Wayward Arts counterculture theme explored with photography and typography

Re:Form explores a range of cultural concepts within counterculture


"One of our favourite things to do is to come up with concept photography that centres around people, situations and styles, and then incorporate subtle typography to let the images really shine," explains Garnet Armstrong, Creative Director at Re:Form. 


For content, Re:Form looked into past and present styles from both popular culture and counter culture. "Many trends were seen as part of a counter culture movement in their own time, but are now firmly planted in the mainstream," Garnet explains. The result is a publication that walks the line between aggressive, controversial subject matter and less shocking, more socially acceptable material. 


In their design decisions, the team emphasized contrast and the element of surprise. "We always thought that the cover should be dark, stark and imposing to contrast the imagery that bursts with colour inside. We used strike through AQ varnishes on the cover and throughout, to integrate the writing and design details so that the reader would find new things every time they opened the magazine."


The magazine tells five different stories about counterculture: anime, hipster, fetish, punk and tattoo.  


"We went to Anime North (a popular festival where all the kids dress up as their favourite characters) with the photo team and took pictures of the attendees outside. As we shot them, we took down their personal information and then later contacted our favourites to invite them to be in the main shoot. Those who agreed to come showed up exactly as they are in the photos. There was no fashion styling or hair and make-up at all; it was all them." 



"For the 'Hipster' story, we wanted to showcase and celebrate the culture in a really over-the-top way. Instead of using real people, we hired models and styled them to look the part. The props on the shoot were a big part of it, but we also found a location that had an eclectic feel, so it just needed a few key pieces to bring the environment to life."



"The 'Fetish' story was shot at a mansion in Montreal. All the models, the stylist and the photographer are in the top of the fashion world in Canada right now. This was handled like a fashion magazine creative shoot, but with a provocative edge." 



"For the 'Punk' story, we used a team with a history in music imaging. To achieve the era we combined the British Sex Pistol type layouts with New York punk fashion styling of the late 70’s, early 80’s. The typography was pulled from punk flyers and the images were shot on film and Polaroid. The black rip across the first page is a piece of paper that got processed in the film by mistake. The fashion styling is the star of this story." 



"The 'Tattoo' story was shot in Montreal with a popular portrait/ fashion photographer. The idea here was to do intimate close-up portraits of people with tattoos that are intertwined with their lifestyles. All the subjects are people who the photographer knows personally; they are not models." 



The process involved multiple photo shoots with different subjects, photographers, locations and props, which was a challenge to coordinate. "Most often when people donate their services on a creative labour of love such as this, they understandably expect creative freedom. Through many conversations and creative collaboration, we think it worked out wonderfully. We are so grateful that so many talented people put everything they had into this issue with us!"


About Wayward Arts
Wayward Arts is a monthly publication printed by Flash Reproductions. A different design firm is invited to curate each issue, changing the design, layout, colours, mood and paper to reflect their interpretation of the year’s over-arching theme.


Copies can be obtained by request by emailing 

Follow Wayward Arts on Facebook and Twitter.