Boy do I have a treat for you guys this morning. If you’re a bit of a magazine junkie (like me!), you’ve undoubtedly heard the buzz of the newest mag in town: Anthology. Because I love to support start-ups, independent businesses and the beauty of print, I was thrilled to offer Meg Mateo Ilasco (creative director of Anthology and all-around goddess of publishing) a spot on Design for Mankind to chat about the mag.
Read on for some serious inspiration. And take notes. This Anthology team is smart, and this mag is going to be huuuuge. Take it away, Meg!
1. Tell us how the magazine came about. Pure inspirational moment? Years of ruminating?
When magazines like Blueprint and Domino folded, it left a huge void for a lot of people, including us. Anh-Minh (Editor-in-Chief) and I have such a DIY ethos; If we can’t find what we want (like a good shelter magazine), it just means we have to make it ourselves! And that’s exactly what happened: Anh-Minh and I independently began considering launching a magazine last year. When I found out last year that she wanted to start one, I basically said, “So do I!” After we had a conversation about it, we realized that we both had the same ideals, goals, and rigor about starting a shelter publication. It was a good fit. We began working on the magazine at the beginning of the year.
2. I’m so, so thrilled to see a print magazine blooming up to fight the odds. Why did you decide to go the print route, rather than publish an online magazine?
We actually never considered anything else but print. It was never a decision; it was an objective.
3. You’ve gathered a fantastic team for the premiere issue! How did you select the people involved?
We rounded up 23 freelancers for the first issue. Because of our experience in publishing—Anh-Minh as a columnist for the SF Chronicle and mine as an author and book designer—we were lucky to have worked with so many talented photographers, illustrators, writers, and designers before we started the magazine. We pulled from our personal contacts and also reached out to people we wanted to work with.
The video was nearly as large of an undertaking as the magazine! We started meetings in May, filmed the video in August, and finished post production and editing last week. It took two days to build the set, two days to shoot, and one day to breakdown the set. Oh, it also took about a month to make all the props. All this for a 2-minute video.
When I began thinking about the video in April, I wanted there to be a dual message: one announcing our magazine and another showing how print and paper are important in our lives. I drafted the concept of a woman going through her day and how paper (specifically a magazine) is a big, but subtle part of her daily experience. Even though I knew it was going to be a ton of work, I also wanted much of the set and the props to be made from paper.
When I brought the idea to Thayer Allyson Gowdy, the director, she was able to bring more dimensionality to my original concept. Her assistant, Maren Patton, produced the film, rounding up the talent (from editing and lighting to selecting a fashion stylist and model). My favorite part of the experience was developing the set design and styling. I also enjoyed making many of props in the video, including the cardboard typewriter—it was nice to craft things with my hands for a change!
5. Graphically, what did you do different with this magazine (other than the illustrated cover, which you don’t see on many newsstands!)? Why did you decide to take this approach?
Homes are intimate environments—so shouldn’t a magazine about homes feel that way, too?—that was our thought. Not only are we sharing pictures of people’s homes but their stories as well, so we tried to echo that feeling through the photography, colors, fonts, and even the paper. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not all moody and sentimental—there are definite moments of lightness, humor, and color. It’s important to have a balance.
As for the magazine cover, there’s definitely a throwback quality to it. There was a time when most magazine covers weren’t seducing you with catchy headlines or top 10 lists, rather they were pieces of art, something that could be framed. Vintage Harpers Bazaar and Vogue covers are so inspiring and a testament to how illustrations can be just as powerful and moving as photographs. It’s shame that we don’t see more illustrated magazine covers.