Welcome to another series of Coalo Meets, today we're talking with Valentin Rudloff the Editor of KUMO, a magazine that takes a deep explorative lens to cultures around the world. Their first edition casts its gaze on Brittany, the wild North Western corner of mainland Europe that has fostered unique lifestyles and ways of living off the land.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I am a freelance communication designer, content creator and student, especially interested in typography. The love for photography and the urge to pursue my own projects ultimately brought me to my current hobby. When I'm not working, I spend a lot of time with KUMO, our travel, design and art magazine that my partner Christof Geramb and I have been working on for a long time. We're finally getting it published this year.
What have you learnt setting up and running your publication that you would pass on to someone thinking of doing the same thing?
It is a huge mountain of work that you have in front of you and the longer you spend time with it, the larger the mountain landscape becomes. Nonetheless it is incredibly inspiring work. During this time I have got to know so many creative and talented people. I was able to find my very own way of designing something and bringing it to life.
It is incredibly important not to concentrate on the peaks in the distance, but on parts of the journey in front of you, slowly you work your way to your destination. First, you take the photos, then you slowly begin to develop the layout and so on. We recently commissioned our test print, which is basically the last stretch before we reach the mountain top.
On the way you not only get to know great people, but you also learn that you can implement anything that comes to mind. Long story short, just start and rummage through, in the end something great comes out of it.
You have taken the decision to publish your magazine with both English and German text, why was this important to you?
We want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to accompany us on our journey. The people who buy a copy should feel comfortable with it and the language should not be an obstacle for them. Furthermore, we have just learned in the current situation how important, "real" contact is and therefore we want to work with local shops to sell the publication. Since we cannot include all languages, we decided to choose the two that cover the largest part of our target group. English comes first, because a large part of our online sales will go to people who have English as their mother tongue or understand it very well, but since we rely a lot on our local partners, we have decided to use German as a second language.
What can we expect in upcoming editions?
Unfortunately, it is not yet certain that there will be a second edition; we have to achieve our current goal first. However, when the time comes, we will continue our journey and will definitely work a lot more with creative minds. In the first issue, a large part of the content, both photos and text, is created by us and it is largely about Brittany in France. Even if we don't have any precise plans yet, we will deal more with arts and crafts that are threatened with extinction and focus on a new geography. In addition, we will increasingly work with artists, designers, photographers and people with passions who share our values.
We proceed in the same way as in our workflow, one mountain at a time. Printing is expensive and since we are only two students our budget is limited. The printing is therefore financed with the help of pre-sales via Kickstarter and since each project only has about one month on the platform to be successful, we have to reach more people who want to support us beforehand.
In your deep explorations of certain areas, such as Brittany, what have you learnt about the people who live there and how they interact with their environment?
I have the feeling that in Brittany so many people are aware of the extraordinary region of Europe in which they live. It is increasingly becoming clear to everyone what could be lost. Landscapes, traditions and an incredibly rich history that derive from the wider cultural landscapes, the rugged coasts and the wonderful architecture. What I was able to experience was a very careful use of the resources that are available. Instead of exploiting the land, they go the way of making use of the opportunities that exist. Sustainable tourism, markets and small festivals that support social life and an awareness that honours nature.
To lead a conscious and slow life is also a key part of our message. Maintaining contact with people, constantly rediscovering beauty in everyday life, as the photographer Christopher Snead did in our magazine. He showed us everyday Portland and thus brought out a beautiful side of this city. We try and replicate exactly that with the magazine: simply becoming aware of the treasures that you already have that are often right in front of you. There is no need for mass consumption or pollution, you just have to take a look out the window. But we don't want to raise our index finger and take an instructive position, we just want to show possibilities, beauty and creativity.
From looking at your magazine, there is a certain aesthetic language that is clearly part of, drawing inspiration from Japan and similar minimal origins. What do you think the power of this way of presenting is and why is it both very current and timeless?
This aesthetic finds its justifications in various advantages. On the one hand, it is about taking a break from a world that overwhelms the mind with overloaded billboards, colorful lights and loud, unnatural noises. On the other hand it gives the content space it gives the content enough space to affect the viewer.
Finally, what three pieces from the Coalo catalog do you like the most?
Oversized Long Sleeve in Black - I simply love loose clothes for warmer days, or for those in between days, not cold not warm.
Black Fisherman Beanie - The best thing for a bad hair day and it looks quite nordic, which is another reason why I wear them super often.
Black Hoodie - Exactly the piece you need for both the working hard and those cozy days.