The story of a two-man studio taking on a significant project for one of the world’s biggest brands. It’s only through reflection that I have begun to appreciate what we accomplished. We created the Vogue Arabia brand and we launched this new edition of Vogue somewhere it had never been before. This project mattered. And we succeeded.
This story has taken me a little time to tell. I’ve been busy working with other brands, but that’s not the reason. The truth is, I never truly appreciated the significance of my role in this project until recently, and it begins with how my agency, Bonne Marque, just a two-man design and writing partnership in Bulgaria, landed the massive branding and design project to launch a new edition of Vogue in Arabia.
During my time at Bonne Marque, I wrote everything under the agency’s name, under the strict principles that defined our aggressive and driven brand character while also leaving room for imagination. Minimalism works. It attracts the clients to where you want them to focus, and if there are any gaps, the client fills the gaps themselves, with exactly they want to hear. We had complete control. On the face of it, we were just a two-man team in an unfashionable Balkan country, but my writing and my partner’s design attracted the most fashionable and iconic brand in the world. My writing gave Vogue and Condé Nast the confidence that no other agency were up to the task.
They saw things in my writing that they saw in themselves. Everything I had written under Bonne Marque’s name, occasionally in the face of disrupting the friendly industry in which we operated, with challenge and resistance, had been leading up to this point. My writing was honest and true to the talents of our agency, and I was honored to hear that we were chosen to launch Vogue Arabia because of my writing.
This demonstrates not only a knowledge of brand strategy and how to express brand values through copy, but also a determination to follow through on principles. It’s not always easy to disrupt. Going with the flow is the smoother journey. But life is an adventure, and I intend to live it.
My role in the actual project can be divided twofold: I was writing with the editor in chief, a bona fide Arabian princess: Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, and I was Creative Director of the project, helping to establish the nature of Vogue Arabia and what distinguishes it from other Vogue editions, and ensuring that everything we were creating was consistent with our brand vision.
I enjoyed working with Deena. She was always forthright and dedicated to the success of Vogue Arabia. Together, we worked on press releases, articles which were published under her name, copy for the website, campaign ideas, and any other writing task that came up. The Creative Direction of the project was smooth. I had a perfect working relationship with my partner, the designer Alex Engzell, and, as always, it was just a case of leading the freelancers we hired to help with the project and getting our heads down and working with the relentless passion that shaped every day of our lives.
Vogue Arabia still carries the brand we created. We launched the website that they still use today. It was a huge success and I should have written about it sooner. The truth is, I failed to appreciate what a feat it was to land, direct, and launch a project of such magnitude. I’m more experienced now, and I’ve seen plenty of projects fail and succeed. I’ve been through a lot, and I still haven’t seen another case of such a tiny team taking on the world and making a damn fine success of it like Alex and I did with Vogue Arabia. If that’s not worth talking about then I don’t know what is.