An Ode to Queerness and its Nuances

Condé Nast on their 10 rules for crafting best-in-class editorial: to know your audience is to create for them.

Queer stories have historically been hidden, rewritten or erased entirely. Where does one begin portraying Queerness in its full spectrum? By giving LGBTQIA+ folks a platform to tell their stories, in full technicolour and nuance.

With a focus on storytelling, British Vogue crafted a visually breathtaking Pride campaign for Ralph Lauren. It centres on three love stories: one of self-love, one of platonic love and one of romance. Each journey is told through cinematic vignettes, featuring reflections on partnership, community, and culture—garnering Condé Nast a Lovie Award and People’s Lovie for Best Multimedia Storytelling.

We spoke with Helen Anglim, Director of Condé Nast Commercial Creative, and Hannah Goldhill Watts, the Creative Strategist behind the campaign, for a behind-the-scenes look at the editorial process that cemented them in the upper echelons of the global publishing space.

  • What's your rule for landing on a creative and fresh idea? What does it take to think outside the box when everyone's trying to do the same?

    At Condé Nast, storytelling is at the heart of everything we do. Each of our brands serves as a platform for compelling narratives, and at CNCC UK, we reflect this. As a rule, we try to bring forward stories that are either completely new or told from a new angle.

    For example, in our collaboration with Ralph Lauren on Love Stories, we focused on showcasing untold stories of queer love.

  • What's your rule for taking the brainstorm to idea, then to brief? How and where does it all start?

    We always aim to gather as many perspectives as possible during the initial ideation sessions. From there, we edit and distil the ideas to create something that resonates with our audiences.

    If we boiled this down to a rule, it would be: collect broadly, distil carefully.

“We wanted to make sure we reflected the diversity of our audience and that every aspect resonated with them.”

Helen Anglim, Director, Condé Nast Commercial Creative
  • What’s your rule for aligning your idea with the audience you’re creating for? How do you meet them in the middle?

    We know our audience very well and we work closely with our insights and editorial teams from start to finish on every project. This ensures our audience is considered throughout the entire process.

    Considering our audience was especially important when we were producing Love Stories, which at its heart is a Pride celebration. We wanted to make sure we reflected the diversity of our audience and that every aspect resonated with them.

  • What's your rule for beginning to map out the project's different components—from sound and creative to tone, format and beyond?

    Keep it consistent. We manage to do this because we know our brands and their tones of voice. This consistency is again supported by the expertise of our Editorial teams and our Insights team, who provide us with really valuable qualitative and quantitative data.

  • How and where does collaboration with different sectors fit in your process—either internally, externally or both? What’s your rule for bringing different minds together on a project?

    Collaboration is key at every stage of the project. Our initial ideation sessions always involve a diverse group of thinkers to ensure we landed on a creative concept that not only satisfies the client but also resonates with our audience.

    We then bring in our external collaborators once we establish the project’s direction. This allows us to layer in their perspectives while maintaining focus and coherence in our approach.

On Romantic Partners: Tristram Wyatt and Robert Taylor
On Chosen Family: Ebun Sodipo and Chloe Filani 
On Self-Love: June Lam
  • What's the one thing that's a must-have in your arsenal for every project?

    A producer that appreciates and understands the need to consider each and every detail.

  • On the flip, what's the one thing you always try to avoid?

    Only considering one perspective.

  • Did you mess up? How did you fix it? What’s your rule for bouncing back from a misstep?

    In general, we are strong believers in overcommunication and open communication, which typically mitigates any mistakes!

  • How do you know when to stop? And where? What’s your rule for reviewing the initial versions of a project to produce the final iteration?

    Being completely fluent in the visual language of our brands and having a thorough understanding of our partner brands identity. This allows us to understand what’s working, when we need to push the project and when we’ve reached the campaign’s full potential.

  • What is your North Star guiding principle, mantra or philosophy for making standout work?

    Can I explain the idea in one sentence?


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