Meet the Mag - Cocoa & Jasmine

  • 4 min read

There’s a new magazine on the Pics & Ink shelf, Cocoa & Jasmine. We’ve had our eye on this one for a while and we’re thrilled to have copies of issue 4 (The Traveller’s Issue) and Issue 5 in the shop now.

It’s part travel, part culture magazine with each issue taking you to incredible places, exploring them through their architecture, textiles and creative communities and musing on how these traditional crafts have shaped the culture, buildings and identity of each place.

We love that it explores places we don’t usually read about, like Samarkand and Bukhara in Uzbekistan, or the beautiful and colourful Shekhawati and Channapatna in India. The editor’s creative background shines through in stories about ethical tours in Morocco or traditional textile crafts in Punjab.

We sat down with creator and editor, Sayali Goyal to find out a bit more about the magazine.

Cocoa & Jasmine Issue 4 cover  Cocoa & Jasmine Issue 5 cover

Meet the Mag

Thank you Sayali. Let’s start at the beginning. What inspired you to start Cocoa & Jasmine?

I was travelling in south India and the inspiration really came with the spiritual experience that travel brings with its sense of freedom, discovery, human connection and I think we all turn into storytellers. I was trained as a textile designer in London, and being a visual person, I automatically started to document my travels. It was when I came across some indie publications like Cereal magazine and Monocle, I really liked the format of a book style publication that became a tool for my visual and storytelling expression. Travel and textile are still the core of the magazine.


And where did the name come from?

The name is from the cocoa fields of Coonoor and Madurai fields of jasmine (both in Tamil Nadu).

Who is the team behind Cocoa & Jasmine? Where are you based and what does a typical day look like working on the magazine? 

I am the Creative Director, key reporter and documentor, and Editor at both the publication and creative agency. We have a pool of writers we work with for each issue, illustrators, graphic designers and photographers who freelance for us and are based around different parts in India. My home studio is in Delhi at the moment, and I spend a lot of time in Jaipur too. But I think being a traveller requires a certain amount of flexibility in terms of space and team, and this model works well for us. A typical day has a lot of coffee, daydreaming, making lists, client calls, walks in the park to refresh, moodboarding, team calls and some time for designing and writing. 


Cocoa & Jasmine is also a cultural agency and travel consultancy. Did you start with the idea of the magazine or did this come through your other work? 

I did have a background in brand consulting, so I decided consciously to fund the magazine with services and not advertising, to keep the creative dignity of the publications. We work with corporate brands, small indie ones, cultural institutions on various visual and strategy projects and I think it's a great way to also grow our network and not be monotonous with our work. Each project is so different from each other. Travel consulting was just an organic growth because people always asked me for advice on travel, and I have travelled to more than 20 states in India and now almost 30 countries, so it made sense to also give more work to local communities like crafts people, travel industry stakeholders who have worked with us on productions. 


How do you curate and collate the stories in each issue? 

I travel to all places by myself and spend time with local communities, conduct primary research, first hand interviews, document visually and then work on the editing and designing. Our magazine is a slow journal for the same reason as we do not believe in fast journalism of stories that are internet researched or secondary data. 


The paper stock and design in issues 4 and 5 are very different. Does the content inform the design? 

100%. I think setting a format for me is denying the growth of creative thought or the evolution of Cocoa and Jasmine. I as a director love to experiment and go by my intuition when designing, so if I like a paper that I feel fit for one issue, I will use it and if I feel like using illustration on the other one, I will. It's the creative liberty that makes it special. Also because we are annual at the moment, I love creating these objects that are like individual books. Our issue 3 was all handpainted and screen printed on cotton paper and came in 3 different colours! 

Could you tell us who you think would enjoy Cocoa & Jasmine magazine? 

All kinds of travellers, collectors, creative practitioners and open minded readers. 


Finally we ask everyone this question:  In this digital age, why make a print magazine? 

Print for me has timelessness as you can hold an object and appreciate the way it ages, a reference point to go to as you can make it personal and write notes, underline or highlight, it lastly it has an impact on the content as we over consume digitally so we tend to miss details. I also think that the community who buys prints, buys for the love of collecting (I am one of them!).


Hear, hear. Thanks so much Sayali.


You can find issues 4 and 5 of Cocoa & Jasmine in the shop now.

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