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JOUR2811 – Feature Article

Stephanie Brownlee

IZE of Brisbane For aspiring creators the opportunity to exhibit and publish is valued as a pearl is to an oyster. A fruitful inaugural year and six online issues later, Brisbane friends and university students, Nicole Pires and Madeline Hay have established a vibrant and increasingly popular platform-comeportfolio, IZE magazine (pronounced eyes) to put into practice their love and studies of graphic design, journalism and our metros culture. What began as something to fill the summer days between graduating from St Rita’s and the start of university is now a stylistically refined and growing digital house with a readership of a thousand plus for artistic contributors; local photographers, musicians, fashion designers, stylists, makeup artists, models, writers and more. At the change of each season, a new edition of IZE can be found in digital pageturning format via an app embedded on the IZE blog, ‘issuu’ –the fastest growing digital publishing platform in the World. Clicking through the publication one may find content from an interview with The Rubens and editorials showcasing the styling of local, Tamzen Holland (who’s also featured in Vogue Italia) to travel pieces, film reviews and much more. “The magazine wasn’t something we premeditated –it was actually quite spontaneous, explains IZE Editor Nicole, currently in her second year of Journalism and Arts, majoring in Peace and Conflict studies at The University of Queensland. Working an Audrey Hepburn like fringe she turns to her co-founder –who resembles a young Florence Welch and smiles, “I asked Maddy if she would like to do it. The next week we had our first meeting on her back deck and researched the different roles involved and brainstormed concepts.” “It was just us, so I shotted being Art Director,” laughs Maddy who designs and creates the layout of the magazine –also a second year student, studying Business and Design at Queensland University of Technology. “A few days later

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JOUR2811 – Feature Article

Stephanie Brownlee

Nicole suggested the name IZE, inspired by the Strokes song, ‘Ize of the World’.” After more planning over burgers at Grill’d, the pair wasted no time launching their “proxy website”, the IZE blog and released their first issue in January 2011. There have been six issues since –each with their own theme evoking IZE’s edgy and creative style. “The first four issues had quite a change in aesthetic but now it is more uniform –I’m keeping the same fonts,” laughs Maddy.   Like any online publication surviving in the age of iPads and Web 3.0, IZE has a social media presence. The magazine’s Blog posts, updates and behind the scene shoots amongst other things feature across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Tumblr. “It can be difficult maintaining cross-platform communication,” explains Nicole. “Facebook generates the most traffic in terms of readers, although it has become quite restrictive since the site went public.” Maddy continues to clarify, “a new Facebook page model means only about 30% of our followers see the release of new issues. We try to post more regularly and tag contributors –stylists, writers, photographers, anyone we can, so their friend networks can see it as well.” One only has to glance at the back page of IZE to see the substantial list of contributors each season. “As we progressed, we decided we wanted it to be a platform for Brisbane creators,” explains Nicole. “For our first issue, Maddy photographed, our friend modelled, we used our own clothes and shot it next to Maddy’s house. Now we usually don’t have to do any of that. We’ll shoot at different locations with a makeup artist, fashion stylist, clothes from local designers like Diaz and House of Cards, a hair stylist, a photographer and professional models –we have so many contributors.” Maddy beamed, “we’re branching out a little bit internationally for the next issue too –an overseas blogger would like to contribute to the magazine.”   Last year, Brisbane Blogger and student of Journalism and Law, Caitlin Low also expressed her interest in writing for IZE after finding it through a classmate’s blog. “I was incredibly impressed by IZE’s design and content, especially considering how new it was –it is the kind of alternative, zine-like publication I love supporting,” explains Caitlin. “I was even more surprised to learn that the brains behind IZE, Nicole and Maddy, were my age.” “They invited me on board with heartening encouragement, and that was that. I wrote a feature for their first autumn issue about the season’s most anticipated music, film and festival events. Brisbane is such a young city, brimming with restless creatives. We all want to get our work out there, but unlike larger cities in terms of media like Sydney and Melbourne, there are few platforms for us to do so. A lot here is independently driven, but it creates an alternative vibe. We’re Australia’s oddball little city,” muses Caitlin. “IZE is a great addition to our portfolios. We know it’s about more than having a good GPA,” emphasises Nicole, who’s dream it is to work at Oyster Magazine, 2


JOUR2811 – Feature Article

Stephanie Brownlee

Triple J and perhaps later down the track, in political reporting. “We will start to further develop our media kit, integrate marketing campaigns and an advertising plan with the help of Grace Gannon, a business student majoring in advertising and marketing. We met her at a party and gave her our card,” they laugh.   “From what I’ve experienced working on IZE, it would be cool to create the graphic layout of magazines as a career. I’d also love to do web design and development –it’s something that’s both creative and practical,” says Madeline. “We’re actually thinking, eventually, to develop an iPad App for IZE as interactive magazines are increasingly popular.” Clearly embracing their studies, the city and exploring it’s diversity in scope to establish and create, Maddy, Nicole and IZE’s band of ever eager contributors are showcasing the capacity of contemporary young professionals. “We’re sticking with IZE for the moment,” nod Maddy and Nicole. “We love creating it more than anything else and received just above 50,000 page impressions on the last issue –it may take off.” Indeed, when ‘ize’ alone is typed into Google, the magazine is indexed before The Strokes song.

     

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IZE of Brisbane  
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