version! (If you find one, please don’t let us know!)
Lagom Issue 3 is now available in store and online, and features NGNG as the stockist Spotlight, a whole six pages about our little shop.