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Distilled Magazine



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With eight issues of this passion publication now on the shelves, it’s intriguing to reflect on how Distilled got started and what makes it so successful. Twice a year, readers are transported to diverse and unique places and people in the distilled world while they sit in a quiet room on a comfortable chair.

A wife and husband team – Johanna Ngoh and Charles Anderson – have hosted Toronto’s premier whisky tasting event Spirit of Toronto since 2004. In 2016 they said to each other “let’s publish a magazine” and, as usual, every step exceptional: Unlike most magazines today, all of their features are original, independent works specially commissioned for Distilled.

In their own words… “We love well-made, thoughtfully crafted spirits. We travel the world to visit their makers, explore their terroir, and share their stories … with like-minded readers who have a respect for artisanal pursuits, tradition and craftsmanship, and who enjoy the spirited life intelligently and in moderation.”

Johanna sought out David Berman Communications to help them design their publication based on a recommendation from her father who had worked with David in the past. When he paired them with senior graphic designer Cynthia Hoffos, we expected great results. However, no one could predict the collaboration would result in such a unique synergy of designer and client. The blend of Johanna, Charles, and Cynthia has resulted in perfect blends again and again.

Johanna and Charles had a clear vision for their magazine and they needed to work with a designer who could make this vision come to life. Cynthia explains: “Our process began by going through a deep analysis of all the elements they wanted to include in the magazine to create our ideal reader profile. Once that was finalized, we began to work on the flat plan, the schedule, the print specifications and finally the fun stuff: the look and feel. When we gave ourselves three weeks to choose the typeface for body copy and captions, I knew I had found my people!”

Their love and respect for great typography bonded the relationship. Their passion for the well-crafted spilled over into hiring amazing photographers, illustrators, and storytellers. It’s a dream project for any graphic designer. The magazine’s design has evolved delicately from issue to issue as its voice and personality develops, but the initial deep dive into design research served us well: the bones have remained in place.

Here’s raising a fine tasting glass to a couple whose integrity, passion, and belief in the printed word have inspired thousands of readers to seek out and enjoy the very best spirits the world has to offer.


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