Leafing through the library of Ink Global’s (world’s largest in-flight publisher) magazines, Gulf Life sprang out as one good looking title. With a new lease of life it seems and printed on quality stock, the magazine aims to impress, and certainly tries to punch above its weight for Gulf Air, the smaller of the Gulf carriers. A modern, fresh redesign screams of a love-child between titles Monocle and Wired. Simple and clean info-graphics, icons, illustrations and bold photography pepper through the title. Even the subject matter is modern and reflective of the ever increasing international influence within the Gulf. This issue ‘Afghanistan Skateboarding’ steals the cover story, while in the previous title showcased the Olympics in a modern and inclusive format.

Gulf Life manages to deal with a dual language exceptionally well. Arabic and English flow with each other, intertwining through the features, and the text is treated with consideration, white space and dynamic text-box shapes used to decorate and merge the languages, rather than segregating them.

The nicest and simplest motif that runs through the magazine is that of a softly edged hexagon, reminiscent of the lattice work found heavily prominent in the Gulf. It cleverly houses icons, photos, even as page furniture. Subtly reinforcing a solid look and feel. Gulf Life also seems to manage an odd columned grid. (seven columns at my calculation) which is a rather challenging grid to execute in the publishing world, but tackles it with ease, providing it with a further point of difference from other titles out there.

Editorially there is a fantastic mix within the magazine, touching on the luxury, but still finding hidden gems within their destinations. A slightly humorous tone exists within the English, keeping the copy from being too dry. Whether that translates in to the Arabic, I’m not sure, as sadly I don’t read Arabic. Although a title like this makes me want to learn.

An interesting point to mention is the route map, (historically, one of the most looked at pages within an in-flight magazine) takes pride of place at the front of the magazine (which is the back of the magazine for Arabic readers ) showcasing their network, inspiring future travel from the outset.

Posted by:Jonny Clark

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