2012: A Note from SPD President Neil Jamieson

2012: A Note from SPD President Neil Jamieson
llustration for SPD by SHOUT


2012: The year the designer got busy....really busy! 

Ah the year-end wrap up...the final word on the year that was. The note that summarizes where we've been as a society and where we're headed...Well I can certainly talk about the "where we've been" part...but as for "where we're headed"? Well I don't know about you guys but I'm headed to the holiday party on Thursday night and will take it from there!


2012 was a complicated year for our community, it was one of great opportunity both digitally and in print. We saw some extraordinary redesigns and mile-stone editions, we welcomed back Best Life, saw the biggest ever issue of InStyle, the return (in part) of lux ad dollars and the launch issue of Howler magazine (okay that last one was for me!). Sadly this year though we also saw Newsweek go all digital and Newscorp's great digital experiment The Daily just...go. 

   Year 3 of the iPad brought with it some harsh realities about work-load and profitability but 2012 also saw dozens of new tablet launches, one shots, bonus issues, and tablet only content. It was a year in which brands started to experiment. We saw digital versions of archival issues, election specials and mobile apps direct from the convention's floor. We enjoyed a seemingly infinite trove of bonus videos, photos, animations and motion-graphics all made possible using tools the designer was instrumental in developing. This year we learned that a widget was not just the plastic thing at the bottom of a can of Boddingtons and that readers hate auto-play videos (but love 360 swimsuit photos...okay we probably already knew this but now we have the analytics!). 

More was asked of designers and photo editors than ever before as we continued to tackle the lions share of this digital work. New challenges were embraced with confidence and the results have been extraordinary.  2012 saw the most innovative, ambitious and smart app design to date, work we should all be extremely proud of.

This was the year that publication designers embraced their new roll as content creators. We put in long hours as we adapted to new technologies which we learnt quickly and with great enthusiasm.  We became video editors, animators and code-writers in order to enhance reading experiences for our tablet consumers. This year was filled with so much opportunity in just about every discipline that there really has never been a better time to be a publication designer or photo editor.

2012 was a milestone year for SPD too! We've had a full calendar over the past 12 months including great speaker, social, charitable and student events. 

A few weeks ago we were thrilled to announce Marshall McKinney (AD, Garden and Gun) and Courtney Murphy (CD, Good Housekeeping) as co-chairs of this year's "Bespoke" themed PUB 48 competition for print. SI's Chris Hercik and New York's Steve Motzenberger signed up as chairs for the digital side of things too and we are delighted to say that SPD's own Bob Newman has agreed to serve as the magazine-of-the-year chair.
Good news on the PUB 47 front too. The Luke Hayman designed PUB 47 annual will be in the mailboxes of our members very soon, I saw a copy last week and rest assured it will have pride of place on your ideas shelf for years to come!

SPD has grown on-line as well this year expanding our reach through our ever popular website and social media. SPD.org as become THE destination for breaking news and analysis from around our community. There is no better site to preview extraordinary publication design work and to troll through the vast Newman archives!.

Executive Director Keisha Dean celebrated her first full year at the helm this year and in her short time with the society she has reinvented the way we do things! We are able to communicate with you, our members faster and more directly through our membership website which allows you to easily update all your info (to make sure you get your book and gala invites on time) purchase tickets to our events, post an online portfolio and network with fellow members. Keisha also ushered in the online entry system to our competition this year. PUB 48 is the first year entrants can submit all their info online which is designed to be faster, more efficient and way less painful than ever before, we hope you like it! 

2012 was also of course the year we tragically lost 3 of our community's greatest. Amid Capeci, Joe Kimberling and Hilman Curtis. They all tragically lost battles with cancer this year but their legacies live on through their contributions to SPD and the inspiration they gave to countless designers, photographers and illustrators. Giants, all, they will be missed

On a personal note 2012 was a great year for me. To be able to serve as President of this venerable society as we approach its 50th anniversary is an unbelievable honor. I first heard of SPD when I saw a tattered annual in my college library about 15 years ago in London. Its only now when I look back that i realize the extraordinary reach of our society and that is all thanks to the continued participation of you, our members. Thank you to our extraordinary board of directors, our speakers, volunteers, website contributors, event organizers, student outreach committee members, social media directors, the SPD west crew and the countless others who contribute so much of themselves week in week out to SPD to ensure our society continues to flourish.  


Here's to a great 2012 and a healthy and opportunity-filled 2013. 


Happy Holidays! 

Neil Jamieson
SPD President


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