OWT Creative is comprised of five young designers: Ste Beed, Jon Hannan,Katrina Currie, Sarah Stapleton and Ben Kither, based in Manchester, UK.
Please tell us a little something about how OWT Creative was formed and what inspired you to start your publication.
The five of us that make up OWT creative met whilst studying Design & Art Direction at Manchester School of Art. After witnessing a lot of our friends jump ship from Manchester and head off to London we decided that we wanted to create a platform for ourselves and other young creatives up here in the northwest.
We wanted to prove that you can be creative up here in the Northwest and you don't have to vanish off to London to be successful. We're not deluded, we all know London is the biggest and best of everything really but everyone likes an underdog.
The reason we decided to create a publication is because we believe in the medium of print. People will argue that print is a dying entity and that we all have to embrace a fully digital future, but we think we’re overloaded these days by flash design blogs and portfolio websites that can be clicked through at pace. Having something tangible to hold and feel adds an extra dimension, the feel of the stock and the delightful printing errors that make each one individual. In 50 years time when today’s equivalent of the floppy disk is no longer readable you will always be able to pick up a zine.
The zine is clearly promoting 'creatives' from the Northwest of England. Why do you think this area of the country has such a rich zine tradition?
We think one reason the Northwest has a good tradition because there has been so much in its history that provokes the DIY art and music culture up here. Manchester was at the forefront of the Punk and Rave scenes (to name just two) and these scenes go hand in hand with zine culture. It seems that wherever you have such a rich music heritage the sub-culture of the fanzine readers and writers follow and The Northwest was no exception. Of course this is without even considering the sporting heritage and associated supports that exists here with several of the country’s major sporting teams, and Liverpool FC.
How does your blog supplement what the zine is doing?
At the moment the blog is there to let people know what we're up with all our little developments that we make day to day, from being featured on a website to being stocked in a new shop. We also like to feature work that resonates with us, be it music, documentaries, exhibitions or anything else for that matter.
As we progress we want to use the blog to promote the people who submit their work to us. Our first Issue had just 5 contributors, the second has 11, we want all those extra people to be able to say we helped them in some way other than putting their work in the zine. By submitting work to us, they help us grow, diversify and reach more people, we want the zine and the blog to do the same for them. As we said earlier, part of the reason to set OWT up was to promote the arts in The Northwest and the blog is just as important to us as the actual zine is in that respect. The blog also provides us with a much larger audience than can be reached with the zine alone. For instance our blog has regular readers from the USA and Canada, places where the zine would be unlikely to penetrate on it’s own.
What fanzine would you recommend that we should read and why?
We're not sure it can be considered a fanzine, maybe just a zine, but the WAFA collective zines are full of really inspirational stuff from Anthony Zinonos and Co.
Another Manchester based Fanzine is one69a.... good quality, current articles + entirely screen-printed with a poster in the middle - win!
We'd also recommend the work from the guys at Nous Vous, really nice stuff. Really nice work and they’re northern, which helps.