Encounters Magazine

Shin Li, a Beijing-based creative who was originally born in Singapore, is the founder of Original Studio and the creator of Encounters magazine. Graduating with a degree in communications, Shin first established Original Studio with her husband to serve as a kind of platform on which like-minded individuals could connect and collaborate with each other on various creative projects. In 2012, Shin released the first ever issue of Encounters, an independently published magazine that explored creativity, culture, and lifestyle by delving into the untold stories of modern cities and its inhabitants. Encounters is currently published biannually, and it has recently just released its fifth issue.


Shin Lin居住在北京,是来自新家坡的创意人。在大学里研修大众传媒的她,如今与先生共同拥有原味创意工作室(Original Studio)并以此为平台和志同道合的人连接,激荡出创意火花。她的独立杂志《Encounters》也是这种创意连接和分享的方式之一。这本中文名为《邂逅》,创立于2012年的杂志,是一本以城市、人物、故事三个焦点来关注创意生活文化的独立双语季刊杂志,平均一年两本,目前出版至第五期。

The design and overall look of Encounters changes to reflect the different central theme of each issue. To emphasize the subject of “everyday life” in the most recent issue, the magazine is designed like a calendar – the pages are bound with a strip of metal and each page has a dotted line that allows it to be easily torn out. Shin admitted that the evolving look and design of the magazine was initially because they lacked a clear direction and concept for Encounters at the time. “Recently, it is beginning to feel like Encounters has found its direction – which is to challenge itself continuously by exploring creative approaches to printing magazines and trying out different ways to present the medium.” Shin believes that modern print magazines shouldn’t only be a medium for transferring information – instead it should be a unique reading experience where the physical movement of flipping the pages and the tactile feeling of paper should be a part of the experience. Her goal is to turn the perception of the magazine as being something disposable into a valued item that’s worth collecting.


《邂逅》每期拥有不同的主题,甚至不同的外型和设计。比如,为了配合“everyday”的主题,第五期的《邂逅》设计成了金属镶边的挂历形式,每页均有为方便手撕的虚线。Shin坦言,外型统一性的缺乏源于最初他们明确概念和清晰方向的缺乏。“到了近期,我认为《邂逅》才真正找到了属于自己的方向,那就是不断地挑战自己以更有创意的方式来思考纸质杂志这个媒介,和如何呈现它。”而事实上,每一期的大胆和迥异正是给读者带来不同惊喜的地方。《邂逅》相信,相较于网络媒体,当代杂志提供的不只是资讯,它应该以纸的触感、翻阅方式等表达方式,为读者提供一个独特的阅读感官体验,从消耗品跃升为收藏品。

The first time Shin ever dabbled in print publication was right before graduating from college. Shin and three of her friends created alter:sg, an independent and alternative travel guide to Singapore. This publication was created not only for travelers visiting Singapore, but for locals as well. This travel guide pulls back the curtains on Singapore, revealing different spots that aren’t generally mentioned by tourist guides, and showcases what they consider to represent the Singapore that they know and love. Working alongside local Singaporean creatives, they reimagined the format that people expected travel guides to be in and included short editorial pieces that detailed some of the quirkier aspects of daily life in Singapore. The book was a huge hit, and its success inspired a continued interest in creating printed publications for Shin and her classmate Cai Weiwei. In May of 2012, their work was accepted into the Tokyo Art Book Fair exhibition. This gave them a major confidence boost and the two compiled a selection of their work previously only available online and turned it into a printed magazine exhibition. And in doing so, they inadvertently gave birth to Encounters. “The original idea to make Encounters a printed magazine was actually quite spontaneous. It was a fortunate accident.”


Shin第一次做书,是大学毕业前夕和另外3位朋友一起做了《alter:sg》,一本有关新加坡的独立旅游指南。这本独立旅游指南的编辑,是为了让到访新加坡的旅人,更是为了当地人,认识到一个与媒体上所渲染的不同的、真正的新加坡。他们联合当地的创作人,抛开列清单的方式,推荐有趣的去处,写作新加坡日常生活中独特有趣的现象。这本指南的出版受到的欢迎,激发了她和其中一位同学蔡薇薇对出版和杂志更深的兴趣,创办《邂逅》的想法便由此而生。2012年5月,第一本书被东京艺术书展接受参展给他们带来了勇气,便将在线收集的内容印刷出来作为新作一同参展。“于是一冲动误打误撞地便促成了《邂逅》变成一个纸质杂志了。”

Encounters has captivated an audience of youthful readers with its uniquely simple and clean design aesthetics. But like other independently published publications, Encounters also faces its share of hardships. The size of the teams for independent publications are generally quite small – and they don’t often work directly with distributors. Instead they have to handle the time-consuming tasks of contacting bookstores one by one and then also shipping it out themselves. This led to the decision to make Encounters available in places like creative markets and book fairs as an alternative method of distribution. “Some customers quite willingly buy mass-produced products with no hesitation, but at the same time they may feel magazines in this price range are too expensive,” Shin says. She has been figuring out ways of showing consumers the value in her magazine, and this has been one of the most challenging endeavors. But being an independent publication also has its perks – there’s no need to answer to advertising companies and you are able to have complete creative control.


现在的《邂逅》用干净有独特的视觉风格虏获大量年轻人的喜爱。但独立杂志的团队通常极小,也没有经销商,要自己一家家地联络书店、发货等,都很耗时间。《邂逅》自然也不例外,参加创意市集和书展就成了最直接的方式。“印象比较深刻的是一些客人会毫不犹豫地购买一些大量生产而成的商品,但是会认为同样价位的杂志很贵。”Shin告诉我们。如何让这些读者看到这本杂志可以提供的价值,成了她最大的挑战。但是同时,一切自己做主,也无需跟广告商交代,这为Shin大胆的尝试提供了更大空间。

With Encounters, Shin Li encourages “regular folks”, as in non-professionals, to submit some of their personal work. But with the rapid development of different social media platforms, her original intent for the magazine has admittedly been dramatically affected. Now, she instead hopes Encounters can raise the question of “what makes a magazine a magazine?”, while surprising readers with her own creative interpretations. The sixth issue of Encounters is currently in the works and will be exploring the theme of “Slow”. Shin is encouraging anyone and everyone to submit their work!


初创办《邂逅》时,Shin希望鼓励”一般人“(素人/非专业人士)投稿,提供一个作品发表平台。但随着社交网络和自媒体的发展,这个初衷在现在的环境的相关度也减弱。现在她希望,这本杂志可以继续为“什么是杂志”这个问题提供新鲜的解答,给读者们带来更多的惊喜,她希望可以继续制作一本本值得收藏的杂志。此外,《邂逅》第六期正在筹备中,主题是“慢”,欢迎大家随时去信投稿!

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Contributor & Photographer: Banny Wang


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供稿人与摄影师: Banny Wang