The story behind Flow Magazine is quite incredible. Two Dutch journalists were mulling over what kind of magazine they wanted to read, when they realised that such a magazine didn’t exist. So they created it and within just a few years they were reaching several hundred thousand readers, first in the Netherlands and Belgium, then in the rest of Europe and around the world.
Flow Magazine calls itself a magazine for paper lovers – and it’s hard not to agree with that description. Leafing through any edition is an experience in itself. The magazine is printed on several different grades of paper, which adds an extra dimension to the content and contributes to the special feeling that Flow wants to convey. Each issue also contains little gifts, such as labels, pennants, postcards, sheets of paper, illustrations to colour in and window stickers.
Four recurring themes
However, it’s about more than just paper. The magazine is split into four sections, each indicated by a fold-out tab: Feel connected – about family, relationships and the wider world, Live mindfully – about living consciously and being aware of the moment, Spoil yourself – with gadget tips, recipes, inspiration and so on, and Simplify your life – with practical solutions that can make life easier.
“Flow is a magazine for paper lovers, packed with positive psychology, stories about mindfulness, crafts and DIY (Do- It-Yourself),” explain Astrid van der Hulst and Irene Smit, the journalists who originally developed the magazine and remain heavily involved as creative directors at Flow.
“The magazine doesn’t force anything onto you, but it does offer insights and inspiration. We work with illustrators from around the world, and we enclose extra paper treats with each issue. Because nothing beats paper!
Now also in English
Today, Flow is one of the Sanoma Group’s most successful magazines. The small editorial team operates with a mere five full-time members. Instead the Flow team works with around 50 freelance writers, illustrators and photographers across the globe. The Dutch edition has recently been joined by an English-language version, which at the time of writing is available in locations such as airports, museum shops and bookshops in around 20 countries. It is also available online at www.flowmagazine. com and as a digital edition for the iPad that also contains videos, links to favourite blogs and even more images.
But what is the secret behind this success story? How can such a niche magazine manage to grow so quickly at a time when many others are preparing to scale back their print runs? The creators of the magazine believe the strength of Flow lies in the good, interesting content, with its powerful articles on the issues affecting today’s women, accompanied by visually stimulating images and colours.
Or as one Flow reader puts it in her blog: “This isn’t the kind of magazine you skim through in a spare moment and then just forget.”
Circulation: 68 000
Publication: 8 issues + 4 specials per year
Subscribers: over 25 000
Reach: 241 500 readers
(NOM Printmonitor 2012)
Source: Flow International no 2/ www.flowmagazine.com
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