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UPPERCASE everyday notebooks

Added on by Janine.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen a few teasers about something I've been working on. .. I am pleased to introduce UPPERCASE everyday notebooks!


Designed for all of your daily musings with patterned covers and colours inspired by your favourite magazine. The warm set includes an orangey-red flower and yellow chevron pattern. The cool set includes a blue dot and teal herringbone.


The notebook is trimmed to our signature size (6.625" x 8"). The smooth uncoated blank pages have ample room for doodles, sketches, collages and other daily creative musings. This two notebook set comes with an UPPERCASE "be sharp" hexagon pencil.

65lb Lynx Opaque cover weight
64 pages, unlined, 60lb Lynx Opaque text weight
Saddle stitched

Here I am assembling a mockup of the notebook set.

Here I am assembling a mockup of the notebook set.

Testing the bellyband that will hold the set together.

Testing the bellyband that will hold the set together.

Getting the mockups ready to be photographed.

Getting the mockups ready to be photographed.

The notebook set mockups, cool and warm colours. The will be packaged with a black UPPERCASE hexagon pencil with white-stamped lettering.

The notebook set mockups, cool and warm colours. The will be packaged with a black UPPERCASE hexagon pencil with white-stamped lettering.

Click the pencil to view larger! (This is just a digital mockup of the pencil.)

Looking rather festive on my new cutting mat. After literally a decade of using a too-small mat, I finally bought a nice big one. Such a luxury! 

Looking rather festive on my new cutting mat. After literally a decade of using a too-small mat, I finally bought a nice big one. Such a luxury! 

Some of my favourite spine patterns from past issues repurposed as surface patterns. 

Some of my favourite spine patterns from past issues repurposed as surface patterns. 

This pattern, from the current issue #19, was inspired by Icelandic knitting and the graphic shapes of minerals and crystals.

PRE-ORDER SPECIAL: The notebooks are at the printer, the pencils are made and the packaging is set to go. Finished sets will be shipping in a few weeks. (Just in time for the holiday season!) Reserve your sets today by placing an order.

PS Did you know that you can get UPPERCASE iphone cases at Society 6?

PS Did you know that you can get UPPERCASE iphone cases at Society 6?

magazine exhibition in Malaysia

Added on by Erin.

CUTOUT Magazine (a graphic design magazine from Malaysia) has curated MEX and we're proud to participate. This magazine exhibition features 100 design titles and runs until July 7th as part of the GeorgeTown Festival in Penang, Malaysia.

After closing in Penang, the exhibition will travel to Publika, Kuala Lumpur where it will open at the end of July.


studio sale

Added on by Erin.

We're holding a studio sale this Saturday (June 22) from 11-4pm. Get your hands on some great creative tools (including our print gocco machine with bulbs and supplies!) We're selling books, discounted back issues, stationery items and vintage ephemera! We're even getting rid of some furniture. There will be a well-stocked table of FREE books and creative fodder.

This is our last event in the space that started it all. Stop by to reminisce and share your UPPERCASE memories. 

If you aren't able to come by, we'll continue selling whatever is left into the following week (June 24-28) from 10am-4pm.

Art Central building, corner of 7th ave SW and Centre Street. Upper level. Directions available here


Added on by Janine.
team UPPERCASE: Eleanor, Jocelyn and Erin (plus me, photographer)

team UPPERCASE: Eleanor, Jocelyn and Erin (plus me, photographer)

Today marks the "changing of the guard" at UPPERCASE. Alas, we say goodbye to Eleanor, who has been our customer service expert for a year and a half. She has been fulfilling orders, answering queries, managing subscribers and stockists... all while attending SAIT's Engineering Design and Drafting Technologies program part time. We commend Eleanor for juggling schedules and racking up the kilometers on the c-train, shuffling from college to work (and back again!) She has been a wonderful and loyal employee and we wish her lots of success in her studies and future career.

And so, we happily introduce you to Jocelyn who will be taking on Eleanor's job—and then some—in a full time role. I am relieved that we will have someone consistently available to deal with customer queries, stockists, distribution and shipping matters... it is a vital role in a business built on subscriptions and fulfillment of online orders. 

Jocelyn has been with us for just a couple weeks, but she has been an avid reader and supporter of UPPERCASE for a long time so she is fitting right in! You can follow her Instagram #dailyUPPERCASE and see behind-the-scenes from her perspective. (She offers the warning that her Instagram feed is also full of lots of cat pictures.)

Erin is our marketing/publicity manager, working with me here in the studio three days a week and always available via email. Erin and I are looking forward to our quick trip to Toronto next week, to attend the National Magazine Awards and to visit our lovely stockists. 

My husband Glen needs to be recognized, too, for supporting me and UPPERCASE by being a wonderful stay-at-home dad to our son Finley. Glen is also a regular contributor to the magazine—look for his Creature and Abecedary columns in the summer issue. (Looking for an excellent work of fiction to read this summer? Pick up Glen Dresser's novel Correction Road. There's a thoughtful review here.)

thank you, everyone!

moving forward

Added on by Janine.

(a brief history of UPPERCASE)

Today, Calgary's Metro News published an article entitled, "Calgary's Art Central Facing Closure."

As my Calgary friends know, Art Central has been UPPERCASE's home since the beginning. Suite #204 was just an empty shell without shelving or lights when I first saw the space in late 2004. By early 2005, I was a happy tenant in a building concept with a lot of potential. With gloriously large windows, an old brick wall and a white slate of a gallery office, the space was endlessly inspiring and motivating.

Initially, freelance graphic design was my main occupation and UPPERCASE-related projects were side projects and creative experiments. "UPPERCASE gallery, books & papergoods" sold greeting cards of my own designs, handmade notebooks, hosted illustration shows, had a small selection of books on design and a nice supply of pretty paper goods for a growing number of walk-in customers. In tandem with the physical store, I began to sell my offerings online and to dedicate time to growing an online community through the UPPERCASE blog.

In 2007, UPPERCASE hosted an unusual gallery exhibition and launched its first book. The Shatner Show was an illustrated homage to William Shatner (of Captain Kirk fame) featuring 76 illustrations of his life and career. Endorsed by the man itself, the show was a great success and was featured on international newscasts and garnered a lot of positive press. But more importantly, it showed me my true calling: publishing.

In short succession, I released a few more books and decided to launch a magazine modelled after my own creative interests. My blog readership had grown modestly and I hoped that if even a small portion of those readers would support a print endeavour, publishing a magazine on a regular basis could be feasible. The inaugural issue was released in April 2009. (And I officially "retired" from freelancing; there was simply not enough time in the day to do it all.)

Fortunately, the magazine was well-received but I quickly discovered that it was far more work than I could ever have guessed. At the end of 2009, I closed the retail aspect of UPPERCASE. Growing a retail business in Art Central seemed to be an uphill battle—especially when compared to the success of online sales. When comparing the results from a bit of foot traffic with the potential of online traffic, the decision to close physical retail was obvious. (I also had the costs of inventory as well as print bills to consider.) Expecting a baby as well, I knew that though I can juggle a lot at once, new motherhood plus publishing plus retail was just too big of an equation.

I have no regrets about closing my retail store, though I do miss all those lovely stationery goodies and the joy people expressed when stopping by for a visit. I was also aware that closing my shop, a regular destination for many Calgarians, could impact my neighbours in Art Central. I remained committed to Art Central and our doors were open to curious walkers-by and we were active in First Thursdays and hosted occasional shows in our gallery.

For locals who still visit Art Central, it has been hard to miss the steady increase in vacancies over the past number of years. In this post I'm not going to go into detail about why the Art Central concept has been so difficult to sustain. But I do think it would be useful to write a post-mortem about what happened (or didn't happen) here, particularly in comparison to the seemingly successful creative entrepreneurial centres such as Wychwood Barns, Konstepidemin and the American Can Factory profiled in issue #16 of UPPERCASE.

Over a year ago, the Art Central building was sold to a new owner; a property company that purchased this building along with many others in the downtown core. I stress that they purchased the building—they did not take on a stewardship of the Art Central concept, a concept that had been seriously malnourished for many years prior. Now the news is public that the building is going to be "redeveloped" ie demolished to "replace the current building with a taller structure that may incorporate commercial and residential spaces," tenants are left to determine what they're to do next.

The story about the impending closure of Art Central might be breaking to Metro News today, but tenants here have known about this since late January when were told in a meeting that the building was slated for redevelopment. Though I suspected that something significant might happen eventually (rumours were certainly afoot) I wasn't prepared for the immediacy conveyed in a statement by the VP recommending "look for your alternatives now while you can." 

In response to the media queries that I have received about Art Central's impending closure, I would like to state that the story here isn't about big vs little, corporate vs arts. The concept had failed long before these new developments. 

My work and my life have been intricately woven with Art Central for eight years. Now, facing its closure has been somewhat like having a loved one with a terminal illness. After the initial relief that it will soon have a resolution to its misery comes time to grieve for what is lost and what might have been. 

I've been quite depressed about the news; it has been hard not to picture my beautiful studio in a pile of rubble. At first there were days when I stood at my doorstep at home, unable to motivate myself for the walk to work. On one hand I didn't want to be reminded that Art Central could be demolished; on the other hand I didn't want to waste any time away... So I did what I usually do when faced with a problem: I set out to solve it. I am happy to say that I have found a contender that is somewhat different from my current studio, but it inspired me the moment I walked in. Now, rather than imagining endings, I am looking forward to new beginnings and the potential of this new location. I look forward to chronicling that adventure when the time comes.

It has been difficult not to share this news with you until now—my wonderful community of supporters here on the blog and Twitter. I know I have your support as UPPERCASE moves forward and continues to flourish.

Please also support the other tenants at Art Central. For those with galleries and retail, it has been difficult. They remain open for your business!

Publishing books and a quarterly magazine has been far more challenging and exhilarating and fulfilling than I could have dreamed. I am very lucky to be doing what I do.

Thank you.

Onward and upward!


As I left for home yesterday, I paused to take this panoramic iPhone picture of UPPERCASE headquarters (mess and all!) Click to view it larger.

As I left for home yesterday, I paused to take this panoramic iPhone picture of UPPERCASE headquarters (mess and all!) Click to view it larger.

Work/Life 3: call for participants

Added on by Janine.
Cover by Darren Booth

Cover by Darren Booth

Cover by Alyssa Nassner

Cover by Alyssa Nassner

I'm pleased to announce the open call for participants for the third edition of Work/Life: the UPPERCASE directory of illustration. This fee-based group promotional publication goes beyond typical directories and awards annuals by presenting each artist in a personal way through a bespoke illustration assignment, interviews and peeks into their studio, sketchbook and personal lives.

Please click here to to read all the details and to apply.

teaching at the makerie

Added on by Janine.

You may recall our inclusion of The Makerie in issue #12's article on creative retreats. Makerie organizer Ali Dejohn has been so enthusiastic about UPPERCASE that she invited me to participate in next year's retreat. I've come up with a very ambitious project and class—we're going to create commemorative books, on site, that very weekend about our experiences at The Makerie! It will be like a journal, yearbook, sketchbook, photo album all rolled into one:


Students will learn the craft of curating and creating content during this collaborative weekend-long bookmaking experience. Through photography and writing, they will document the Makerie and its people and assemble it into a unique handmade limited-edition commemorative book. Each day offers a new group of students instruction time with Janine as well as time "in the field.” Students will also be required to convene on Saturday evening for the physical assembly of the books. Students will learn how to bind books using a hidden stapling technique that is suitable for art journals, photobooks and other projects. Not only will we be making an amazing publication to be enjoyed by all Makerie attendees, the content skills acquired can be used for student's own professional development and applied to enhancing their blogs, portfolios or perhaps even writing that book you've been dreaming about. All students will be considered for future collaboration with UPPERCASE magazine and some content may be published on the UPPERCASE blog or in future issues. (Please note that this is not a design and layout class; the focus is on creating content and telling stories.)

Photography: learn how to tell a story through photography and active observation
Writing: interview skills, practical writing
Making: assembly of unique handmade booklets

I'm very excited to be heading to The Makerie next year. Check out their website to discover the other amazing creative things that you can learn at The Makerie. Registration is now open!

hello Etsy!

Added on by Janine.

I have been invited to speak at Hello Etsy. In the Netherlands!

Hello Etsy: Small Business In A Big World, is a day-long gathering for small business owners who want to connect with their peers, learn new skills, and be part of the movement to build a better world. Taking place on October 27 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands during the internationally-renowned Dutch Design Week, the summit will investigate the changing global economy, and will offer valuable insights on how you can not only find financial success, but also reimagine your business as a tool for building a more fulfilling and lasting world.

I will have three days in Eindhoven and three in Amsterdam. An UPPERCASE meet and greet is being planned for October 29 in my fabulous stockist in Amsterdam, Athenaeum—more details to come. If you're in the city, please do stop by and say hello.

Do you have any suggestions for what I should see and do? Suggestions of people or studios to visit and interview for the magazine? Thank you!


Added on by Janine.

This is big news... after having the same blog since 2005 and the same online shop design since 2007, UPPERCASE's virtual home was overdue for a renovation and makeover. The old sites predate my professional shift from designing for clients and running a side retail business to what UPPERCASE is today, a publishing company producing a quarterly magazine and books (9 and counting...) for the creative and curious.

The main site,, better highlights all the content that UPPERCASE has to offer: a beautiful new blog with bigger images and better access to past posts; more previews of the current and back issues; more content from the print magazine; more videos... the goal with the new design was to provide more content with better navigation and a clean slate design that allows the content to shine.

Issue 14 is brand new as well—North American subscribers are starting to receive their copies in the mail this week. If you're not a subscriber yet, flip through a digital preview to see the content. There's a link on that page from which you can subscribe, or click on the shop link on your left. >>>

Issue 14 is brand new as well—North American subscribers are starting to receive their copies in the mail this week. If you're not a subscriber yet, flip through a digital preview to see the content. There's a link on that page from which you can subscribe, or click on the shop link on your left. >>>

Another big improvement is the visual and functional integration of the main website with the online shop. is a vital companion to our online home: this is where you can subscribe, renew and shop for our back issues and books. There are links and "add to cart" buttons throughout the main site and blog, so it is always easy to click through to the shop and make a purchase or commit to a subscription. For our many repeat customers, we have added an account option so that you can save your login and address details (also in the works is a customer portal so that you can manage your address changes and search past orders.) We have created a password-protected wholesale shop, so wholesalers won't accidentally stumble into our retail listings and customers won't accidentally purchase a box of 30 magazines. (Of course, if you want to purchase large quantities of anything, just contact us and we'll set you up with a wholesale account!)


Our online home's foundation and walls are thanks to some great web services that I have been using for years. I'm still working on the plumbing (ie database, customer management and the un-pretty but necessary things) but to have such attractive "curb appeal" is all-important to a business like mine that is largely built online.

The main site and blog are hosted on Squarespace V6, the newest platform from my long-term blog host (and ALT Summit party co-host). V6 is just out of beta this week, so congratulations to all the people at Squarespace who have been working hard and have answered our numerous queries over the past weeks. The layout functionality of V6 is pretty impressive and I love the flexibility of multiple columns and content blocks. I'm sure it will just keep getting better and I look forward to even more features.

The online shop is hosted through Shopify, which offers really great e-commerce solutions. I purchased one of their premium shop templates and the migration from the old site to the new site was so seamless I could hardly believe how easy it was. I'm still working on optimizing the shop for mobile devices, but the basics are there!

The typographic details are extremely important to me, so I use Typekit for web fonts: Museo Slab and Proxima Nova. Proxima was designed by Mark Simonson, an UPPERCASE magazine subscriber! A big big big thank you to my left-handed right-hand man—my husband Glen—for making all those little tweaks to the CSS and getting the design details from my head onto the screen.


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I invite you to take a look around... It's open house—please stay awhile and enjoy yourself.