The brief consisted of a thick, glossy, international style magazine and Orange literature – and was rightly binned. Instead I opted for alternating Baskerville with the LikeMinds font, Asbuka and that gave me a good balance of classic and fresh.
There was a problem when the contributing authors’ biographies came in. They varied wildly from one line to two pages (no, I won’t tell you who’s that was!). But I remembered that the editor had told me about the use of QR codes projected onto the side of of a store in Japan, long before we worked on the magazine. I knew he was itching to use QR codes somewhere. So, when we hit this problem, I proposed we used QR codes to resolve the biog-inconsistencies – and add an element of innovation that seemed to fit the magazine’s audience. The editor readily agreed and directed the code to the LikeMinds alumni page. A brand tether, no bad thing.
Initially the cover was left open to me. Then the editor wanted it reserved for a head-shot of a major retail expert. A coup – but it didn’t come off. So it was back to me . . . I had an idea. As you do. Mark Jennings, of Freshnetworks had shouted out the work of Johanna Basford, on Twitter, earlier in the year. Amazing line artwork. Exuberant, elegant, lush. I yearned to use her work one day. Aha! Now was my chance. With no time or funds I asked if she had any existing artwork we could re-use. Johanna kindly offered several. A star. There was a really wild one that I would love to have used (and spot varnished too) but it was not to be. However we agreed on the drawing above. Splendidly entitled ‘A Tree of Monkeys’.
With less than a week to press the magazine was at 72 pages including 10 pages of advertising. But there was a 3 page hole. Big headache. I volunteered to write an article to plug the gap and Drew was relieved at that. Knowing my neighbouring articles were by smart Social Media savvy pros, I worried into the night about how to come up with the goods. Until the penny dropped to just write a simple, personal account of my experiences of Social Media to date, rather than any self-promo puff. Rather fun writing direct into a Quark layout. Still waiting to be found out as an author but noodling away until such time. Feel free to comment on that!
With the deadline upon us enough of Drew’s anticipated advertising evaporated, making the magazine uneconomic. The final version had to be radically cut. Articles from many luminaries were regretfully lost. My article’s retention in the truncated magazine was a pleasant surprise since it was an emergency filler. I wasn’t hired as a writer! Happy to be able to help, and thanks.
This frantic, last minute re-structure threw up several issues but had one positive outcome that stood out to me. In a three-way Skype call I pointed out that our final cover now had a gap in the nice neat rows of author names. Any of you who work with me will know I think credit attribution is an important principle. Scott suggested that our cover artist be included on the cover. That kind of generous instinct is key to Like Minds future, in my view, and I applaud you, Scott.
But too much had been left to the last minute and an irritating casualty was a missed lo-res scan spotted on press by the helpful Ashley House. Rapidly fixed. But a lesson to us all: Skipping a wet proof is always a false economy.
Just under the wire. And looking quite spruce, considering. Anybody need a magazine Art Director?