Duck and Whale is the result of two of Lee Dean’s great passions: magazine design and Porsche. Six years ago the Australian creative director, writer and photographer founded Duck and Whale, a beautiful magazine dedicated to stories of Porsche cars, people and culture. Since then, it’s grown to include international editions and a loyal online following. This is his story…
Lee, could you tell me a bit more about the idea behind Duck and Whale?
I was designing Wheels, a car magazine in Australia, and I was working with some of the best journalistic and photographic talent out there. After learning the magazine craft, I had the idea for Duck and Whale, and it was at a time when there wasn't a lot of Porsche stuff out there. For instance, the Porsche magazine 000 didn’t exist at that time.
How’s Duck and Whale different to the other Porsche magazines out there?
The magazines that did exist were, I felt, stuck in a bit of a rut. They were all just pumping out the same kind of stuff. Maybe there would be a cover story and there’d only be two or three pages inside. So, I thought maybe there’s room for an art mag where we open the experience up to 10 or 14 pages. To give readers a deep dive into a subject. Plus, you could say I was a bit obsessed with the cars and just wanted to know more about them. I wanted to kick off something that I could have creative control over and also to give Porsche fans a different-looking magazine.
How long has Duck and Whale been going?
We kicked off in 2015. I remember it pretty much coincided with the launch of the electric concept for Porsche, the Mission-E. The press release for it came out about a month before the first issue and I slipped it in.
There are so many magazines and Instagram channels devoted to Porsche. What is it about the brand that is so appealing to content creators like yourself?
I think from a design point of view there's a certain type of people that really appreciates what Porsche does. Porsche tends to solve problems in a really beautiful way that people can latch on to. It has an amazing engineering background and started as an engineering company before moving into cars. The lineage of the 911 and how it has stayed the same for so long is amazing.
Duck and Whale has been going six years. What’s in store for the next six?
We honestly started Duck and Whale to be an Australian magazine and we were selling through a news outlet here, which is quite unique for this type of magazine. We also took the magazine online through necessity because of the way the magazine industry is going. That part has been great actually because it's given us a lot of insight into our customers (before we would just send boxes of magazines out and hope for the best [laughs]). So based on all this I knew we had a great product, and the content was always global even though it was an Australian magazine. But back when we launched the international distribution didn’t really exist. Luckily that changed, and we now distribute the magazine in America, the UK and Europe.
Have you turned Duck and Whale into your job now?
Mostly yes, but I also I create some fun magazines for clients as well. We were about to do a giant Duck and Whale tour before the pandemic hit. We were aiming to travel around America and the UK, go to a few events and tap into the Porsche culture. So that’s something that’s still on the cards after all this.