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It gives me real joy to share this recent project with you. Not only because the finished product is a testament to the experience and skill our staff have along with the care they sow into each job, but because it inspires me when creators like Haylee use print as their media. Haylee understood her audience and delivered this breathtaking piece of work for them, in a way that would allow them to have an experience, not just another moment in front of a phone/screen. Data and studies confirm we need tactile and tangible experiences to retain and enjoy the information we consume. We must factor this into how we reach our target audience and balance the convenience of digital with the human need for a material experience.

Q& A with Haylee Collins – Creative Director + Publisher HOWL

Holly: I was really excited about our team producing HOWL Magazine, being a part of a creative industry and a Mother I was immediately drawn to the content. It resonated deeply. Can you tell me about your process for creating the magazine, the photographers and designers you worked with, and how you chose which women to interview/have discussions with?

Haylee: Thank-you! Well we tend to make up our minds about a brand within seconds of looking at it, so it was crucial to me to get the imagery and branding for HOWL right in the first instance. Ilsa Wynne-Hoelscher Kidd had photographed my family twice before. Her work has a distinct aesthetic that transports you outside of time and place, while managing to capture the complex emotions of her models – approaching her to photograph the first issue felt organic and we worked so harmoniously together bringing those first concepts to life. She intuitively understood my desire for HOWL to convey the mundanity, frustration and affection between the mothers and children, all within these quite beautiful, almost surreal settings. Amy from Sun Mother Studio had done design work for a few friends of mine. Although the vision I had for HOWL was different to anything I’d seen her do, I realised I needed a knowledgeable collaborator to draw out the best parts of my ideas and veto the parts that weren’t going to work. Amy had such an understanding of the desired audience for HOWL and she drew out my thoughts – for something brutal, captivating, moving and beyond us – and elevated them to an entirely new level, beyond what I could’ve done myself, which also set a sort of style guide I was able to carry over into designing the magazine myself. Obviously with a brand new project with nothing yet to show, run by someone without a large profile or social media presence, it was tricky to get some people on board for the first issue. I was so fortunate with the mix of creators I ended up with. I tried to ensure a spread of experiences and perspectives were represented. There were a few people, like Natalie Kon-yuBobby Clark and Hannah Debus, who I knew I wanted to approach early on. The rest came about quite naturally as those first contributions were cemented and I could determine what and who else would be complimentary to them. I’m thrilled with the end result – each contributor was passionate about the concept of HOWL and brought their own magic to its pages.

Holly: Your experience in publishing and creative spaces is extensive, HOWL is the second publication you have personally created, do you have any advice for others considering creating print publications?

Haylee: Self publishing is a fulfilling road to go down, but it’s also all-consuming and can be hard to sustain the energy for long term. There’s a constant fine balance of investing in careful collaboration and wearing many hats. Setting yourself up well from the beginning and knowing your audience back to front – including how to check in with them for feedback when required – will empower you to trust in your decision making process as you go. 

Quick Fire Questions

The latest book you read: I’m partway through a few but most recently finished was Utopia by Heidi Sopinka

The most recent magazine you read: An old issue of Dumbo Feather

An artist you can’t look away from: I’m now surrounded by so many fiercely talented artists, including many featured in HOWL Issue 01. But two that I’m obsessing over more recently are South Australian artist Zoe Freney, and Byron artist Liv Enqvist.

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