It first came as a surprise, when Ibrahim Nehme from Beirut contacted Art Director Santos Henarejos and Rifle through a mutual contact in 2012. He had in mind a magazine that covered topics such as religion and culture from a global outlook with the aim to ignite a spark of change in the Arabic culture. Surprised by the topic, quite different from any other familiar publication from the Middle East, Santos Henarejos together with Gema Navarro, started to work on the design for the The Outpost and got involved with this fascinating challenge.
The Outpost is a magazine of possibilities: it identifies, understands and analyses the conflicts, morals, energies and opportunities of a changing Arab world and lays down possible futures. The magazine is published twice a year from Beirut and it covers a wide range of stories with the aim to inform, inspire and entertain. The written content is contributed by writers from the Middle East who studied abroad and who got a taste for different cultures, belief systems and Western like freedom of expression. Soon after its launch, the Outpost was regarded as one of the most successful magazines for the Arab world, and its value was praised internationally by names like Monocle, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, who referred to the Outpost as “a successor to the Economist”. It has also been recognised as one of the most important independent magazines 2015 by Stack Magazines.
A self-proclaimed “magazine of possibilities” for the Middle East and North Africa, The Outpost paints an honest and optimistic picture of life in the Arab world. With its fascinating insights and high quality content, this is one of the most interesting and important independent magazines being published today.
“Magazines can raise awareness and open people’s eyes to injustices, missed opportunities and hidden histories. They can shift people’s perspectives and help them better understand who they are, to where they belong, and how the future might be looking. They can inspire them to take action and do well.”
Ibrahim Nehme, The Outpost founder.
The focus was of course journalist-oriented, trying to build a system that allowed four different types of articles to coexist as well as allowing to maintain blank spaces, flexibility and harmony in forms. At the beginning of the design process, there weren’t any photographers who really reflected the vision of the Outpost team: therefore illustrators Romualdo Faura and Argijale were entrusted to contribute with large infographics and illustrations to support the written content. Being it a magazine of possibilities, the structure of the magazine follows three main moments, What’s Happening, What’s not happening and What could happen. These three different sections are indicated on the spine, making these three different blocks easy to find and identity. A colour-coded system based on two key colours was developed for the cover. Moreover, this colour palette is used in the Opener, the opening section of the magazine which is separated from the rest of the content, printed in only one tint and on a different paper stock.
The typefaces chosen for the publication was National from Klim Type Foundry and Leitura designed by Dino dos Santos Type Foundry. Slightly mannered, National becomes more apparent in the heavier weights yet it still remains simple, subtle and serious with a human charm. A charm that gives warmth and beauty to the design while Leitura, is astounding for its simultaneous contrast and consistency.
The symbol designed for the Outpost magazine was a flag closed in a circle. By metaphorically representing in a tiny symbol the ideas of social and political commitment, the logo reflects the concept behind the magazine: its take on politics, conflicts and morals, looking for an outpost on the other side of the field, standing as a symbol for the possibility of peace.