Category Magazine

Emma Allen brings a slew of new ideas and voices to The New Yorker

Emma Allen

Yesterday, Artsy posted this great piece on Emma Allen, the semi-recently appointed humor and cartoon editor at The New Yorker. Previously the position was held by Bob Mankoff, who held the position for 20 years, and was the subject of the documentary Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of New Yorker Cartoonists. The documentary was interesting to me because it highlighted that the world of New Yorker cartoons were primarily driven by mostly older, white men. Diverse voices didn’t seem to be a priority.

Cut to Emma Allen, a 29-year-old New York native who was a double major at Yale in English and Studio Art who ended up at The New Yorker in 2012. She took on a multitude of responsibilities, including “Cartoons, Daily Cartoons online, Shouts & Murmurs, Daily Shouts online, and humor videos and podcasts.” Such a huge feat. And now it’s clear that her goal is to bring new ideas to an older medium that stays true to it’s identity while bringing in a diverse range of voices.

The website has become a fruitful place for Allen to experiment with strategies that she hopes will keep the magazine’s humor content fresh, funny, and relevant. She sees the Daily Cartoon and forthcoming Daily Comic sections, for instance, “as a nice way to get in new voices that aren’t necessarily selling to the magazine every week and have different takes on current events.”

You can read the full article by clicking here.

Welcome to BOY CLUB Magazine

I started Kitsune Noir, what we know call The Fox Is Black, back in 2007 not knowing the path it would set me down. At the time, blogging was still sort of unknown. A few people were doing, some of them making a living off of it, yet there’s was still a wildness to it. Cut to now when anyone can create a digital presence with ease, be it Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. I think this is great btw, it’s easy to create a self-expression that fits you, the true you, despite the trappings of your physical situation.

That physicality though, and the constraints associated, are kind of awesome. We as designers do our best work when presented with limitations, they’re guard rails which focus and hone our ideas. So last November my partner Kyle Fitzpatrick and I started down a path to write and design a magazine called BOY CLUB, and as of today, we’re ready to show it to the world.

BOY CLUB Magazine - Cover Detail


We consider BOY CLUB a magazine for people who like men. It leans toward the world of gay men, telling stories and highlighting situations that we find interesting, but we created this for people of all genders and sexualities. We intended this to be irreverent and slightly off-kilter, elements that feel completely missing in a world of minimal, Kinfolk-ian inspired publications.

While Kyle handled all of the editorial and writing for the entire magazine (he’s the Editor In Chief) I had the joy (and slight bit of horror) of designing the book, as well as photographing 95% of it. As a lot of you know, I’m a web designer by trade. My current creative director role at Disney has me overseeing the design of sites, apps, creating for social media, video branding, etc. Designing a magazine is something I’ve never done and it ended up being such a great challenge.

You can read Kyle’s thoughts on the development of the issue over on his site.

BOY CLUB Magazine - Cover DetailBOY CLUB Magazine - Interior


To start, I knew in my gut that it needed to be colorful. Culturally gays are an expressive and vibrant group of people, I mean, look at Pride, the movie The Birdcage—hell, we have a rainbow pride flag! There’s nothing about us that isn’t a bit eccentric and over the top and I wanted to own every bit of that.

From a type perspective I chose a face called Noyh, which was created by Chatnarong Jingsuphatada, a Thai designer who’s based in Bangkok. The typeface comes in a regular, slim and rounded version, 72 fonts total, so there was a lot of flexibility for me to play with. I loved that it’s a quirky, odd little font. Again, my goal was to create something with a unique character, that would be stand apart at the newsstand.

BOY CLUB Magazine - Interior


When I think of the layout of BOY CLUB, I remember changing everything about 100 times. Slightly hyperbolic but you get the idea: it’s never perfect right away. The first issue is 88 pages, so you can imagine the challenge of bringing cohesion page after page, ultimately telling a story from a single point of view. I love using big, full-width images to capture nuance or emotion with food or people. The hardest part to design was the recipe section which were also the pages I started with. Illustrating a step-by-step process is like dancing to a song you don’t know.

BOY CLUB Magazine - Interior


The last big hurdle we faced was printing the magazine. Lots of challenges here were around price and quality. We obviously wanted this to be of the highest quality but we received quotes for 300 copies at around $9,000. No, thank you. Ultimately we printed the book offset on a thick matte paper with a nice glossy cover. Were we excited by the printed result? I would say I’m 95% happy with the final product, which isn’t too shabby for never having printed anything like this in my life. Plus the ink on the paper smells so damn good. Overall I think we’re 100% happy and 1000% proud of what we’ve accomplished. This is only the beginning, though. We’re already running with the production of the next issue and have concepts for the next 3 issues (and beyond), which will be published quarterly.

In order to continue, we’re looking for sponsors and advertisers to be involved. We self-financed the first issue because we truly believe in what we’ve created. Additional help from the design/art/creative community would be amazing. Collaborations in the future would be super fun as well. If you’re interested definitely email me at

Below is a list of links where you can purchase the first issue as well as follow us along on our journey, which we’ll be updating as stockists pop up.

• Skylight Books, Los Feliz, Los Angeles
• & Pens, Los Angeles
• ReForm School, Silver Lake, Los Angeles
• Coming Soon: Needles & Pens, San Francisco
• Coming soon: BQDSD, NYC
• Coming soon: Shorthand, Highland Park, Los Angeles

A nerve-racking photo series by Aaron Tilley and Kyle Bean

How do you illustrate the feeling of anticipation? Perhaps sweaty palms or a perspiring brow? That’s not exactly the most… appealing, of imagery. Aaron Tilley and Kyle Bean though have come up with a refined, almost elegant way of portraying this haunting emotion for a recent issue of Kinfolk. They’ve put together a series of common objects and placed them in high-stress vignettes. You know what’s going to happen in each, the inevitability strikes you instantly.

You can see more images from the shoot and read the article by visiting Kinfolk here.

In Anxious Anticipation by Kyle Bean and Aaron Tilley

In Anxious Anticipation by Kyle Bean and Aaron Tilley

An Interview with Knit Wit: A Biannual Print-Only Magazine About Fiber Art and Textiles

Knit Wit Magazine

I was recently introduced to Zinzi Edmundson and Gigi Jack, the creators of a lifestyle-based indie print magazine focused on knitting and fiber art called Knit Wit. Their concept is simple, they want to highlight the fresh, contemporary side of the craft, bringing to light the types of people and projects you wouldn’t find in normal craft magazines. They’re currently trying to Kickstart the magazine so I figured it would be great to learn more about the project. I spoke to Zinzi who filled me in on why the world needs a print magazine devoted to this specific culture.

Tell me a bit about yourselves, your backgrounds.
Gigi is a native Southern Californian, Santa Monica actually, and I’m from Providence, RI. We met our freshman year of college here in LA and were friends from more or less the first day. Gigi was a diplomacy/Russian major and I was comp lit/classics—yet somehow we got into magazines.

Gigi got a job in the art department at C magazine and I started as editorial assistant at Bon Appétit. We worked those jobs and moved up a bit for several years (Gigi probably lasted longer than I did) before I quit BA to tour with my band and Gigi moved to the land of e-commerce. I returned from the road and started working as features editor at FOAM (a women’s fashion and surf magazine here in LA), where Gigi joined me as Art Director a little after. We found out that we love working together. FOAM experienced a bit of editorial upheaval, so we moved on and both started circulating in that branding/e-commerce world more. Gigi is currently the Art Director at Sole Society, I do copywriting and content creation for brands like Nasty Gal, Vans, Nixon, etc. and I also have a brand consultancy company with a friend.

Knit Wit Magazine

Why do you feel it’s important to share the world of textile art?
The idea started much smaller. I’m a knitter and, looking around, I realized there wasn’t anything media-wise that totally spoke to me and the way I relate to the craft. Initially I was going to do a zine (in the sense that I would be its only author, emphasizing DIY in content and character, and all that) about knitting. As it turns out, I’m not great at keeping things on a small, reasonable scale. The deeper I dove into the world of textiles the more I kept expanding the scope. Dyeing! Weaving! Embroidery! There are just so many beautiful, thoughtful, dynamic things being made and truly incredible people cooking it up—ultimately I couldn’t limit it to knitting. So, I guess the answer is that I started by trying to make a zine for myself and ended up making a magazine about all the fun shit I found—for everyone else to see.

And why do you think you were drawn to making it a print magazine versus doing it digitally?
I get asked the print question a lot. To be perfectly honest, I don’t have a super concrete answer, but I do have several vague ones. There is something really square, sort of plumb I think, about representing craft or craft-based art in a physical form. It’s a little bit symmetrical, which I like. I also missed it. I’ve done some branded magazines post-FOAM, but I think we all know those aren’t the same, try as they might!

We came of age as editors and designers in a weird time. We have a rarified, archaic vocabulary and knowledge that became moot almost as soon as we learned it. It felt like it would be nice to exercise those muscles. Maybe that is misplaced nostalgia or I am prematurely stodgy (won’t be the first time I’ve heard that!), but all I ever wanted to do was make magazines and somewhere along the way I stopped doing that.

Thirdly, it felt a lot like a challenge. I don’t think it’s an easy thing to start a blog, do it every day (every. fucking. day. sheesh) and do it well enough everyday to garner a following. No that’s not easy, but there was something about starting a print magazine from scratch without any online presence to support it (besides social) that seemed (still seems) a little bit like I couldn’t do it. I think I liked that I might not be able to do it—and that I was going to try and see if I could anyway.

Knit Wit Magazine

The imagery and content in the magazine has a really contemporary feeling, is there a world there most people don’t know about?
Right, we aimed for a more graphic and fashion forward aesthetic than is probably expected from a magazine primarily dealing in handmade/craft. One of the reasons is definitely to do just that: To stray from some preconceived notions of what the community might be like. It’s not all deep dark shadows, greyed out photography and introspective girls with low pony tails living in remote snowy cabins.

There also seems to be an understanding that no matter what your subject, if you’re making an indie magazine you’ll probably employ that style of photography anyway. It can be pretty repetitive. It’s a little bit like how every organic market or raw food restaurant feels the need to roll out a fleet of bamboo tables, a sagey mint wall color, and a logo with some obligatory sprouting leaf icon scrolling out. Do we really need these obvious visual clues to know we’re eating real food?

Knit Wit Magazine

Was it important to feature makers from around the world?
Yes, definitely. In general, we tried to keep things broad. I lifted a phrase from FOAM recently while describing Knit Wit (I can’t remember if I coined it or not, so let’s credit our EIC Kristina Dechter with this one). The phrase is: “general interest niche magazine.”

So yeah, there’s a really rigid framework that informs all the content (fiber art, textiles, knitting), but we look at it from all angles and in the familiar format of a women’s interest or general interest book. That means that we might have a trend piece about tassels, followed by a travelogue to an ancient weaving village in Oaxaca, followed by a visit to fiber artist Elena Stonaker’s idyllic LA studio, followed by an editorial featuring model/knitwear designer Rachel Rutt in Sydney. Ultimately, it became global because we kept it so broad.

Do you feel like the independent craft community around textiles needs a proper outlet?
Well I certainly hope so! I think there’s definitely an opening for this type of title, neither essay-based/institutional nor crafty/hobbyist. We’ll see if it takes. I don’t think I’m too unique of a person, so I think that if I would want a magazine like this, then there must be more like me out there. We’ll see what happens.

Knit Wit Magazine

If you could feature any maker, dead or alive, in an issue of the magazine, who would you choose?
Oh, hm! All the people who never wrote us back during the process of making issue 1? I kid… I got pretty enamored with the women of the Bauhaus weaving workshop earlier this year. Gunta Stolzl, Anni Albers, Otti Berger. Talk about making the best of your circumstances. Because they were women, they were limited to fiber, but they worked within those parameters and pushed the boundaries of “women’s work” and craft into the realm of design and fine art. Yeah, ladies! Subversion and especially feminist subversion seems to go hand-in-hand with craft these days, but the Bauhaus women were starting this revolution with subtlety, poise and stoicism.

Or maybe whoever is responsible for Nike Flyknits because sweater sneakers are basically the ultimate marriage of my favorite things and I would love to talk to that person.

Any final thoughts or feelings?
I guess the only thing I haven’t really touched on yet is our lack of DIY or How-To elements in the magazine. There aren’t any patterns and there aren’t a series of photos that will illustrate with severed hands the step-by-step of how to do a project. It’s not that we won’t ever and it’s not that we don’t like that stuff (we do), but I think it is important to note as part of our initial DNA/value proposition that we aren’t experts. We won’t get instructional because we don’t consider ourselves the teachers and readers our pupils. It’s stupidly cheesy, but we’re all in this together! It’s a magic carpet ride.

If this sounds like the sort of thing you’re into be sure to support the duo on Kickstarter by clicking here.

Interview with an Editor: Serena Guen of SUITCASE Magazine

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I’ve always thought that with the decreasing readership of print it wasn’t that it needed to keep up with the times but rather retarget itself. It seemed to me that print could be kept alive not by dumbing down but by smartening up and aiming itself at a new audience. You only need to take a look at some of the most recent additions to the magazine world to see I might not be far off. Editors and Designers are putting far more emphasis on creating something that will be read rather than skimmed. Filling a niche for a quality travel magazine aimed at women is SUITCASE, run by 23 year old Editor-in-Chief Serena Guen. With its feet in culture and fashion, SUITCASE has received much accolade and without sounding superfluous looks on track to perhaps become the feminine Monocle.

I spoke to the adventurous and ambitious Serena on the origins of SUITCASE and her outlook on learning and work.

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Help The Great Discontent make a magazine

The Great Discontent Magazine

One of my resolutions from the last year was to do more to help good people. We’re all so busy all the time that I think something as simple as this can get lost in the rush. Helping creatives who are doing really interesting projects are especially important, and that’s why I’m sharing The Great Discontent’s Kickstarter who are raising money to start a magazine.

We started TGD as a digital publication, and we’ll continue to release digital issues, however, we’ve always dreamt of making a physical magazine. And now we’re doing it! The Great Discontent Magazine, Issue 1, will be a beautiful way to preserve some of the content we’ve featured online and allow it to be enjoyed virtually anywhere.

The magazine will be a gorgeous, full color piece around 240 pages. It will feature 15 interviews with individuals who have also taken leaps, including Sara Blake, Scott and Vik Harrison of charity: water, James Victore, Zack Arias, Elle Luna, Ike Edeani, Debbie Millman, Joshua Davis, and more! Select interviews will include updates and/or commentary, and we might throw in a surprise or two.

Tina and Ryan are such amazing people and it’s inspiring to see them follow their dreams like this. Supporting people like this is important to our industry as it makes all boats rise. It brings together creatives and makes our digital world a little bit smaller. I think it’s also important to note that the magazine is being designed by the ever-talented Frank Chimero so you know it’ll be beautifully designed.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Great Discontent you can read the interview I did with them from last February by clicking here.

An Interview with Kai Brach of Offscreen Magazine

Kai Brach 1

Print-only publications are a rarity nowadays. And one guy running it? Unheard of. Yet that’s the story of Kai Brach and his self-described “old-fashioned” magazine, Offscreen. Exploring a more human side of tech, Offscreen is a beautifully designed publication with quality only possible in print.

The next issue is due out at the start of next year. And with Kai’s Christmas Wishlist giveaway having just begun, it’s a good time to check Offscreen out.

We spoke with Kai about what it means to run a print publication today: the challenges, process, and vision Kai has for what makes Offscreen different.

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Playful type for The New York Times Magazine by Micah Lidberg

Playful type for The New York Times Magazine by Micah Lidberg

Illustrator Micah Lidberg has been one of my personal favorite artists for years now. His creativity seems to know no bounds, as is evident in the creative lettering he did for today’s edition of The New York Times Magazine. I love the personality he gave the type which reminds me of the fuzzy texture on the top of broccoli. The color choices for the text (which probably weren’t chosen by Micah) are spot on as well, really complimenting the photo, which was taken by Horacio Salinas. Really proves that playing with your food can be fun.