Sister Mary Brings Spirit Of Samizdat To Current Affairs

Sister Mary, led by founder Leigh Chandler, has unveiled a new limited-edition printed publication designed exclusively for The Signal, a global current affairs brand based in Washington DC. Titled “The Long Game,” this debut publication from The Signal highlights the global struggle between authoritarian states and democratic life.

Created in partnership with Human Rights Foundation, in support of the Oslo Freedom Forum, the magazine features interviews with the Bosnian investigative journalist Miranda Patrucić, the American social scientist Francis Fukuyama, and others – on questions from how autocrats are adapting artificial intelligence to how corruption inside dictatorships is spreading beyond them to what the issues of democracy and human rights might end up meaning for your investment strategy.

The Signal’s team, including John Jamesen Gould and Hywel Mills, partnered with Leigh to infuse the inaugural issue with the alternative spirit of underground publishing. Samizdat, a term derived from Russian for “self-publishing,” refers to literature clandestinely written, copied, and circulated during the Soviet era, often critical of the government.

This launch issue not only pays homage to samizdat but reimagines it. The editorial design captures the raw essence of underground publishing while presenting it in a contemporary context. Using layering, cropping, aged textures, and bold typography, the layout demands attention and creates a sense of urgency. Unbleached newsprint was chosen as the paper stock, reminiscent of samizdat’s historical context. The color palette of light beige, black, red, and gold reflects the publication’s rebellious yet premium aesthetic. The typography is bold and commanding, with headlines in Manuka and complementary text in Untitled, echoing the theme of defiance and urgency.

Imagery within the publication invites readers to explore deeper narratives, aligning with The Signal’s mission to engage with complexity in today’s rapidly changing world.

“To be able to assemble our work in a print publication like this isn’t just beautiful, it’s transformative,” said John Jamesen Gould, Editor, The Signal. “It’s allowed us to bring a historical connection with the samizdat publications of the Soviet era to life in the language of design – and that’s allowed us to create a reading experience with a completely different emotional resonance and, ultimately I think, a deeper meaning.”