039 James Matthews-Paul


The beautiful pages of Output


Location: LONDON


JM-P at work

James wearing his professional mohawk very well

I met James at school and we became (and have remained) good friends. He is one of the few people I have kept in touch with. After school our lives moved apart and sadly we haven’t seen each other in over a decade.

After completing his music degree at the University of Manchester he took some time out in Paris. “I worked in a rowdy Irish bar next to the Moulin Rouge for a couple of years and then took up a job as an advertising sales manager for a European sign-making publication. It was there that I started to realise the inevitability of certain job types and bosses taking advantage of their employees and vowed to make a difference for younger workers.” 

In 2009 he moved back to the UK and was determined to remove himself from the printing industry. “There were no young people; creativity appeared stifled and the sector was hell-bent on acting out of desperation. A few months later, still unemployed and living on my friend’s narrow-boat, I wondered what on earth I’d end up doing. There simply were no jobs in theatre, journalism or any other area that interested me. Luckily, I was asked to take over as editor for a national sign and print B2B publication.” 

JMP_BM LondonCalling

James and his Editor at an event in London

A year later James left the publication to set up his own. “That was where Output came from: we wanted to create a magazine that worked both on and offline, and started figuring out how to do it. We soon realised that nobody had knitted together a strong, content-led editorial process with modern print technology, and thought about how this could be used. Soon we’d come up with a software and hardware workflow that would, theoretically, allow us to print magazines with a run length of one – that is, incorporating variable or personalised content – and anywhere around the world. That could create a revolution in publishing.”

Being the boss has meant that James can recruit people who fit his vision. “As a result I work with some of the most talented, creative, loyal and visionary people I’ve ever found. There’s me, three full-time editors and journalists, plus our ops manager and sales manager, both of whom are freelancers but work like full-timers. I smile and laugh every day, and there is a real sense of community between the six of us. They’re my team of superheroes and when we put our minds to it, can perform feats way beyond our ken.”

output gang with mag at FESPA

L-R: Mary Buck (sales manager), Ben McCabe (editor), James (editor-in-chief), Dara Jegede (deputy editor), Sam Curtis (marketing assistant)

The reason James set up Output is because he’s passionate about the written word. “I love its power to communicate, to express and share ideas. I see what’s happening across the board in publishing – independent publications closing, behemoth news outlets dominating the market with dreadful journalism, a total drop in ethics and a paucity of qualified opinion – and it breaks my heart. We absolutely must rescue publishing, in the same way we must rescue music and film and restore the artists to the pedestal rather than the agents and commercial machines. The way we do that is by democratising it, and I believe we have found the process to do so; I won’t quit until it’s done.” 

2015-05 StartPress 2_2

Proudly holding the Crowdfunder cheque for Output Magazine

The biggest thing James has had to overcome was in the last week of February this year when he had to tell his team that they’d run out of money. “After three years with an excellent track record we desperately needed a sales manager in order to be able to grow. We approached Barclays Bank for the first bit of business lending we had ever asked for. We were rejected many times, with the bank wasting our time over and over again, asking us to rewrite our business plan. We tried alternative lenders who all said the same thing: we didn’t have any assets so we weren’t a fundable business. In desperation we wrote this piece and within 24 hours we’d been advised by more than 100 people that they’d support a Crowdfunder. In the end, we raised £10,000 in 24 hours to keep our business alive, and an extra £4,045 towards our stretch target. We’re in a much better position but every day is still about raising the money to keep us heading towards our mission.” 

Output One Front Cover

Having successfully completed the Crowdfunder, James and his team set about creating the first full issue of Output Magazine. “As per usual we left very little time to sort it out, but we turned around an 84-pager (80 plus covers) in 72 hours. Some was based on existing content but most was new, creating a real challenge! What we achieved over that time was incredible and seeing the physical copy in our hands was a moment of enormous pride for every single one of us.”

The Output team are coming up with plans “To take over the world! We want to make environmentally-friendly, personalised or versioned publishing available to everybody, whether they’re a community, a niche art movement, a business, a nation or a family. Everyone should be able to create a multimedia magazine and use it to communicate with their audience, no matter how large or small, poor or rich they are.”

Contact details:





A sample page from the Output Magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *