It is just four years since Greece had to call in the IMF to shore up its economy. Since this catastrophe the country’s national income has declined by 25%, while the national unemployment rate has rocketed to 27% with more than 58% of young people under 25 years of age out of work. Now that Greece is emerging from this difficult period it is good to hear about one particular Greek creative business fighting back and aiming its sights on entrepreneurial export-led international initiatives.
Angelos Tzigkounakis, an MA Publishing 2007 alumnus from London College of Communication, explains in an interview with Course Leader Desmond O’Rourke how his media and magazine publishing company in Athens responded to these challenges with some creative solutions.
Tell us more about your publishing house and its titles:
ek architecture+design is a Greek publishing house with a total of seven editions (one monthly and six annual) all related to architecture, design and the built environment. EK magazine, Villas, Apartments, Maison de Campagne, Products, Contemporary Apartment Blocks and MykonosVillas aim to display contemporary architecture to a wide audience but specifically to professionals. Featuring buildings and interior space, articles on constructions and construction methods, tributes to Greek architects, and updates on architectural and design events in Greece and abroad, our magazines have been for 20 years at the forefront of the architectural press in Greece.
What is your personal involvement with the business?
Following the end of my MA studies in London, I returned to Greece and rejoined the family publishing house team. From the beginning my main aim was to refresh the images of our publications, making them more attractive and up to date design-wise. The magazines held a dominant position in the Greek market, but taking into consideration not only the economic situation in Greece but also the need to expand and evolve, it was my firm belief that we should focus on trying to export some of our magazines abroad. Exporting the magazines to the UK market was our first target.
My two-year spell in the UK put me in a position to be able to research further the dominant architectural magazines of the market abroad. The research strengthened my belief that our publications, with some necessary alterations and a good redesign, could hold a firm position in the very competitive UK market. Following discussions and meetings with local UK distributors we agreed terms with our first choice, Comag. Sales were positive, and we decided to move on to other markets. Currently, Villas, Maison de Campagne, MykonosVillas and Apartments are circulated in 10 countries (Greece, Cyprus, UK, Turkey, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain, China and Taiwan).
What is the target readership for these four titles?
All four magazines are bilingual editions (Greek-English) and have as their main target group upper-middle and upper-class individuals, architects, interior designers, civil engineers, construction companies, hotels, museums and others. The unique characteristic of all four magazines is that every year they are 100% redesigned (except for the content of course), making each issue very different from the others.
Luxurious bilingual and international bookazine highlighting contemporary exterior and interior design trends through thorough presentations of expensive residencies that combine modern aesthetic tastes and technological innovation.
Maison de Campagne
An annual edition featuring fascinating residences located in the countryside, designed by the most notable architectural offices.
Bilingual and international bookazine featuring unique apartments designed by top architectural firms.
Luxurious bilingual bookazine where plasticity blends with modern architectural forms, through presentations of selected Mykonian villas of a unique aesthetic situated in dream locations.
Why do you use print media for the magazine titles, rather than digital products and platforms?
I firmly believe that print media is the most appropriate means for specialised publications such as those dealing with architecture and design. In general though, print media is not dead and never will be. Things of course have changed a lot during recent decades. Nowadays, it is absolutely necessary to be able to deliver your content in all possible ways that the user desires to receive it. Print, online, applications… all work well individually but work even better together.
Why did you take the titles global? Is this the future?
In our effort to expand and evolve we realised that taking the titles global was a one-way road to future existence and eventually success. After all, architecture and design is not local but universal.
How would you describe your role at ek architecture+design?
My role consists of multiple tasks in almost every field that has to do with the magazine. The most important:
- Editor in Chief: Having final responsibility for a publication’s operations and policies.
- Communications Manager: Responsible for contacts with architectural offices to present their work in our magazines and contacts with brands in order to advertise their products in our magazines.
- Digital Media Supervisor: website and social media editor
What was the best thing you enjoyed about your time on the MA Publishing course?
It was a great opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world, learn from visiting professionals in the field, and be guided with expertise into the world of publishing by my tutors.
If you were to sum up LCC in three words, what would they be?
Read about MA Publishing