Isaac Nikolai Fox

NINETOFIVE

Creating the brand identity for a music magazine from the ground up.

Roles

Lead designer, content strategist and editor, project manager.


Goals

Creating a brand identity for NINETOFIVE’s print volume starting from scratch and launching the magazine worldwide.


Design Tools

InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Unsplash.


I’ve been writing for NINETOFIVE for more than two years now, after the label owner Linus and I became friends over our shared passion for instrumental music and supporting independent art. We first discussed a print issue six months before work began, but we jumped in headfirst after I finished university.

I agreed to lead editorial strategy, and although Linus had more experience with design, I wanted to solidify the design skills I learned when designing The Attaché, so I took on the print design. Linus provided label funding for several contributors’ articles, and assisted me with artist outreach and project management.

After a few days of group brainstorming in the label’s Slack chat, we had hundreds of reference images in a vision board — taken from everything from copies of The Fader and National Geographic, to flyers advertising punk shows from the 1980s, to sports advertising campaigns. Everyone agreed: we wanted our aesthetic to be punchy, sleek, and eye-grabbing. Using InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, I created designs and mocked up designs for several placeholder articles, which I used to get buy-in to the fledgling project from other writers in my network.

Having secured contributors for the magazine, I continued refining my designs, typography choices, and the magazine structure. I created sections to go between the long-form articles that will spotlight photographers and new releases from instrumental labels. These shorter sections were to help fill out the magazine with engaging, quick-to-generate content that strengthens NINETOFIVE’s support for other labels and collectives in the arts and instrumental music scenes.


NINETOFIVE Vol. 1 was due to be released mid-2020, but the print edition was cancelled due to COVID-19. Several articles from the print edition have been hosted on the label website.


Using Format