New issue of Positive News magazine offers serious optimism

Illustrator Noma Bar produces iconic illustrated cover for Positive News magazine, as part of its perspective-shifting approach

The latest edition of Positive News magazine, featuring a striking cover illustration by Noma Bar, reaches members and shop shelves this week, showcasing intelligent journalism about positive developments worldwide.

The issue’s cover story explores the progress being made for the world’s estimated 67 million domestic workers, and is accompanied by a trademark ’double take’ image by the Israeli-born illustrator.

Bar’s award-winning work has appeared in books and publications around the world, including the New York Times and the Guardian. His distinctive, deceptively-simple style made him a fitting collaborator for Positive News, a magazine that fuses rigorous journalism about progress and possibility with inspiring, beautiful design.

Positive News editor-in-chief, Seán Dagan Wood, said: “In the same way that our constructive journalism offers a different mindset and a different lens on important issues, Noma Bar’s illustrations are also perspective-shifting.

“For our cover story we wanted to reveal how migrant domestic workers worldwide are improving their lives and opportunities, while highlighting the exploitation they still face. Noma’s cover does that by immediately engaging the reader in a positive way, through the colours and imagery, while in the detail revealing the human struggle in the story.

“Having rebranded and launched our new magazine at the start of the year, we wanted a strong follow-up to the relaunch issue. Working with Noma, who provided such an iconic illustrated cover for us, was the perfect way to do it.”

The brief worked well with Bar’s style of illustration, which strives to show the people hidden behind well-known objects and subjects. “That was what I wanted to communicate” said Bar, “the human behind everyday scenarios that are invisible to everyone.”

I wanted to communicate the human behind everyday scenarios that are invisible to everyone

Across 84 carefully-designed pages, the 2016 second-quarter issue of Positive News explores a diverse range of subjects through the magazine’s solutions-focused lens. It includes a look at advances made by those in the transgender community, how social inclusion rather than punishment is working to tackle drug abuse, and how society’s relationship with possessions could be evolving into something more fulfilling.

In the Constructive Conversation, one of the magazine’s new regular sections, two thought leaders are challenged to find common ground, this time on whether a basic income could help create a fairer society. And in line with a desire to go beyond headlines that come and go, the What Happened Next? section returns to stories reported previously to track how things have developed since.

The edition also introduces the theme of #seriousoptimism, in line with Positive News’ testament that good journalism can be about good things – that rigorous reporting does not necessarily have to spell doom and gloom. It is the second edition designed by London-based Studio Blackburn, the same creative force behind Positive News’ rebrand. The agency is now working with the magazine’s editorial team to forge a new path of magazine design and constructive content.

Paul Blackburn from Studio Blackburn said: “In this, the second magazine that we’ve designed for Positive News, we feel that we’ve raised the bar and expanded the scope of what we can do with it. It’s great to have been able to put Noma Bar’s unique talent to worthy and appropriate use – and to hopefully demonstrate to other creatives the opportunities out there to work with Positive News.”

The relaunch, in January 2016, took place after Positive News became the first global media co-operative financed through crowdfunding. Following its 30-day #OwnTheMedia campaign in July 2015, it is now co-owned by 1,526 readers, journalists and supporters from 33 countries. The £263,000 investment raised by the ‘community share offer’, is enabling Positive News to roll out a new business model. The aim is to grow its reach and make the print and digital publication financially sustainable long-term, with the move to a magazine just one part of this.

To get Positive News magazine and support its journalism, join as a member.