Monday, April 30, 2007

Picture this: a boom in published illustration

The "Headlines" show of graduate work from the Sheridan College illustrator's program last week was short and sweet -- just three days' opportunity to see some extraordinary work at the Steam Whistle Brewery. Most every entrant had a stylish business card or handout, with a personal website. There was an excellent catalogue produced and sold for a very modest $15.

The opening on Thursday night was packed with lots of folks who know what's what, including some of Canada's best senior designers, art directors and illustrators. What they saw was some work that was professional calibre and talk on the floor was about where were the outlets to be for this talent. Illustration is not out of fashion, but is not used as much in magazines as it used to be, even though they are the ideal medium (save for advertising) to feature it.

So, here's a modest proposal. There are 2,400 magazines in Canada, of all shapes, sizes and budgets. Even if only half of them (including trades) resolved to seek out and commission work from these young up-and-comers once or twice a year, we're talking about a couple of thousand assignments. That could go a long way to making Canadian magazines fresher, brighter and more thought-provoking and cultivating an important pool of home-grown talent. Sheridan's doing its part; now it's up to the industry.

And it couldn't be easier. The website for the show is still up and available, with samples of the work and contact information for each participant.

(The illustrations, from top, are by Nataly Kim, Chad Covino and Vanessa Touesnard)

Online advertising in Canada tops $1 billion

Online advertising in Canada reached $1.01 billion dollars in 2006, according to a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada. This is an 80% increase over the 2005 actuals of $562 million and considerably more than the IAB had predicted. The French market in Canada was about 21% of the total.

Display ads were responsible for 36% of the total, search 35%, classified and directory ads 27% and e-mail advertising 2%.

Already the IAB is projecting 2007 growth of 32% and says that it may take only two or three years to reach $2 billion (it took 13 years to reach $1 billion).

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National Geographic branches out; always green, now wants to be seen as green

Funny, we thought that National Geographic, the yellow-bordered staple of many a living room bookcase, was pretty 'green' already. But given the current trend towards heightened ecological consciousness and environmental emphasis, the venerable publication and the Society which publishes it has apparently decided to draw some attention to what it has always done. According to a story in MediaDaily News, National Geo has launched a "green" Web site -- -- which highlights the numerous environmental issues covered by its journalists, photographers and field researchers.

The development follows on National Geographic Society's acquisition of the site, in an effort to move into lifestyle areas with practical and how-to information.
Betsy Scolnik, president, National Geographic Digital Media, commented: "We've created to be a multimedia tool kit for green living. It's a powerful communication tool that is interactive, engaging and fun for all ages." The goal, she says, is to encourage individuals to make a difference by "giving them practical advice that empowers them to become environmental stewards."
(The site is a monster, with all the latest bells and whistles that will only be accessible to those with a high speed connection. For instance, "Is Your Home a Green House?" is a multimedia, interractive tour (sponsored by Ford) through a typical house that requires Flash 6 or better and between one and four minutes to download at high speed.)

The society already publishes a six-time magazine called The Green Guide (available as either a print or a digital subscription for $12) that contains coupons for eco-friendly products. The new website is in effect a logical extension of this (as the Green Guide is of its traditional magazine) and gives the society added traction in the consumer marketplace, including reaching audiences who wouldn't have subscribed to National Geographic, which is sometimes thought of as their grandparents' magazine.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Canadian Wildlife Federation to launch climate change magazine called Checkerspot

[This post has been updated]
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is taking the opportunity provided by the Green Living show in Toronto this weekend to launch a new magazine on climate change called Checkerspot. The name comes from the Edith's checkerspot (shown), a small orange, black and white butterfly whose changing life history has made it a symbol of the impacts of climate change. The magazine's official launch is tomorrow (Friday 27) at 11 a.m.

The editor of the new title is Jodi DiMenna. Few details, other than that the first issue is May and is free and that the next issue will be November. Colin Maxwell, the CWF's executive vice-president says:
We are launching Checkerspot — named after a butterfly whose southern North American ranges are shifting as its habitat warms and dries — because we believe the answer to this newest and greatest threat to wildlife lies in your hands. We think Canadians are ready to move forward, to take action toward mitigating and adapting to climate change, and we hope that this publication will help drive discussion about how we can learn to live responsibly in a climate-changing world.
From Media in Canada more details of the Checkerspot launch:
"...the 40-page inaugural edition consists of 100,000 copies. Distribution will be driven by getting users to sign up via, showcasing the pub at trade shows (starting with the Green Living Show) and inserts in select copies of the Globe and Mail and the National Post. The magazine will be published in the spring and fall.

"Checkerspot's premiere issue is fully funded by the CWF, but XD of programs and communications Sandy Baumgartner tells MiC the organization is exploring sponsorship opps. She says the CWF is open to 'unqiue climate-friendly marketing and advertising opportunities.' "

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Designing the daily Dose

The Torontoist blog carries an interesting retrospective on the art of the 270 covers of the late daily magazine Dose. As you'll recall, CanWest MediaWorks killed the project after one year of publication.

Former editor-in-chief Pema Hegan submitted to a q & a with Marc Lostracco about the creative process behind Dose's designs. Seen all together, the covers are much more impressive than they seemed to be at the time.

Hegan said that the process for picking a cover was deceptively simple:
We would come up with a few ideas in the morning news meeting and at noon, the editors and art department would huddle up to answer three questions:
1. What are people talking about or could they be talking about today?
2. What one simple idea do we want to communicate about this subject?
3. How can we visually express this idea in the most simple, powerful way?
Sometimes the meetings were a fun fifteen minutes and sometimes they were a difficult hour. After the meeting, the designers, editors, photographers and illustrators had seven hours to execute the idea and create the cover. I was constantly amazed by what a great job they did in such a short time.

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Captive Media shutters Edmonton Life

Edmonton is down to one city magazine again. According to an item in mastheadonline (sub req'd), Edmonton Life has been closed, effective with its Spring 2007 issue.

The magazine was launched only last May by Captive Media and recently cut back its frequency in the face of competition from the Edmonton edition of the Calgary-based Avenue. Captive owner Raymond Merhej blamed soft ad support, estimating he invested $1 million in the launch.

“Frankly," he said, "I don’t know what advertisers want.”


Canada Council taking heat for
good intentions gone awry

The Globe and Mail ran a story Wednesday by Val Ross saying "33 million spent and no one's happy" about the Canada Council's Supplementary Operating Fund Initiative.

Ross even got some fundees on the record criticizing the process that the Council went through in distributing the one-time fund of $33 million it gave out to all disciplines. Among the issues raised by Ross were (and I'm paraphrasing):
  • When was it decided that only $33 million of the announced $50 million over two years was to go to individual magazines, book publishers, dance companies and so on? When was it announced?
  • When was it decided that the $33 million was to be distributed, not on the basis of peer review juries (though they were struck and went through the motions) but on something called "key" organizations -- in other words, with the CC staff weighing in on who got what?
  • Why was the community -- and the juries -- not told that this unusual process was being put in place?
  • Why would the council change the process in mid-stream and assume that posting some opaque language on its website was sufficient notice to the arts community?
  • Why would the CC tell the applicants to "think big", then change the rules so that many of the applicants "got small"? (Established magazines, for instance, encouraged by the council, asked for $50,000 and got $10,000 or less.)
To its credit, the CC chief executive, Robert Sirman, stepped up to defend the council, acknowledging: "We had always made it clear that only organizations that had already proved their worth and had operating grant status would be considered," Sirman says. "But 'key' was not part of our language at the beginning." When did that change? And was it because they were overwhelmed by applications that they had encouraged?

It's a bit rich for the spokesperson for the council, Donna Balkan, to say with exasperation: "Read our website. It's all clear there."

We can understand that the council got three times the applications for which it had money. It found itself in a tight spot. But how lame is it to say to applicants -- and jurors (some of whom threatened to resign, says the Globe) -- that they should have known the rules were changed because it was posted on the website?

The whole affair has left a rather sour taste in the mouths of some who, for a little while, had high hopes. That may not be the case for all 36 magazines who shared 1.9% of the $33 million (an average of about $13,000). As far as we can see, the only magazine organization that got a "big" amount was the Canadian Art Foundation, which got $165,000.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New paperless journal springs from the fallout at the Canadian Medical Association

After last year's ruckus at the Canadian Medical Association Journal, with the editorial team and most of the board resigning, one of the outcomes was expected to be a new journal that the dissenters felt would better serve the medical community. That journal has now been launched. It's called Open Medicine.

The fomer editorial team who resigned -- John Hoey, the editor, and Ann Marie Todkill, the senior editor -- are on the editorial board. The publisher is John Willinsky of the University of British Columbia and the co-editors are Stephen Choi from the University of Ottawa and Anita Palepu of UBC.

The journal is wholly online (i.e. no print edition) and "open access", meaning that the contents will be open to the scholarly community without payment. The journal is seeking sponsorships, which will be acknowledged on the site. Sponsors cannot attach strings to their support and have to sign a pledge not to attempt to influence or interfere with editorial decisions -- one of the key reasons why the above-mentioned dispute took place. (Of course, without the hullaballoo, Open Medicine might not have been launched.)

James Maskalyk, MD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, an associate editor (currently posted in Abyei, Sudan, with Médecins San Frontières) introduces the new journal with an article called "Why Open Medicine?". It says, in part...
To an important degree, the impetus to launch Open Medicine arose from widespread dismay in the Canadian and international medical community over one such attempt to suppress open discussion and restrict the scope of health care discourse. Further, too much of the revenue that sustains medical journals comes from pharmaceutical advertising that attempts to influence physicians into making decisions based on brand recognition rather than on discerning scholarship.

Medical knowledge should be public and free from undeclared influence. When possible, it should be free for those who apply it. Since people's lives depend on it, that knowledge must be filtered several times before it is ready to use. Studies need to be peer reviewed, to have their statistics analyzed, their content edited, then copy edited, then published quickly for as wide an audience as possible. The prospect of having a high-quality source of information that held true to these principles but was also free and globally accessible was impossible to imagine 20 years ago. Paper and postage are simply too expensive. The landscape is different today. An ideal medical journal — a truly open one — is not only within our sight, it is within our reach.

Open Medicine is a new general medical journal. It will be paperless and available without charge or any other barrier to access online. We will publish peer-reviewed science and analysis as well as clinical articles. We will provide a forum for informed and inclusive debates on medicine and its application. Open Medicine will be independent of any commercial publisher or association ownership — it will be "owned" by all who read and contribute to it — and will take no advertisements from companies selling pharmaceuticals or medical devices. We will rely on voluntarism, donations and ethical advertising. Any revenue will be used to improve our ability to meet the needs of our readers and contributors.

See story from CBC website.

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There's no business like the show business for U.S. trade books

For the first time, American Business Media, representing many of the U.S. trade magazines, has found that non-print activities have eclipsed print advertising sales.

According to a story in MediaPost's Research Brief, the face-to-face events industry (trade shows and events) is a rapidly growing, critical part of business media.

Trade shows accounted for 36% ($11.3 billion) of revenue in 2006 while magazines brought in 35% says ABM President and CEO Gordon T. Hughes. This is surpassed only by digital and custom media.

"As business media companies continue to move into a multiplatform environment, the industry is experiencing growth in three out of four of its major segments: trade shows, custom media and e-Media," he said.

"E-Media has grown... 22% in revenue over 2005, followed by custom media's 18% growth spurt and trade shows... at a 10% growth variance over 2005. Although ad pages and revenue for January 2007 showed a decline of 3.1% and 2.78% respectively, as predicted, the business media industry now represents $31.1 billion in revenues across all four platforms..."

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Canada Post and CUPW come to terms; will this moderate rates?

Canada Post has concluded a 4-year agreement with its largest union, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). The new agreement will be in place until January 31, 2011.The agreement was tentatively reached February 8, but ratification by all members wasn't completed until April 22. Details of the agreement will be made public once the document is formally signed. It is known to provide a wide range of improvements to wages and working conditions.

It more or less ensures the post office of stability through January 31, 2011. Whether that will result in restraint on rate increases remains to be seen.


Monday, April 23, 2007

National Magazine Awards finalists and special category winners announced

Neville Gilfoy will be receiving the coveted Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement at this year's National Magazine Awards. [UPDATE: see his reaction in an item in his hometown newspaper, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald.]The awards foundation released its list of the nominees for its 30th anniversary year. Other notable awards that were announced in advance:
  • The Foundation's second annual Best Student Writer Award goes to Buffy Cram for her article "Man Hands" that appeared in Prairie Fire.
  • The Alexander Ross Award for Best New Writer goes to Jeremy Klaszus, for his articles "Big Oil on Trial" and "Trouble in the Fields" in Alberta Views magazine.
The three finalists for Magazine of the Year are L'actualité, Explore and The Walrus.

The Walrus
has the most award nominations, with 51, Toronto Life has 23, Maclean's and Report on Business magazine have 15 each (as does Toro, which has discontinued publication) L'actualité had 14.

A complete list of finalists is available at the magazine awards website. In making the outstanding achievement award, the foundation said in a release:
Gilfoy has over 30 years experience in magazine publishing, and has had a really good time along the way. He's been behind the launch of several magazines, including Atlantic Insight (50,000 paid subscriptions within 8 months), Eastern Woods and Waters and Atlantic Progress (later Progress; and he also created a French-language counterpart Progres), and has successfully built one of the most capable, committed and determined publishing teams in Canada.

Gilfoy served as a CPPA/CMPA board member from 1979-1987, as president of the APCC, and as chair of the board of the Greater Halifax Partnership. For 15 years he taught at the Banff Publishing Workshop. He has presented at hundreds of seminars and conferences, from CMPA and Mags U to economic development groups and high school classes. In 1999 he launched Face to Face, one of the most unique entrepreneurial conferences produced by any magazine in North America. Greg Keilty, publisher of SkyNews, notes that Gilfoy "ached to see Atlantic Canada prosper and believed an entrepreneurial revolution was required to make it happen."

Yet at the core of Gilfoy's success is his talent and determination for making those around him share his "uncommon delight" for the magazine industry. "He eats, sleeps and dreams the business of magazine publishing," says Dirk van Loon, editor and publisher of DvL Publishing Inc., "and gladly shares what he knows with anyone else crazy enough to get into the racket."
The winners of the individual categories will be announced June 15th, 2007 at the Carlu in Toronto.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Magazines we like: Beyond

There are a few not-for-profit magazines that deliberately set out not to carry advertising; most do so because it is not to be had or because they lack the resources to pursue it. Beyond magazine, a photography magazine based in Calgary, is one example of a magazine that tried it, didn't like it, and stopped doing it. It was featured on Utne Reader's website recently in an item which said...
"Beyond is an independent, nonprofit Canadian magazine that's ad-free, so the works of photographers and visual artists don't compete with pages of branded images. Nevertheless, what stood out for me in the latest issue were two artists' depictions of commodities. Elise Engler's tiny illustrations of everyday objects from her collection Everything That I Own (13,127 drawings of Engler's possessions) span two pages. The images look like cards from a complex game of Memory. I stared in awe at a two-page photograph by Chris Jordan of a vast sprawl of junked cell phones -- a different and disturbing take on the ubiquity of objects. According to Beyond's website, creating a magazine sans ads is in part about promoting simplicity, not as commodity but as human responsibility. -- Evelyn Hampton.
The magazine itself has an amusing manifesto, explaining why it's doing what it's doing (that is besides publishing the work of art photographer Karen Bubas, photojournalist Sebastiao Salgado and author and film maker Nelofer Pazira.

We are uncomfortable with hosting a conversation about beauty, hope, social justice, and meaning that is presented side by side with messages that are in direct contradiction to what we are trying to portray. We value so many things and feel that the artists and poets of our time are being co-opted to produce various kinds of advertising instead of art. How could we present an article about child labor next to an ad for something that may use that kind of labor to produce its goods? We see magazines promoting "simplicity" as a commodification rather than a human responsibility. That doesn't make sense to us.

Seriously, we think there is something kind of dangerous about seeking advertising as the only way to create something anymore. It can be a way but should it be the only way? So we thought we'd like to try this. Someone once said "Be the group that tried." And so we'll keep trying.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Is this the shape of things to come?

“We think the traditional publisher’s role is kind of disappearing. Advertisers are looking for integrated programs so the agencies will have one source to go to for both print and online. We are changing our structure in anticipation of that for the day that it happens. In some cases it’s happened already.”
-- Entrepreneur Media Inc. president Neil Perlman
With that, the publishers of Entrepreneur magazine in the U.S. dispensed with the traditional role of print publisher in favour of a new sales vice president on each coast, according to a story in Folio:. Eastern vice president is Bob Kelly, former publisher of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, while former Fast Company acting publisher/advertising director Kate Rodler assumes the west coast position. Both report to VP/corporate publisher Ryan Shea, who oversees advertising across all media platforms.

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Passing the Beaver hat

Effective with its August/September issue, The Beaver: Canada's History Magazine will have a new editor. Mark Reid was most recently the assistant news editor at CanWest News Service in Winnipeg.

A graduate of both Dalhousie University and the University of King's College, Reid has worked as a journalist and editor in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta and Manitoba. He oversaw the development and launch of the University of Calgary's award-winning weekly newspaper; and edited OnCampus, a quarterly magazine distributed to 30,000 University employees, donors and affiliates.

The previous editor of The Beaver, Doug Whiteway, resigned in February. The Beaver has a paid circulation of about 46,000.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The digital Walrus

Interesting story on Media in Canada about the various digital initiatives being taken at The Walrus magazine. The new management at the magazine seems to be getting some traction in pursuing new, revenue-producing initiatives.

The magazine's website boasts a new "Media Centre," where digital content seekers can find everything from audio versions of content streamed by broadcast reading service VoicePrint Canada to The Walrus' May radio spot, marked for rotation on Classical 96.3 FM in Toronto. Two video podcasts, provided by (a side project of Walrus associate publisher Rose Giles, which she says is drawing 10,000 unique visitors monthly), feature public debate about journalists and the importance of protecting sources. There's also a digitized version of the print mag itself.

Packaging the magazine's digital content with sponsors involved may be as simple as pre-roll podcast messages or "printer-friendly" pages backed by Xerox or Canon. Current print advertisers include automakers like Porsche and Volvo, premium liquors and beermakers such as Pilsner, and tourism campaigns for Nunavut and Nova Scotia. The Walrus is also running a full-page ad for Alliance Atlantis' controversial CSI: New York airing on the History Channel as part of a media swap between the specialty broadcaster and the quality mag. Online, there are expandable banners for Saturn via Olive Network.

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Isabelle Marcoux named vice-chair of Transcontinental

The gradual generational transfer of power at Transcontinental Inc., Canada's largest consumer magazine publisher, proceeds apace with the appointment of Isabelle Marcoux to the position of vice-chair of the company's board. It was announced in an ad in the Globe and Mail today.

The daughter of founder and chair Remi Marcoux, Ms Marcoux, who is a lawyer, had been vice-president, corporate development, responsible for merger and acquisition activity of the company. (Her brother, Pierre, is vice-president for business publications of Transcontinental Media G.P.)

While the majority of Transcon's business is printing, it owns some of Canada's best-known magazines such as Canadian Living, Homemaker's, Canadian Gardening, Outdoor Canada, the Hockey News and, now, More magazine's Canadian edition.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gzowski prize recognizes doing
something good for literacy

If there's someone at your magazine who deserves to be recognized for services to literacy in this country, now's the time to enter them (or yourself) for the Peter Gzowski Award of Merit. It's a prize awarded by ABC Canada Literacy Foundation.

The competition is open to all professional journalists working and residing in Canada. Journalists may submit their own work, or nominate the work of another. Entries may be of either a local or national interest, and may be based on reporting analysis, commentary, special sections, features or series.

Work for magazines, newspaper, television news and features, radio and the internet are all eligible.Entries for the 2007 competition must have been published, broadcast or posted online between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2006. All entries must be received on or before June 15.

The winner will be announced September 5 in Toronto; a $1,000 donation is made to the literacy organization of their choice on their behalf.

Editor, writer and CBC radio personality Peter Gzowski vowed in 1986 to raise $1 million in his lifetime to benefit community-based literacy organizations. To date the PGI Golf Tournaments for Literacy he founded have raised more than $10 million net, making this initiative the most successful fundraiser for literacy in Canada.

ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation is the national charity committed to raising awareness about family, adult and workplace literacy issues. ABC CANADA's focus is on public awareness programs, providing promotional support to local literacy groups, and conducting research to further the development of a fully literate Canadian population.

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New French language tween 'n' teen
title launches

The hot parenting category continues to grow with the launch by the Publications TVA division of Quebecor Media of a new French-language title called Espace Parents, and accompanying website It will concentrate on "tweens and teens" and anyone who lives with them. According to a story in Media in Canada, circulation is 55,000 copies and the children's fashion company Souris Mini, is putting a pullout section into every issue. Other premiere advertisers included Groupe Jean Coutu (PJC), Journal de Montréal, Kimberly Clark, McDonalds, Nestle, and Warnaco of Canada Company.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

KRW finalists announced

The finalists in the premier awards program for trade publications in Canada have been announced. There are 10 finalists in 20 categories, selected from more than 700 entries. The awards administered by the Canadian Business Press,will be announced June 4 at a dinner held as part of Magazines University,at the Old Mill in Toronto. Gold and silver winners and three honourable mentions will be made in each category.

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Food industry ads to promote
healthy food choices

We may not be seeing many changes in magazine ads being directed at parents to buy sugary and nutrition-deficient foods for their kids, but the food industry has pledged to significantly modify the ad messages aimed at kids under 12, largely on television.

"Junk food has replaced tobacco as the young’s Public Enemy #1," says, a website that concentrates on European and North American media issues. And, apparently, Canadian advertisers are intent on being leaders in the crusade against childhood obesity.

Fifteen of Canada's food and beverage industry heavyweights announced this week that they will devote at least 50 per cent of their ads directed to children under 12 toward the promotion of healthy dietary choices and/or active living messages. (The campaign is an extension of a program that began back in 2004 with a television public service announcement under the Long Live Kids banner.)

Among the advertisers participating -- many of whom are in magazines as well as television -- are: Cadbury Schweppes, Campbell, Coca-Cola Ltd., General Mills, Hershey, Janes Family Foods, Kellogg, Kraft, McCain Foods,McDonald’s, Nestlé, Parmalat, PepsiCo, Unilever and Weston Foods.

Advertising Standards Canada, the independent will be responsible for publishing the commitments of the participating companies and publicly reporting on the results.

The Minister of Health, the Hon. Tony Clement, Concerned Children’s Advertisers (CCA), Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) and Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) laid out the program which will include new interpretation guidelines for children’s food and beverage advertising in the Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children and the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards.

A social marketing, education and media literacy program created by CCA, Long Live Kids includes a series of child-directed television public service announcements, a new online workshop for parents and educators, workshops by Canadian educator Linda Millar, as well as curriculum and community resources for children in grades K – 8. The first Long
Live Kids television PSA launched in 2004.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Canada Council supplemental fund channels $550,000 to Canadian magazines

[NOTE: This posting has been updated.]

The much-anticipated special supplementary grants from the Canada Council have resulted in Canadian magazines receiving about $584,000 or about 1.7% of the new money available.

In the 2006 federal budget, the Canada Council for the Arts received a total of $50 million in additional one-time funding: $20 million for 2006-07 and $30 million for 2007-08. Of this, $33 million was to be allocated to all artistic disciplines over the two years. The one-time funding was to enhance the work of organizations which receive Canada Council operating funding. Other funds were directed to supporting individual artists and increasing public access to the arts.

Some titles were disappointed to either get much less than they applied for, or not to be successful at all. A total of 858 arts organizations (92% of the 937 that were eligible) applied and requests totaled $95.6 million – nearly three times what was available. Not every organization could receive funding, said the Council, and even most of those which were successful did not receive the total amount requested in their applications.

The magazines that received grants were:

Arc: Canada's National Poetry Magazine 10,000
BlackFlash 10,000
Border Crossings 25,000
Brick Magazine 10,600
Broken Pencil 18,000
C The Visual Arts Foundation 10,000
Canadian Art Foundation 165,000
Contemporary Verse Two 10,000
CV Ciel Variable 18,600
Descant Magazine 10,000
Event 10,000
Exile the Literary Quarterly 10,000
Fuse Magazine 10,000
Grain Magazine 10,000
Magazines Canada 86,000
Maisonneuve 10,000
Musicworks 12,500
Prefix Photo 10,700
Prism International 10,000
Queen's Quarterly 10,000
Quill and Quire 10,000
RicePaper 10,000
Spirale 21,700
The Fiddlehead 10,000
The Geist Foundation 30,000
The New Quarterly 10,000
This Magazine 11,100
Virages 15,600


UPDATE: We are informed that several magazine titles should have been included* in this list:
24 Images (31,200)
Cahier de theatres jeu (32,800)
Canadian Electroacoustic Community (6,800)
Hors Champ (4,000)
Nouvelles "vues" sur le cinéma québécois (3,000)
Penguin Eggs (10,000)
Point of View magazine (10,000)
Prairie Fire Press Inc. (10,000)
The Devil's Artisan (8,000)

The total for individual magazines was $614,600

*It would be easier, of course, if the Canada Council would list magazines separately from book publishers.

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Condé Nast's Portfolio debuts, at last, and tips the scales at 332 pages

Condé Nast has finally, after almost two years gestation, launched Portfolio, a fat (332 pages, 185 pages of ads) and glossy business magazine cousin to Vogue and Vanity Fair. According to a story in the New York Times, the chairman of Condé Nast, S.I. Newhouse, is bullish on the business publishing category and impatient with the many sceptics who have wondered whether the idea would fly.

“Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to trample on Forbes or Fortune. I think we’re going to help the whole field. We’re going to bring excitement to it, and we’re going to bring luxury and fashion advertisers into it.”

Joanne Lipman, the editor of Portfolio was formerly of The Wall Street Journal, where she had overseen its Weekend Journal and Personal Journal sections and its Saturday paper. “Business is about power,” Ms. Lipman writes in her first editor’s letter. “And guts. And passion. Business coverage should be too.”

The new magazine debuts while some of its major competitors aren't performing in stellar fashion: and 13 % for Fortune, compared with the same period a year ago, according to Publishers Information Bureau. Circulation for those big three has been flat or falling for the last few years, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. However, as the NYT points out, Portfolio would not be the first business magazine introduced during trying times -- Henry Luce founded Fortune just months after the Wall Street crash of 1929.

Mr. Newhouse said that his reported commitment to the magazine of more than $100 million over the next five years was “something of a myth” because “we’re going to stay with Portfolio.”

Portfolio has hired more than 75 editorial people for the magazine, 40 for its Web site,, and more than 45 on the business side.

The business side, under Mr. Carey, the former publisher of The New Yorker, has been working Madison Avenue hard. After all, he has a reputation to uphold. During his tenure at The New Yorker, between 1998 and 2005, advertising revenue almost doubled and the magazine broke the 1 million mark in circulation. In 1996, Mr. Carey brought 210 ad pages to the first issue of the restarted House and Garden, one of the highest levels ever for a new magazine.

Portfolio’s first issue has drawn 53 business advertisers, 30 of which had rarely if ever advertised in a Condé Nast publication. The newcomers include Barclays and Pitney Bowes.

[UPDATE: The Financial Times (London) makes a few arch cracks about the new magazine: "Sometimes the mix seems more Heat magazine does finance, than Vogue meets business."]

[Just caught up with the New York magazine interview with Joanne Lipman the week before the launch.
"With a reported budget of $125 million, it’s the most expensive launch Condé Nast has ever done. And given the trend of advertising moving from print to the Web, it’s possibly the last brand-new, big-time journalistically ambitious magazine ever."]

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Today's Parent awards $50,000 to five individuals who helped kids

Today's Parent magazine is honouring five individuals who have made a significant different in children's lives with the fourth annual Kids' Sake Awards. The magazine donates $10,000 to each of the charities of their choice for a total of $50,000. ho have made a difference in children's lives. The presentations will be made at a special event on April 17 in Toronto.

Details of the winners of the award.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sheridan grad illustrators to showcase best work

Canada's only dedicated illustration program is holding a launch for its grad student show on April 26 at the Steam Whistle Brewery. All the work has been created by the 2007 graduates of Sheridan College’s renowned Bachelor of Applied Arts Illustration program [the illustration above is by Jeff Smalley]. The show will feature work that probes behind today's front-page news, say the organizers.

The gala opening is on Thursday, April 26th, starting at 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. and continues Friday and Saturday, April 27 (5 p.m. to 11 p.m.) and April 28 (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The show's platinum sponsor is Heidelberg Canada.

The program has produced some of the world's leading young illustrators. Award winning graduate work can be seen in the New York Times, New York magazine, The Globe and Mail, Wall Street Journal and Penguin Books. 2002 graduate Graham Roumieu recently signed a deal with a major Hollywood studio for options on his book “Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir” and “In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot”, which he began as a student project.

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Helvetica turns 50

An interesting piece in today's Toronto Star about the Helvetica typeface, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Freelance writer Ryan Bigge looks at the plain and elegant swiss typeface that has spawned numerous imitators (including the pretender Arial) and now a film that is an advance sell-out for two showings in Toronto's Hot Docs festival.

Typography is not simply a frou-frou debate over aesthetics orchestrated by a hidden coterie of graphic-design nerds. You need only imagine a STOP sign that utilizes the heavy-metal typefaces favoured by bands Dokken or Krokus to realize that clear, clean and direct typography can save lives, or at the very least prevent drivers from prolonged bouts of confused squinting.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

June Callwood dies at age 82

What can be said about the loss of June Callwood? Something that hasn't, justifiably, been said elsewhere. We should all be in awe of her career, her life, her accomplishments and the manner of her passing, at the age of 82. Diagnosed with cancer in 2004, she decided to let the disease take its course rather than undergo chemotherapy, enjoying what life she had left rather than ending her days in ultimately futile therapies.

Here was a woman who wrote 1,500 magazine articles, and 30 books most of them on important matters of controversy and contention. She was a serial founder: a founding member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; of the Writers' Union of Canada; the Writers' Development Trust; Canadian PEN; the Canadian Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. She founded Casey House, an AIDS hospice in memory of her youngest son, who died tragically in a motorcycle accident, Nellie's hostel for abused women, Jessie's centre for teenage mothers.
Through her writing and her activism, she did everything with passion, commitment and kindness, amply demonstrated in the extensive notices, including these.

CBC story: "I don't have power — I have influence," she said. "Power and privilege? It's an ability to help to change. My prominence is a trust."
The Globe and Mail's Sandra Martin: "Never one to let a moment escape that could be turned to the advantage of others, Ms. Callwood, reminded her admirers that “If you see an injustice being committed, you aren't an observer, you are a participant.”
Toronto Star: “I believe in kindness. I believe it’s very communicable just as meanness is. Strangers hold doors for one another. Sometimes they say thank you, sometimes they don’t. Something in us says: `If I hold this door it helps this person, and that person is slightly changed. Great consideration for one another - that’s what’s going to save the world.”


Friday, April 13, 2007

Herizons mentioned in dispatches

Nice plug for Herizons magazine in Utne Reader:
The Canadian magazine Herizons illustrates that global feminism is alive and well, though not without continuing struggles and the occasional internal conflict. The quarterly nonprofit publication seeks to inform the feminist community of the latest news and campaign issues dealing with equality, reproductive rights, and child care. The Spring edition features singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco in an inspiring cover story about "hope for the American Left." The issue also rallies to the cause of child care workers, who Danielle Harder explains are integral to the educational development of children, yet are not paid accordingly. Universal child care, Harder writes, is seen by many daycare advocates as the best solution to securing better wages and working conditions for these underappreciated educators. -- Natalie Hudson

MAG auto enthusiast titles sold to Primedia

A couple of young men who built a formidable print empire serving young, mostly male,muscle and performance car enthusiasts, sold their Toronto-based Modified Automotive Group MAG) to the a large American rival, Primedia. The deal was announced in a release from Primedia in February but was apparently not noticed in Canadian media until now.

According to a story in mastheadonline (sub req'd), Rob Laidlaw and Jesse Rasch started the Modified Automotive Group in 1999.
Both loved automobiles and motorsports and felt the market was underserved, Rasch has written in his blog. In 2002, when most publishers busied themselves trying to plant flags online, Laidlaw and Rasch utilized VerticalScope’s online infrastructure and communities of interest to take a stab at the ink-on-paper model with the launch of Modified Mag, a monthly glossy aimed squarely at young American men and their souped-up cars. This was followed by two other launches, Modified Luxury & Exotics (8x/yr), and Modified Mustangs (12x/yr). Combined with complementary websites and 17 branded, auto-related online forums, the Modified Automotive Group (MAG) boasts audience reach levels in the millions.
Primedia publishes mainstream properties like Motor Trend and were up against MAG with their own titles such as Sport Compact Car (est. 1989), Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, said the Masthead story.

So if you can't lick 'em, you buy 'em.

The Enthusiast Media Division of Primedia is said to be America’s #1 special interest media company, with more than 75 magazines, 100 websites, 70 events, two television programs, 400 branded products, and such well-known brands as Motor Trend, Automobile,,, Power & Motoryacht, Hot Rod, Snowboarder, Stereophile, Surfer, and Its other market is in free consumer guides, through Consumer Source Inc.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Teen People web venture to be wound up

Apparently it was not a brave, new world for, the online version of Teen People, which Time Inc has announced will be subsumed within the People magazine website. It has been less than a year since the print magazine was discontinued with a lot of bold talk about the digital future.

The readers of Teen People were said to be more attuned to accessing the content online, making the print magazine redundant, it was said. Well, according to a Folio: story, the traffic didn't bear out the high hopes.
Sites such as and have in the past posted impressive traffic relative to print circulations but lag far behind other sites that cater to their audience, such as MySpace, according to a recent report in Folio:. had 435,000 unique visitors in March of 2006, but is currently not meeting the minimum sample standards needed for Nielsen/NetRatings to project its current audience size, reported today.

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Shameless plug IV

The next session of So You Want to Start a Magazine?, an occasional two-day seminar (which I teach) is coming up At Ryerson University on Friday, April 27 and Saturday 28th. It's a program that is focussed on the practicalities of startups, with the emphasis on tips and templates for people who have a publishing idea and want to make it successful. To find out more, go here or go to the link at the right.

Maclean's ME strikes back at
U of Alberta president

Tony Keller, managing editor for special projects at Maclean's, has published a 2,000-word critique on the American website Inside HigherEd, suggesting that at least one Canadian university is cooking the books when it comes to releasing data about the entering grades of their undergraduate students.

In particular, he focusses on the University of Alberta, whose president Indira Samarasakera last week wrote on the same website urging U.S. universities to follow Canadian universities' lead with Maclean's and snub all such magazine rankings.
[UPDATE: a campaign to do just that is growing in the U.S. According to a story in the Christian Science Monitor, a letter is making the rounds with a group of U.S. college presidents urging their fellows to boycott the annual U.S. News and World Report university rankings -- upon which Maclean's is said to have modelled its annual issue.]
This is, of course, more of the continuing conflict between Maclean's and Canada's largest universities, about the magazine's longstanding university rankings (see earlier posts). Keller points readers to his blog, where he amplifies his criticism of U of A (apparently 2,000 words was not enough to contain his outrage) and promises more next week.

It is hard to see what Maclean's hopes to gain by this. The stakes are high for the magazine, which built the university rankings into a very lucrative franchise that is in significant jeopardy if the universities succeed in shutting off the data tap.

The tone of the statements coming from both sides is amazingly aggressive. Keller, for instance, accuses the president of one of the universities he has to get onside (if this is ever to be settled) of character assassination and falsehoods. This, despite the fact that Keller has apparently spent a lot of time visiting universities, implementing improvements in the rankings methodology and seeking some sort of peace with the university presidents.

It is hard to see how this most recent exchange will do anything but make finding any compromise that much harder. Maybe Maclean's doesn't care whether it wins back cooperation from the universities anymore.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

U.S. Publishers Information Bureau cuts back reporting of ad pages and revenue

For 25 years, American magazine publishers have received monthly reports on ad pages and dollars booked in consumer magazines. Now, in what it has spun as an effort to provide "broader context", the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB), a division of the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) is cutting back to quarterly reporting, effective the first quarter of 2007.

"[The] move is the latest in a pattern of similar moves by other media trade groups over the past several years that appears to be suppressing, not enhancing the flow of information about the advertising performance of their member media companies," says the story in MediaDaily News.

The PIB data has always been subject to criticism because it is based on data reported voluntarily by magazine publishers and the dollar amounts are calculated based on rate cards, which means that no account is taken of ubiquitous discounting. However, it allowed apples-to-apples tracking of trends on a year-to-date basis.
There is no equivalent Canadian data, something many Canadian publishers lament. (The only source in Canada is Statistics Canada, which for more than a decade provided a detailed and comprehensive "census" every two to three years of magazine revenues and costs; last year it announced it was discontinuing the process in favour of a random sample which will contain much less detailed information.)

The timing of the PIB's move is interesting [the story said] because it coincides with a relatively flat period for print advertising growth--something some observers might see as a move to squelch potential downward trends,

"I'm disheartened to hear that it might be perceived as a lack of transparency, because that's not what it's about," said Ellen Oppenheim, chief marketing officer of the MPA. "We're hoping to provide more information and a broader perspective than one month can provide."

An especially vexing issue for the MPA's members was that people might draw significant trends from the monthly statistics that were mere anomalies in publishers' or category results.

"One of the things that we've noticed is if you index something off a small base versus a big base things become magnified," she explained. "We were finding that people were looking at month-to-month trends as meaningful, and we felt they needed a larger context. We don't want it to be less transparent. We want it to be a stronger perspective."

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Toronto Life puts its brand up in lights on a key Toronto corner

St. Joseph Communications has bought the naming rights to a key Toronto intersection -- Yonge and Dundas -- and will brand the development there Toronto Life Square after its iconic flagship magazine. In a press release issued today, it was announced that the multi-use complex, called Metropolis while it was under construction, will open under the new name in the fall of 2007. The building is being developed by PenEquity Management Corporation.
"We are thrilled to have acquired the naming rights for what will be an energetic addition to Toronto's landscape," says Tony Gagliano, Executive Chairman and CEO of St. Joseph Communications. "Toronto Life Square, with its dynamic network of digital and mechanical screens both inside and out, will create an exciting, unparalleled experience for Torontonians and visitors to the city."
The complex dominates the northeast corner of Yonge and Dundas Streets and will have 20,000 square feet of outdoor signage, adding considerable wattage to the displays that already tower over the intersection on the north- and southwest. It will feature Canada's largest high-definition video display (30 x 52 feet) and the world's largest contoured tri-vision. Along with the 34 surrounding video panels, it would be possible to display an image of 2,400 square feet.
"Toronto Life Square is located at the heart of Canada's busiest intersection and Toronto's number one visitor destination," says Sharon McAuley, Vice-President and Group Publisher of Toronto Life. "Fifty-six million visitors frequent the immediate area each year, and over 20 million subway passenger trips start or end in the Yonge-Dundas area."
The building itself will have 500,000 square feet of mixed uses, including cinemas (some of which will double during the day as lecture halls for Ryerson University), offices and retail shopping.
Toronto Life, in partnership with sister publications through St. Joseph Media and with technical and creative support from Alchemy (a St. Joseph Content company), will develop and produce special content for the integrated digital signage network and special live programming throughout the year, establishing Toronto Life Square as Toronto's most exciting destination and meeting place.

"With a blend of flagship tenants and dynamic media, Toronto Life Square will become the cornerstone of Canada's most vibrant intersection," says Glenn Miller, Chairman, PenEquity Management Corporation. "In order to maximize the impact of the project's retail and media components, it was important to choose a partner who could enhance our customers' experience. With this iconic name, a fixture of Toronto's culture, Toronto Life Square will accomplish our vision."
Through its division St. Joseph Media, St. Joseph Communications is owner and publisher of some of Canada's leading consumer magazines, including Toronto Life, Fashion, Wedding Bells and Canadian Family. PenEquity focusses on large-scale retail and entertainment development and has created more than 4.2 million square feet of such complexes.

There's a concept picture of the site on Torontoist.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Quote, unquote

No, the real issue here is that the magazine fails to convey a modicum of excitement about the subject at hand. It's the Bataan Death March of enthusiast publications.
-- Larry Dobrow, reviewing Electronic Home magazine
in Media Post's Magazine Rack column
Dobrow takes off after a magazine that's beset with typos and fluff but also is boring. Remember the iron rule of publishing: don't bore the readers.

What will the papers say?

Although it is fixated on newspapers, many magazine journalists and publishers make a point of reading the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR). Now this venerable magazine has undergone a transformative experience of its own, with a redesign showing up with its March/April issue. Of course, the cover story is a big piece by Robert Kuttner on the future of newspapers in the age of the internet.

Newspapers are embracing the Web with the manic enthusiasm of a convert. The Internet revenue of newspaper Web sites is increasing at 20 percent to 30 percent a year, and publishers are doing everything they can to boost Web traffic. Publishers know they are in a race against time, they are suddenly doing many things that their Internet competitors do, and often better.

The irony is that in their haste both to cut newsroom costs and ramp up Web operations, some newspapers are slashing newsroom staff and running the survivors ragged. At many dailies, today’s reporter is often pressed into Web service: writing frequent updates on breaking stories, wire-service fashion; posting blog items; and conducting interviews with a video camera. If journalism is degraded into mere bloggery, newspapers will lose their competitive advantage, not to mention their journalistic calling.

An equally impressive piece on a similar subject was written on the weekend by Toronto Star columnist (and former Report on Business Magazine editor) David Olive.
The ground is now shifting, and will do so at an accelerating pace over the next two or three years, as the interests of journalists and proprietors begin to diverge. Having dumbed down or at least homogenized their product, newspaper owners now are desperately trying to preserve margins – and keep impatient investors at bay – by destroying their venerable franchises with rounds of layoffs. The "content providers," worried about job security and pensions, are examining their options. So are those few proprietors who understand that you can't shrink to survival, much less greatness.

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Moving pictures: big publishers
plunging into video

The uneasy combination of print magazine publications and video is picking up momentum as major players set up their own video production deals. Time Inc. created its own in-house video division which will channel productions to some 130 various magazine websites and to cell phone screens. In March, Rodale Partners announced that it is partnering with video producer Brightcove to create Internet video channels for flagship Men's Health and probably later to Prevention, Runner's World and Women's Health. Before that, Brightcove struck a deal to provide video services to Newsweek.

Now, according to a story in MediaDaily News, Hearst Magazines -- in particular Cosmo Girl and Popular Mechanics -- has cut a deal with the Fox network to produce video.
The first video content for CosmoGirl is a drama centered on the travails of three female best friends during their junior year of high school. The format of the series, as yet unnamed, is apparently designed for mobile consumption with two new "Webisodes," no longer than three minutes, appearing every week.

According to Hearst, the plot will be driven in part by suggestions from viewers, who are invited to email the show's producers true stories from their own lives.

Popular Mechanics will get a different series, with real mechanics and designers delivering pearls of technical wisdom, but in the same format (biweekly, each episode no longer than three minutes). As with the CosmoGirl drama, the "Webisodes" can be watched at Popular Mechanics' Web site, in addition to mobile devices.
Brightcove is a new open internet TV service that is aiming its business model largely at commercial content providers (like magazines) who not only need/want to provide video channels to augment their titles, but want to monetize them, too. To find out more about this, you can look at a video briefing by Chairman Jeremy Allaire at the time of the company's launch.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Online sub sourcing no panacea, says Capell

It's a classic case of good news, bad news:
  • More magazines are selling more subscriptions online than ever before, but the phenomenon seems to have peaked;
  • Most subs come through the publishers own websites, but in order for online sourcing to grow, more reliance will have to be put on other people's sites, where payup is a problem
This, according to a story in MediaWeek, quoting circulation guru Dan Capell, editor of Capell's Circulation Report (available only by subscription).

“Most people think we’ve hit the peak,” said Capell, who has been surveying 100 to 150 magazine circ directors per year over the past decade. “The quality of orders has not been great. The pay-up rate and renewal rate have not been up to par.” For the past three years, internet subs have stayed around 10 per cent of new orders up from 7 per cent five years ago.

Some publishers are besting the average, said the story. For instance, Hearst magazines get nearly 15 per cent of their subs through online sources. Rodale expects to get a 500,000 new (net paid) subs from online sources this year—representing 10 percent of all new subs—and is setting its sights on hitting 18 percent by the end of 2008.
In the end, selling magazines online is subject to the challenges of selling them anywhere. New, popular magazines are relatively easy to sell, no matter where, said Chip Block, a veteran publishing and circulation exec, who added that for “mature magazines with big rate bases, it’s tough to sell subscriptions or single copy through any source.”

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Canadian Freethinker launched

A group of independent-minded folk have launched a new, bimonthly magazine called the Canadian Freethinker. It brings together content that was previously only available in a couple of newsletters. The inaugural issue is dated March/April, 2007. A single copy is $5.50, an annual subscription (6 issues) is $30. No word on what circulation is expected or whether advertising will be carried.

The magazine is a joint venture of the Society of Ontario Freethinkers and the Freethought Association of Canada (an organization formerly called the Toronto Secular Alliance) and is published by Keltoi Publishing of Elmira, Ontario. The magazine's avowed aim is "to give voice to all freethinkers–atheists, agnostics, humanists, skeptics and transhumanists–in discussing issues of civil and human rights, and promoting events for freethought groups."

The first issue contains a feature on freethinker Alexander Graham Bell, and articles about secular activism in Canada and on eliminating the Lord's Prayer from civic council meetings.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Tina Brown gets her due

Interesting longish post on the blog Gawker making the case that much of the good at David Remnick's New Yorker magazine is due to the superlative hires made by his predecessors, most particularly Tina Brown. Fascinating as such a parsing of the comings and goings can be for magazine junkies, even more fascinating is the sheer volume of talent that has flushed in and out of this iconic title in the past 10 years. No matter how much it might be said that Brown trashed the venerable title, she also had an eye for good people, good writers and editors, many of whom make the magazine what it is today.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Smashing idea -- an international
logo design contest

Wow, there's a lot of good and interesting work going on out there. Smashing Magazine, a very interesting web publication out of Saarbrucken, Germany, that started just last August, held a competition for a new logo for its site. And in just three weeks, the ideas just poured in, from all around the globe. One of the finalists (the winner is to be announced tomorrow) is by someone from Canada (shown, above). Many of the finalists are from eastern Europe. And if you ever needed to see how a creative brief can be interpreted umpteen different ways, this competition is an example.

[UPDATE: the winner (below) was from South Africa. You can see the five finalists here, too.

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