It is the sister publication of that great German weekly, Die Zeit, and now Zeit Magazin publishes in English, with a complilation of the best that publication has to offer, especially its award-winning photography. And the design is also worth taking a look!
From the time I first went to work with the talented team of Die Zeit, I have admired Zeitmagazin—the exclusive content, the topics covered, the minimalist but efficient and aesthetically pleasing design and the use of photos. I often thought that Zeit Magazin of the 1990s had a little bit of the old LIFE Magazine, along with the long reads that one would expect from National Geographic, The New Yorker and the Sunday New York Times Magazine. (For the record, the old ZEITmagazin of the 1990s was closed down in 1999. The new ZEITmagazin was brought back in 2007, at which time it was given a totally different look under the direction of creative director Mirko Borsche).
Except that I could only look at Zeitmagazin and admire it for its visuals. That's why I am so happy to see the first two editions of Zeit Magazin International—in English.
“Hello, world,” is how Jurgen Von Rutenberg, the executive editor of Zeitmagazin’s international edition, welcomed readers to the first edition of his magazine in English. “Can you read this? Good, then we’ll do this in English. Since Zeitmagazin usually speaks German, it may feel strange at first – like that little shock of being on vacation somewhere and suddenly hearing an old friend speak a foreign language for the first time. It can be awkward. But you get used to it sooner or later, and after a while you don’t even notice it anymore.”
I have been in touch with Christoph Amend, editor in chief of Zeitmagazin, to find out more about the decison to publish this revered publication in English. According to Christoph, the idea of launching an English-language version of Zeitmagazin gained traction over several years of working with an increasingly international group of photographers, writers, designers, and artists “who kept telling us how much they liked the look of our magazine but regretted the language barrier. So we decided to give it a go.”
Mario: What was the decisive moment when you and your team decided to go ahead with an English edition?
Two years ago I had lunch with Brigitte Lacombe, the great French photographer, who’s based in New York. Brigitte had just started a weekly ZEITmagazin column “The Moment”, that would run for a year. She told me how much she liked the design of the magazine, the way we present our stories, how we handle photography. Then she added in a sentence that made something click in my mind: “I wish I could read it.”
I went back to our office after lunch, and we started working on our international issue right away.
Mario: So now you knew you wanted to push for an English language edition, so what happened next? Who did you have to convince?
The original concept was to take the best stories of the past weeks and months, edit them and translate them into English.
So you will read 10 to 15 cover stories from the weekly in every international issue. Recently we’ve started adding exclusive columns. Bernd Ulrich, the deputy editor of DIE ZEIT newspaper, writes a column called “The Merkel State Of Mind”, and ZEIT magazin’s style director Tillmann Prüfer asks successful people what lessons they’ve learned from a lifetime in business. His column is called “Learning by doing.”
When we launched ZEITmagazin – The Berlin State Of Mind , we wanted it to travel the world. Last year we celebrated the launch of our fall issue in New York, this spring we went to Paris, and this fall we went to Amsterdam and Athens.
Mario: How has it been received?
When I was in Milan a while ago a woman told me something in a way that only Italians can do: “Christoph, I’ve been looking at the beautiful house called ZEIT for such s long time. With this magazine in English you gave me the keys to enter.”
Creative Director Mirko Borsche
Art Director Jasmin Müller-Stoy