Bespoke Magazine No. 17: Uppercase

Bespoke Magazine No. 17: Uppercase
For the 48th SPD Pub competition and gala, Co-chairs Courtney Murphy and Marshall McKinney sought to acknowledge the "bespokeness" that adds interest to our increasingly homogenous world, celebrating publishers both large and small that are creating customized publications with an emphasis on individuality.

Sure, judging for this year's competition may be in the books but that doesn't mean we're going to stop bringing you more examples of what makes Bespoke publications so great.

The next bespoke pub you may may not be aware of: Uppercase. BIG thanks to SPD student outreach co-chair (and Money magazine Deputy Art Director) Leah Bailey for the profile after the jump

UPPERCASE magazine, as expressed by its tagline, is "for the creative and curious" and this truly is the loose guideline to what appears in the magazine. 

Each issue has a theme, and inside you'll find a mesmerizing array of illustration, design, photography and writing. It features the work of various designers, artists and crafters, and includes an eclectic array of articles, from features on particular artists to essays on things as random as bird nests (and our personal fav, the "Abecedary" which gives fun little factoids on the issue's theme from A to Z). 

Janine Vangool plays the triple role of publisher, editor and designer and started the magazine initially as a side project to her design career. Here she shares with us some of the goals and ideas behind the publication:

"We like to support the creative endeavours of our readership and therefore much of the written content, photography and illustration is commissioned from our subscribers, open calls for submissions and through connections made in our social media circles. I strongly believe that the magazine is a collaborative effort with its readership.
      I categorize and archive all the submissions and suggestions that come my way, as well as favourite blog posts, Flickr images, Etsy shops, tweets... When you're looking at so many things, you start to see common threads and emerging themes. So an issue's themes are a combination of these discoveries and topics of interest to me personally."

Each issue features a different patterned spine and uses sticker-like labels as section headers. As Janine explains:

"I've always been fond of those labels, and I wanted a device to indicate different sections and topics. The label that wraps around the spine on the cover has been there from the first issue onward.
    I have used the masthead and spine patterns right from the first issue also. I wanted a decorative element right off the bat. Part of my design process is to choose the spine patterns. Each one relates to the theme of the issue--they aren't random."

Designing a publication that largely features already-made design and art also led her towards a simpler palette of typefaces, to let the work shine through:

"I don't use a lot of different typefaces. Although I see them in other publications, I am able to make them our own because of how well-crafted they are. They are workhorses.
    We are a bit different from typical art-directed magazines in that a lot of our content comes from readers and contributors. A reader may be a graphic designer by day, but that doesn't mean they aren't a talented photographer outside of work. We use multiple talents. A writer might photograph a piece or an illustrator might conduct an interview."

It truly is a fun read, full of surprise, imagination, and inspiration. Plus the paper feels great in your hands and each issue comes with cool postcards featuring more awesome art.

Issue #16 on the press as we speak!

Janine Vangool, Publisher / Editor / Designer
Eleanor Cheng, Online shop, subscription and wholesale queries, address changes
Glen Dresser, Writer, development
Erin Bacon, Marketing, publicity and community development

Information compiled from Janine Vangool and Erin Bacon, and Melanie Falick Books' blog.
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