Spread from the May 2014 issue of N by Norwegian.

Spread from the May 2014 issue of N by Norwegian.

Spread from the May 2014 issue of N by Norwegian.

Spread from the May 2014 issue of N by Norwegian.

Spread from the May 2014 issue of N by Norwegian.

Now I was lucky enough to be given the heads up by Andrew Humphreys, the Editorial Director of my old company Ink Global, about a project the company had successfully completed for their client Norwegian Airlines.

When Design Director at Ink, I championed out-of-the-box thinking and it’s this kind of project (currently onboard Norwegian), where an editorial team, a sales team and an established photographer go on a field trip, that can yield phenomenal results in the field of publishing.

“It might seem a little singular to devote 30 pages to one destination, but then Svalbard is a unique and fascinating place and somewhere very few people have ever been (and are ever likely to go). There is a precedent here in magazines like Boat, which devotes each entire issue to one city – and Boat, incidentally, is one of the magazines featured in a story on the new independent travel mag scene that also runs in May’s N by Norwegian.” Andrew concludes on the cover story of the latest issue of the monthly magazine.

“The 30 pages are not just one story, of course, but a multitude of stories. We are introduced to a cross-section of Svalbard residents including mariners, miners, hostel queens and the go-to guy for polar bears.” Mr Humphreys continues, “We visit a Russian mining town that was abandoned in a single day in 1998; Spitsbergen’s northernmost cabin where fresh water comes courtesy of a nearby glacier; and discover a wasteland composed of the bones of 550 Beluga whales.

We eat smoked whale and reindeer sausage, travel by dog sled and have a crafty fag in an old bus converted into a smoking room. It’s not just one destination, it’s a whole other world.”

Whilst Rickard Westin, Art Director of the magazine isn’t exactly a novice in the Scandinavian world (originally designing excellent ‘outdoors’ magazines from the region), he brings a contemporary, fresh and well balanced design to the magazine. It feels on point. With a grid structure that allows for freedom in layouts, and his adapt hand that screams ‘less is more’ lets the beautiful images (shot by Tim E White) in this mammoth in-depth journalistic piece, speak volumes. The infographics used add a subtle depth, which work in harmony with the design of the piece.

It really is nice to see magazines – especially in-flight magazines – pushing the envelope in design and concept. It’s an issue like this, that whilst being a wonderful gem, help re-enforce the argument that inflight magazines should always be in print. If this issue doesn’t win an award, we’d be surprised.

The May issue will be available on Ink Global’s N by Norwegian page soon.

Read more about airlines, airports, and design at TheDesignAir, a Skift content partner.