A look at Issue 8, now with dog and baby

This weekend, I photographed Issue #8 so that you can see what's inside. These days, putting anything on the floor invites a lot of attention.

Finley quickly crawled over to investigate and I asked him to help hold the magazine while I took pictures.

Nice job, Finley!

Our dog Percy wasn't interested.

Finley, on the other hand, really liked the magazine and crawled away with it. bye bye!

To see more images of Issue 8 (dog and baby-free versions) please visit my flickr set.

Vintage matchbox label extravaganza!

A few years ago, I purchased a binder of old matchbox labels at a local flea market. There were around 80 labels—enough to ignite an interest in searching for more to add to my collection. Ebay was the logical option, but I did not expect to find an amazing haul of literally hundreds of labels! I placed a low bid, certain that I would have lots of competition... but it went unnoticed and I was victorious. When the stash arrived, there were so very many labels that I didn't know what to do with it all and have been saving these piles for a special project.

Inspired by these small labels, I put an open call for submissions for readers to reinterpret the messages and aesthetics of the old labels but with a modern twist. The response was terrific a there are four pages of reader submissions published in the new Issue #8. (I'll be creating a flickr pool so that you can see all the submisions.) In tandem with the reader artwork, I thought it would be fun to include an actual authentic label in each subscriber's magazine. So I decided to part with the collection of labels and disperse them among my readers as a thank you for your fine support of UPPERCASE magazine.

Thank you to the people at Printcrafters for manually inserting each label on the first page of the magazine! We had a nice surprise, too—there were actually hundreds more labels that the ebay listing had advertised and therefore many more copies of the magazine have the special inclusion than I initially anticipated. (But if you're not a subscriber yet, I recommend starting yours quickly to ensure you get a label.)

I've commemorated my former collection by scanning some of the best examples and posting them to a flickr set. I've saved a few for an exhibition that opens this Thursday, but the majority of the labels that you see on flickr are off to subscribers around the world!

And if an authentic label isn't enough of a goodie, each magazine has a letterpress insert as well! (see my previous post.)


Vintage pop-up marketplace this Sunday

There's a cool event being held this Sunday afternoon at Art Central:

A group of Calgary vintage clothing sellers are bringing their wares to Art Central for a unique one day only “Vintage Pop-up Marketplace”.

After a successful Vintage Style Week held at Fashion Central in September of last year, this group of vintage clothing sellers have decided to do another show. “We thoroughly enjoyed bringing our vintage fashions to the downtown core.” said Leslie Holth, co-owner of Vintage Bliss. “Calgarians appreciate the uniqueness and quality of these one of a kind items and love working them into their wardrobes. They also understand how wearing vintage is not only fashionable, but sustainable, as these items have no environmental impact on our world.”

Holth, along with vendors Bonton Vintage and Patina Design Works will be selling clothing, jewellery, accessories and select collectibles from the 1920s to the 1980s. There will be a special focus on party dresses for graduation and gala events as well as clothing and gifts for guys and girls for upcoming Valentine’s Day.

“We will also have roving models dressed in vintage finery, a professional photographer documenting the event and other vintage related surprises.” said Holth. “A Dress to Remember” happens on Sunday, January 30th from 12 noon to 6pm at Art Central. The marketplace will be held on the lower level common area of the building. Art Central is located on the corner of Center Street and 7th Avenue SW.



Half a million people have already seen this video about The Sartorialist (an advertorial by Intel), but I hadn't seen it until this morning and found it quite interesting. I wish I had the confidence to stop people in the street and tell them how to pose for me! I wish I had the stamina to wander the streets with a heavy camera. I wish I had the time to just observe and record life.

I wish I had more time for the "digital park bench" and for posting to this blog!

And then there were 8...

Just some quick iPhone evidence of issue #8! Each subscriber copy has an authentic vintage matchbox label included! (There are matchbox labels in single copies and wholesale copies, too, while supplies last.) PLUS each copy has one randomly inserted letterpress print, card or other promotion as part of the UPPERCASE Letterpress Sampler!

(Front cover illustration by Lab Partners)


A question for local folks...

Photo by Jeremy Hood

It has been nearly six years since I first moved my design business into Art Central in downtown Calgary. At the time, my plan was to have a nice design studio and, as a side business, I would also have a small shop selling design-related books and stationery. Thus UPPERCASE was born. I mused that someday I'd like to publish books under the same name, so I designed a logo that would look good on a book spine. I didn't think I'd delve into publishing so quickly nor so thoroughly, but I love it.

Alas, I had to close the physical retail aspect of UPPERCASE one year ago. Expecting a baby was a big factor in the decision, but also the cost of maintaining store inventory plus paying magazine print bills was just too much to take on. Customers through the building had begun to dwindle and Art Central didn't have the buzz of activity and energy that it once had. I had far more web traffic and online orders than actual people coming through the door and the need to focus my business to an online model was very clear.

I still love my studio space in Art Central and plan on revamping it to meet my current needs (baby-proofing?) I hope to be able to work downtown on a more regular basis now that Finley is approaching his first birthday. I have lots of ideas for events, workshops and the like to best make use of the space... it is just a matter of finding time!

I am dedicated to staying in Art Central; I think the place still has loads of potential as a focal point for creativity and community in Calgary. However, over the past two years, tenants have come and gone and it has definitely been seeing some tough times. We could blame this on the economy but that's an easy excuse. I would like to hear your opinion on Art Central. What can we do to make it better? What would you like to see happening in the building? What sort of tenants would be a good fit? What would you like to see and do in UPPERCASE?

Please leave your comments below or if you have something lengthy to say, please email me.

Call for submissions: Florals

For issue #9 (spring 2011) of UPPERCASE magazine, we invite you to submit creative photographs on the theme of "florals". The best images will be published in the magazine. Go beyond a snapshot of flowers... be creative in your composition, technique or processing. Interpret the theme through objects, fabric and fashion.

Please make sure that you have a print-ready file available (at least 4" wide, 300dpi) should we decide to publish your image. By submitting to the group, you agree to let UPPERCASE post your images on our blog as well as publish your photo in the magazine if it is selected.

Enter your work to the UPPERCASE florals group on flickr.


Call for submissions: Cereal boxes!

Cereal box illustrations by Roger Bradfield
Issue 9 (spring) explores how food inspires creativity. For this open call, you are invited to submit your cereal box designs and illustrations! Are you a fan of the sugary sweet cartoon-character puffs? Or perhaps a grown-up granola inspires a more typographic solution? You can redesign an existing cereal box or feel free to come up with a new name and concept for your cereal.

I plan on making mockups of the best submissions and photographing them for inclusion in the magazine. Please download a template (illustrator file or pdf file) and design the front, side and top flap. Files should be submitted as 300dpi jpgs or pdfs and named with your last name. Please include your full name, address and email in the design file. Files can be uploaded here.


Prairie Collective in issue #8

Victoria offers us a look at her forthcoming article, published in issue #8. Prairie Collective is a cute collaborative shop in San Francisco.

magazine update: Issue #8 is in the bindery stage and then all the fabulous letterpress samples must be inserted into each copy. Vintage matchbox labels will be hand applied to each subscriber copy, too!

Congrats, Lisa...

...on being featured in the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living! Looking fabulous!

I'm pleased to share that the collections editor of Martha Stewart Living magazine, Mr. Fritz Karch, is writing the foreword to A Collection a Day.

A Collection a Day: packaging mockup

This is a mockup of the Collection a Day packaging.

It's a tin with a hinged lid.

The actual height is indicated by the edge of the white paper.

Ever since I asked Lisa if she would allow UPPERCASE to publish her A Collection a Day project as a book, I've envisioned it packaged in a special collector's tin. Throughout 2010, Lisa documented her various collections through daily photos on her project blog. It was an incredible idea, and one that she followed through on brilliantly. However, with the excitement of her daily posts behind us, I wanted to make something lasting, tactile, hefty, covetable... all the things that one cannot accomplish virtually. Since the project is all about the love of things, whether special treasures or mundane objects made meaningful en masse, the book version of A Collection a Day takes that exuberance to heart and becomes a desireable object in itself.

As a graphic designer, it has been a dream to try my hand at packaging — to think in three dimensions and imagine something in a material and production process that is new to me. I love the challenge. Imagine with me the mockup above with a glossy finish, and two levels of embossing on the decorative band, bread tags, 3-6-5 and the title. Imagine opening the hinged tin for the first time to discover a little block of a book and gently lifting it out. You can either keep your book in the tin, or (as I have imagined it) keep small collections of your own inside the tin. The memory of my grandmother's buttons kept in a cookie tin was my inspiration. I can still recall the wonderful racket a gentle shake would make!

- - - - - -

In case you didn't see this earlier, here's a quick video of the book block (the block is with the tin company, otherwise I would have photographed it with the cover design on it.) Imagine 448 pages of amazing objects, beautiful design and fine typography.

Pre-order the book here on its own or as part of the book bundle.

A Collection a Day: design reveal

The book comes packaged in a special collector's tin!


I'm excited to share with you the book cover, tin and sample page design for Lisa Congdon's A Collection a Day! The book is a whopping 448 pages (over one inch thick!), 6.5" x 4.5" and comes packaged in a special collector's tin.

To pre-order your copy visit our online shop. (Special pre-order price of $25, regularly $35.) This book is also available in our UPPERCASE Book Bundle: get all four of our forthcoming publications as they are published, with special features, goodies and packaging and save! The Elegant Cockroach (October 2010), Work/Life 2: the UPPERCASE directory of international illustration (March 2011), A Collection a Day (March 2011) and The Suitcase Series Volume 2: Dottie Angel (June 2011).*

Type Tuesday: Louise Fili

Some tantalizing images from Louise Fili's blog.

A Swedish moment…

At my dining room table, proofing the inkjet printouts of issue #8.Proofing requires post-it notes and these Lotta Jansdotter ones are the prettiest around.Glen gave me this lovely teapot by a Swedish designer for Christmas, as seen at Rare Device.Since visiting Camilla, we've been coveting white floors. In the past few months we've transformed our home with white walls and floors and we love it!

Some snapshots from the first day of 2011 during a quiet moment at home alone. My visiting parents were at the mall and Glen and the baby were out and about. Even Percy was being still for a few minutes so that I could concentrate on proofing the magazine.

Issue 8 at a glance

Happy New Year!

As we're all easing back into our routines (or still working like a crazy woman, in my case), I'm back on the blog to share with you a glimpse at issue 8. Behold all 116 pages:

I'm doing the last proofread before it goes to the printer tomorrow. hooray! I'll keep you posted about when it is mailed to subscribers, but it will likely be near the end of the month.

Thanks for renewing your subscriptions or starting new ones! It is very much appreciated and makes all this hard work worthwhile, knowing that so many like the magazine.