How we made: N by Norwegian, November 2015

I like this issue, partly because it was the last time we went away as a team, with sales and editorial heading to Iceland for a story on the north of the country. But it was also a strong set of stories…

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The Iceland feature was really a classic N by Norwegian travel story – fishermen, hot springs, whales, food – and it was a lot of fun to put together, from a slightly comedy horse riding trip to bathing in volcanic water. It was a laugh of a trip, but came out clean and beautiful on the page, thanks to River Thompson’s lovely spare photography.

But beyond that, it was a good sturdy set of stories, and an issue in which we solved quite a few little problems. The first was with the cover, after the client had requested a focus on their new routes to the Caribbean. Given that the new Bond film was coming out, it made sense to do Ian Fleming’s Caribbean, even if there was a touch of fudging given that Fleming’s main love affair was with Jamaica, which isn’t a Norwegian destination.

We decided on the Martini glass with the holiday scene as a nice way to say “concept” and “travel inspiration” – but there was a problem. Alcohol advertising is illegal in Norway, and the airline were uncomfortable about the suggestion of booze on the cover. There was a lot of back and forth, and we toyed with a disclaimer, but eventually they said they were fine with it after we showed them covers of other Norwegian magazines with alcohol – and begged.

In terms of the features, there was a nice solution with the story about the town of Kiruna moving to make way for a mine. Given that there wasn’t going to be much to shoot, art director Rickard had Swedish illustrator Johan Thörnqvist do a really cute set of illustrations that worked well with bright, clean stock photography of the town. We’d done that with another story on Tito’s train from Belgrade to Montenegro, where we’d added illustrations of the Queen, Sophia Loren etc to some very dull press images. I still like it as a trick in inflight mags, when stock photography so often looks flat and lifeless.

The other story I was pleased with was the interview with Petter Stordalen, the thrill-seeking billionaire who could just about be described as Norway’s answer to Richard Branson. Both he and his PR team were incredibly open, and almost encouraged us to go to town with the way we presented him. It was quite refreshing to do something with a businessman that was such fun, and I like the slightly mad opening quote over a spread, where he’s basically mocking himself.

With a nice Boston by Norwegian that was full of colourful characters, and a pretty piece about airport control towers, I think it was a fairly classic N by Norwegian issue. Read it here.

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