On Thursday, I received my sample copies of the lovely issue 24. It's my favourite issue ever. (Am I allowed to say that? I guess I feel that way whenever a new issue comes out!)
If you subscribed or renewed before January 6, your issues are on their way! For folks who subscribed after the mailing data was sent to the printer, your copies will begin be dispatched just as soon as inventory arrives in the fulfillment warehouses.
Not a subscriber yet? Now's your chance! Just click here to get started.
Scenes from my printer, The Prolific Group in Winnipeg, from earlier this week. Thank you to all the busy and skilled hands who applied tape and pasted 10,000 little bits of fabric onto each cover! Thank you to Chris Young for the photos.
Sample copies are on the way to me and shipping is in progress. If you missed being on the first round of mailing, don't worry: you can still subscribe now and your copy will ship just as soon as it arrives at the fulfillment warehouses.
The response to the Printmaking open call has been terrific... so much so that I'll have to close the call early: this Thursday! I have limited pages and I don't want to have to reject more people than I have to. There is no entry fee and is open to everyone: students, hobbyists and professionals. Enter here.
REVISED DEADLINE: THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 15, midnight MST
NEW CALL: Make-Ready I'd like to feature some printmaking make-ready and printing tests in this issue as well. If you've happened on an amazing, serendipitous make-ready moment, please let me know by sending a jpg preview or a link to an image this week. It may be featured in the Sketchbook section in issue 25. Thanks!
There's an intriguing exhibition of show card art opening this Friday at Calico in Brooklyn, New York. Here's more from show curator, Meredith Kasabian, whose grandfather was a show card painter:
The Pre-Vinylite Society is a loose network of self-ordained sign enthusiasts and advocates for creative use of urban space. The aim of the Pre-Vinylite Society is to encourage sign painters, sign enthusiasts, artists, writers, business owners, and the general public to be more aware of their aesthetic surroundings and take pride in their neighborhoods by creating, commissioning, writing about, and appreciating quality signage and public art.
The name “Pre-Vinylite” is derived from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of 19th century English artists and writers who rebelled against the academic conventions of their day. The name also connotes the period before vinyl technology nearly decimated the hand-painted sign industry in the 1980s and serves as a commemoration of this pre-vinyl era, but not necessarily a wish to return to it. Despite the emphasis on a bygone era that “pre” suggests, the Pre-Vinylites are not a society of Luddites, shunning technology or advocating for a return to a “simpler” time. Pre-vinyl does not equal anti-vinyl.
The Pre-Vinylite Society aims to inspire a sharper cognizance of the aesthetic built environment and a desire to create and appreciate new, forward focused art that respects the traditions and techniques of the past. Ultimately, the Pre-Vinylites believe that artistic vigilance in the face of mass conformity can deliver us from a homogenous existence.
The Pre-Vinylite Society Show Card Show
67 West St. #203, Greenpoint
January 9 - February 13, 2015
opening reception: Friday, Jan 9, 7-10pm
Preview works from the exhibition here.
I love paper products. Did you know that UPPERCASE started as a gallery/store and I used to sell my own greeting cards and handmade notebooks? I also sourced hard-to-find paper goods and would scour the web for interesting things to bring into my shop.
When I launched the magazine in 2009 (and then had a baby in 2010), my time and resources became very limited, so I made the decision to close my retail shop in Calgary in order to focus on the magazine. I don't regret that decision... with one exception. The miss the fun of ordering beautiful paper goods from around the world!
Lately I've been feeling a little too tethered to technology... that my brain is becoming dependent on a computer, laptop or phone. Though I could totally geek out on some productivity app (I have) or Google calendar hack to get it working just the way I want it (I tried), I decided to unplug and give analogue a go this year. Finding the perfect day planner is was no small task, though. I'm very particular about the typography and design that I have to look at day after day! I almost resorted to designing my own one-off custom planner. I used to do design a unique-to-me planner back in my freelance design days, print it double-sided on my laser printer and have a local bindery but a spiral on it. For the sake of time, though, I decided to look online.
I'm always seduced by Korean day planners. Their websites always include beautiful shots of the planners "in use" with decorations of stickers and washi tape and perfect printing that is oh so appealing. Once stumbling on this site, and after hours of comparing one journal to another, I decided on the Object Diary by Livework.
To kit up my planner, I purchased some decorative stickers and place marker stickers. I also got a sticky note checklist pad, so that I can move my list from one week to the next. There are always projects or errands that you know will likely take longer than a few days, so these I'm writing on the sticky list.
I liked that this journal has each day listed on the left hand page and that the right hand side is blank. I don't typically have lots of appointments in the day, so I don't need a lot of space there. I'm going to use stickers to call attention to big tasks (like the dot showing the day mailing data goes to the printer... tomorrow) and the flag that indicates when I want to have all the content for issue 25 assigned.
On the right hand page, I'm going to jot down larger tasks or goals for the week, as well as observations or notes about the week. If I write something down anywhere that is an actionable item that needs to get done, I'll put a little check box next to it.
The book also has a month view, where I'm using washi tape (from Omiyage) to block off time. The thin checked tape is my typewriter book final countdown to getting it done, the floral circle is the day that a new issue is released. Finally, the orange checked wash is showing my upcoming trip to Austin, Texas where I'll be a judge for QuiltCon. (Any of you going to QuiltCon? The judging happens a month before the convention, so don't be alarmed.)
It's not practical to try and keep all my to-do lists in paper form, and there are plenty of instances when digital is the only way to go. For that, I'm using Evernote for my ongoing project lists and details and I suspect that I will still employ Google for some repeating monthly tasks that could benefit from a digital reminder.
My intention with the tape, stickers and, really, the journal itself, is to take some daily time to think, plan, breathe and declutter my to do list so that I don't get feeling overwhelmed. I also want to record more of me and my thoughts in the planner... thoughts and ideas that get lost when they're dumped into the endless storage of the cloud.
By making the experience a little bit fun (pretty stickers!) and routine, I'll see how well this new system works out.
Thank you for including UPPERCASE in your life. I'm fortunate to be able to publish the magazine and follow my creative dreams. If you receive my weekly newsletter, it has been a privilege to email you each week and I hope that you have found my messages useful, informative, personal and inspiring.
It's hard to sum up this past year. In 2014, I experienced the very lowest points I've ever had since my entrepreneurial life began. Letting go of all three of my employees over the first six months, having my bookkeeper go missing in action right before tax time... there are lots of things I'd rather forget about this year.
But then again, those painful decisions and hardships led me here. On the other side.
In fact, the experience has been invaluable.
I'm so grateful for all my contributors, readers, subscribers, stockists, advertisers and social media advocates. Thank you for your talent, generosity and kindness.
Thank you to my husband Glen and my son Finley.
With all of you, I never feel like I'm in this on my own.
ps The next issue is on press this week! I can't wait to see this one in person—each cover will have a swatch of vintage fabric applied. Subscribe or renew before January 7 to be on the first round of mailing. The discount code "thankyou" is valid until December 31 midnight MST. Save $15 off orders over $80.
There's a recently opened exhibition of artwork influenced by Matisse's cut paper artwork on display at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery in New York until January 24. Featured artists include UPPERCASE reader Virginia Fleck and our issue #18 cover artist Sarah Bridgland.
The files for issue 24 were sent to the printer yesterday. I'll see proofs early next week and then it will be on press between Christmas and New Year's. The handwork of applying the fabric swatches on the cover will happen in the first week of 2015 and then this issue is slated for mailing the week of January 12.
The subscriber database will be finalized on January 6, so get your subscriptions and renewals in before then and you'll be part of the list. Thanks!
Liesel writes, "The Bhoomies are little earth spirits that live in total unison with nature. They grow an inch on the inside every day and take life as it is: beautiful, extraordinary, light, easy and joyful. They are ambassadors of happiness and support all earthlings to live their lives whilst believing in possibility." Through her 2015 calendar, one can spend every day in the presence of these fairy creatures.
The patterns are printed on the back of every calendar page, "to give the calendar a second life as gift wrap," says Liesel. She has also compiled a playlist for the calendar, giving this project a unique sensory experience.
Thank you to Liesel for placing a Calling Card in the forthcoming issue.
It was my pleasure to be invited as a guest on Grace Bonney's (Design*Sponge) radio show / podcast After The Jump today. Along with Paul Lowe and Paul Vitale of Sweet Paul magazine and Michele Outland of Gather Journal, we discussed the future of print media and what it's like to be a small publisher today.
I'm working on the 24th issue of UPPERCASE magazine. TWO DOZEN ISSUES! That's over 2700 pages of content that I have designed over the years. This next issue will be released early in the new year and it felt like it was time to do a bit of a design revamp. It's easy to keep doing the exact same thing over and over, but I'm a graphic designer by training and getting to design my own magazine is the fun part of independent publishing. The underlying grid and basic typography is staying pretty much the same, but I'm introducing a new font family to keep myself challenged and to see each layout with fresh eyes.
In previous issues, I was using Bodoni Poster Italic for some of the headlines, but overall I was tiring of how bold it was. The new selection really isn't all that different—it is the Bauer Bodoni family. It's kind of funny that I've selected a typeface design from 1791, but it's a style I've always loved. My design intention with this revamp is to make the spreads feel a little bit lighter overall, a bit more sophisticated but still playful. More places to breathe, little typographic details to delight the eye, some fun typographic touches... all the things that I love about design.
I agonized over which font to purchase (there are so many permutations of Bodoni and of Didone-style typefaces), but now that I've had a few days to get to know it, I am happy with the decision. It works really well with all the existing fonts I use (Sentinel, Tungsten, Neutraface) and with various weights plus roman and italic, there is a lot of possible variation. Certainly room to grow!
Throughout my career as a graphic designer, the typography has always been front and centre to my design process and inspiration. I posted the image above of a page in progress on Instagram and viewer Samantha Epstein commented, "everything about this makes my heart sing". Her comment made me so happy! Yes — beautiful typography does make the heart sing!
And not only is the typography beautiful, the content in this issue is overwhelmingly so! I can't wait to show more as I progress through the design.
It goes to the printer on the 15th of December, so it is going to be one marathon effort over here to get through the design while filling orders and managing customer service. But I'm energized by the new design direction and look forward to each new page.
Jennifer Joanou is one of those multi-talented artists who finds a way to express themselves no matter what the medium or the method. The first iteration of her creative career was as a fashion designer in Los Angeles; her work was popular in Hollywood and was sold in Barneys. Then about ten years ago, she began art journaling and found that it encompassed all her loves: fabric, photography, paper and paint.
Postcards and stickers of her journal pages are available in her shop. Gift them as a set, send them to friends or tack them to your inspiration wall as incentive to start your own journal in 2015.
Thank you to Jennifer for supporting UPPERCASE magazine through the purchase of a Calling Card. I'm pleased to report that the Calling Card page for the forthcoming issue is now full, but if you're interested in being part of the spring issue, spots are now open.