Jason Gonsalves: The Face relaunch is about giving culture context

Adman resurfaces as brand director at new incarnation of style magazine.

The Face: Gonsalves (right) and Hyman
The Face: Gonsalves (right) and Hyman

Jason Gonsalves, the former chief executive of Mcgarrybowen, has described the mission of the team bringing back The Face as to "connect with the times" and build an international audience.

Gonsalves, who was hired as brand director by Wasted Talent, the Mixmag and Kerrang! publisher that is reviving The Face, was speaking on stage at the PPA Festival today (Thursday) in conversation with magazine archivist James Hyman.

"There are so many things about the soul of The Face that we want to stay true to," Gonsalves said, lauding the vision that founder Nick Logan had in 1980.

"The Face was always connected with the times. It was born at a time when Britain felt like it was fucked and people were wondering where it was going, but there was a massive explosion of creativity and youth culture. I think we're seeing very similar things right now."

Bringing real context to style

While The Face’s first planned quarterly appearance in print isn’t until September, it is already online at TheFace.com and Gonsalves talked about wanting to cater to readers differently from the prevailing online trend.

"So much of publishing is very focused on how you fill a feed," he said, "particularly in the area that we're interested in – style. I think we want to bring real context to that and we think there's an audience out there who really want that. They've been treated like they [have] attention deficit, whereas actually there's a real hunger there to delve deep into explaining culture."

There will be no paywall on the site in an attempt to reach as big and as international an audience as possible, focusing initially on the UK and the US, and then Asia, according to the former Bartle Bogle Hegarty veteran.

Experimentation will be the watchword. "We want what we're doing in digital to be very interactive, very dynamic, have a lot of experimentation, audio and video," Gonsalves explained.

However, print would be equally important and is the heritage of the original magazine, which ceased publication in 2004 but has been preserved in art school archives and rediscovered by a new generation.

"The Face has an archive at Saint Martins and the Fashion Institute of New York," Gonsalves said. "A lot of the kids coming out of those places are really excited by the tactile nature of print, so I think there's a real role there."

Building a little family

Gonsalves also expanded on the idea of developing a community of contributors from across the world.

"From very early on we realised… it was about how we can tap into really interesting people from all over the place. A lot of the people who help us to create what we're doing right now are doing other things. They are music producers, they are fashion designers, they are political journalists… as well as writing for us, they're in technology, they're chefs.

"We're trying to build not just an editorial team but a community across the world that is like a little family. There are some great journalists, but also some people who are out there creating the culture. It's that dynamic between those groups of people that is really exciting for us."

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