How To Make A Magazine: Advice From The Creator Of BROAD Magazine

Documentary and editorial photographer Gergő Farkas shares his hard-won advice for aspiring magazine creators.

Photo by Asterios Moutsokapas

When I discovered that two Creative Pulse community members had collaborated on making a gorgeous magazine—with submissions by creatives all over the globe—I needed to know more.

Gergő Farkas talked to us about the process, mistakes, and lessons learned while creating the first print issue of BROAD Magazine.


Q. What made you want to start a magazine?

A. I started BROAD Magazine as an Instagram feed 3 years ago when I had some downtime in the winter. I have been working as a photographer for quite some time and was looking for a new outlet where I could flex my creative muscle without too many boundaries and was different from my day to day work. It was simply an experiment in creativity which slowly started gathering a community of like minded individuals.

I was sharing a lot on Instagram and on other platforms at the time, as many other photographers do. But it felt like something important was missing from the conversation happening there. There had to be something else beyond gaining new followers and likes, the whole thing felt so vain and self serving but at the same time it was all very exciting and there was something very democratic about the way all these images and stories were out there being shared by everyone. 

I wanted to create something that had a more valuable message. Something that makes you think and feel and reach beyond collecting random but albeit very beautiful photographs. 

Over time the feed started to gain a global following. I also started a website with the same name to have a presence beyond social media and was regularly getting submissions from all over the world through it. 

At this point, the project was screaming at me to make something tangible out of it. I named the magazine BROAD because I wanted it to be able to talk about anything, and I didn’t want it to be pigeonholed into one genre. I really wanted to make something about the world, and about humanity and how we’re all connected. 

With the rise of populism in politics and all the misinformation and fake news out there, I felt there was a need for something genuine and grassroots. I know it sounds very naive but it was my way of trying to make the world a slightly better place and to try to explore the human experience from different angles. 

I loved the idea that we could create something with input from all over the world using the power of social media and express ideas and talk about issues that are globally relevant. So that was and still is the premise of BROAD and how it came to be. 

Q. What was the starting point for actually making the magazine?

A. A team started to form slowly as BROAD was growing online. 

First, I’ve become friends with Marlène Meyer-Dunker (@reppink) from Germany. She was a very prominent figure in her own right in the Instagram community we built and she started curating her own section on the feed every Wednesday which became insanely popular. It is an amazing collaboration that lasts to this day and even though we have never met in person we work so well together and I hope we can continue doing that for a long time. She has such a creative eye, and has a huge impact on the look of the magazine. 

I was pretty much designing the zine myself until I met Andrew Scherle at Creative Pulse. He is a super talented graphic and brand designer and by the way makes the most unbelievably delicious bread! We hit it off and became friends over time, attending more and more Creative Pulse events. 

I showed him what I was working on and he offered that he wouldn’t mind having a look at my initial design. After three weeks he turned my rudimentary idea into something that was jumping off the page. Andrew has put his mark on the zine not just with the design but helping with artistic and creative direction as well. Our collaboration helped refine the original idea and communicate our message so much more effectively. 

It was great to have someone to bounce ideas off of, or when I felt stuck he would always have a good idea to make things work. I think it was a creative challenge for both of us, and the friendship we gained over this is also a very valuable part of my life now. 

So we could say Creative Pulse changed my life in a significant way. Armed with a powerful visual voice I knew we were ready to make this project real. 

Magazine theme

Q. Can you tell us about the process you used to make the first issue of BROAD?

A. There are many ways to make a magazine, but I wanted to focus on a clear topic with each issue for maximum impact. I’ve always enjoyed delving into seemingly random topics and seeing what I can find and unearth. 

I picked water as the theme for the first issue because I wanted to make a point about something important that we all equally need no matter where we live. Climate change is always at the forefront of conversations in my immediate circle and the disconnect between our society and the environment and how we’re dealing with this crisis is something that cannot be ignored anymore. Water is crucial, life-affirming and also beautiful. So it seemed like the perfect place to start to me.

Our Instagram feed had over 50,000 followers at the time, and when I announced that we were accepting submissions I immediately received close to a thousand submissions from every corner of the planet. This is when it really hit me that my little creative exercise has grown into something much bigger and gave me a new sense of purpose. 

Our editorial process was initially quite slow and painful as I’ve never done anything like this before. 

This is when I’ve realized that I’m doing a project that’s usually done by a team of editors. It took me months to sort out the submissions and I slowly started chewing through the content and forming a narrative I actually enjoyed reading and looking at. 

The arc of the content started to form as I started breaking down the selected works into different areas of interest. It was a very organic process since I had no idea what people would submit so the narrative was definitely built out of this communal effort to bring the content together. 

We’ve done interviews and started working with our contributors one on one to really hash out each individual piece. 

There were sections where multiple people would collaborate, and we’ve also had a few stand alone pieces that really stood out and they had their own place in the narrative. 

We went from how life started in the ocean on a molecular level to how different cultures enjoy bathing. Then we explored what it’s like to live on remote islands and observed how Cape Town battled their water crisis and found a new way to preserve and protect their water supply by bringing their community together. 

There are so many different stories and angles in there. It’s really quite remarkable how it all came together and can’t wait to do the same with another topic. 

This process was a lot of work and felt quite messy but very liberating and created a powerful result in the end.

Q. What mistakes or pitfalls should a first-timer be aware of when creating a magazine?

A. One of first mistakes was getting visual content ready when the copy was still a work in progress. Because of this, the design continuously kept changing.

Alexa Fahlman, a talented writer and photographer, joined our editorial team in the middle of the project after finishing her degree in English Literature in the UK. She made sure all the content was clearly understandable and in the end had a huge impact on the cohesiveness of the magazine. As Alexa was editing the copy, Andrew kept changing the layout, which we quickly realized was totally backwards and will be doing it differently in the next issue. 

Another mistake I made was underestimating the cost and difficulty of printing a high concept magazine like this. We wanted to keep the magazine advertising free to not contend with the message, and to keep the community feel of the project. We don’t try to sell anything other than an idea of global collaboration. 

That sounds good on paper, but you better have deep pockets to pay for it all. Printing is expensive and it’s a whole other beast. We wanted to do the printing locally in Vancouver but ended up in a bind because of it as the cost almost broke the project. We have found some alternative options that are still environmentally friendly and fit our vision but it took some considerable research and shopping around. I’d love to stay local with the printing but at the present time all the options were insanely expensive. Having a sponsor of some sorts could help, but that remains to be seen if we can find an organization that aligns with our vision and could help fund BROAD in the future. 

Lastly, I greatly underestimated the time it would take to put something like this together. The project slowly started to consume all my free time and I was lucky that I was able to reach out and get help when I needed it. Now that we have a team, it’s a whole different feel and I am actually really looking forward to starting a new issue from scratch with them and I think the work will progress a lot faster as well. 

Q. Where can we get a copy of BROAD magazine?

A. It’s easy to grab a copy directly through our site:

We are also planning pop up shows in Vancouver and other cities and currently talking with distributors in our bigger markets so we should show up in one of your favourite indie bookstores fairly soon!

Want To Create Your Own Magazine?

Read Gergő Farkas’s pre-launch checklist for aspiring magazine creators.

Ami Sanyal
Ami has helped over 430 business owners connect with millions of prospects online.

As a marketing consultant and coach for client-based business owners, Ami specializes in helping experts attract ideal clients — predictably.

Formerly a freelance photographer, Ami has photographed celebrities like Jay-Z, Coldplay, and Olympic athletes.

He’s the proud co-founder of Creative Pulse and has led its volunteer team since 2014.

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