From the SPD Archives: The First Issue of Grids, 1982

From the SPD Archives: The First Issue of Grids, 1982 SPD50b.jpgThe SPD members newsletter went through a series of iterations in the 1960s and 70s, first as a two-sided, letter-sized offset publication, and in later, leaner times, as a mimeographed series of pages. Finally, in December 1982, the first edition of Grids was published and sent to SPD members. Under the direction of SPD President Myles Ludwig and Executive Director Judy Christensen, Grids was an 11 x 17-inch two-sided, single color offset newsletter, all typeset in American Typewriter. Additional pages were added to subsequent editions.

Content for Grids included Member News, information on an upcoming SPD holiday party, and job listings. There was also a President Reports from Ludwig, who commented that "New design technology is as revolutionary to today's art director as moveable type was to Gutenberg centuries ago." Some things never change!

On the turn page we've got scans of the complete issue of Grids, and you can click on the images to blow them up and read the stories! There's also a remembrance from SPD President Myles Ludwig, who also gives a brief rundown of his very illustrious career both before and after SPD.

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Myles Ludwig: As I recall, in those halcyon days, I was the editorial director of Chip Goodman's Carnegie Publications. We produced a number of magazine titles, including a slew of unsavory, but euphemistically called "mens' sophisticates." My career at Penthouse magazine had brought me there after a decade of twists and turns in the magazine business. One of my important mentors in that business was the suave Jean-Louis Ginibre who had come over from Paris to supervise Oui, on a break from Hachette. I still recall his words: "The picture is the layout." But said with a cool French accent, of course. My first job in the magazine business was as editorial director at Art Direction magazine, where I worked for the legendary Don Barron in the early 1970s. Don and I judged the submissions for his annual Creativity Awards show, which we spread out on the floor of his Murray Hill apartment.

Just before becoming President of SPD I did some work on 7 Days and High Times and designed You magazine, meant to be a "common people's" People (before People's launch). It didn't last very long...maybe three issues (not enough common people) though some of my layouts won awards from the New York Art Director's Club and the Type Directors Club.

My primary responsibility as president of SPD was organizing and staging the awards exhibition and the black-tie awards dinner, which I initiated. I felt we also needed a member-communication piece that reflected the aesthetic concerns of the organization. That was Grids...design by necessity. At the time, I was also developing New York Sports with Tony Palladino. It was inspired by San Francisco Sports, and was meant to be same format as Grids. We distributed the pilot issue at the New York Marathon. Unfortunately, like many interesting magazine ideas, it did not go further.

I chose the title of Grids for obvious reasons. The grid was, still is, the foundation for magazine design. I thought of the system as the architectural framework. I particularly admired the work of Allan Hurlburt, Alex Liberman, Willy Fleckhaus, Massimo Vignelli, Shel Seidler, Jerry Demoney, Joe Brooks, Will Hopkins, Martin Pedersen, Steve Heller, Herb Lubalin, George Lois, Bernie Zlotnick, Milton Glaser, Susan Cotler, Bea Feitler, Ruth Ansel, Bob Ciano, Henry Wolfe, Art Paul, April Geisman, Melissa Tardiff, Steve Phillips, Robert Best, Dugald Stermer, Mike Salisbury, Ian Summers, Roger Black, "Uncle" Louis Silverstein and Robert Priest among others. Though not all publication designers, we all seemed to share a certain aesthetic.

I convinced a young outside firm, Brier Sherowitz, to execute the concept, which was intended to be a self-mailer...an antiquated idea in the world of the internet. I felt they brought a lot of enthusiasm and creativity to the table. The proof of that pudding is that just recently, I showed Grids to another publication in Florida that I was interested in developing, and their response was: "Wow, this is a classic." That was gratifying.

Not long afterwards, I left New York for Hawaii and founded two magazines (Sandwich Islands Quarterly--Shel Seidler came out to design early issues--and Kauai Style) and a small marketing communications company. I created the publication for Kauai's arts council (same format as Grids) and did editorial and design work for a number of real estate and tour companies (one of which I founded), the Kauai Polo Club and the Princeville Resort.

I then started working in South East Asia, including Hong Kong, where I had done production work for the Hawaii magazines, Bangkok, Manila, and Kuala Lumpur, where I was the editorial director/art director of VisionKL, the English-language city magazine

After a short stint in L.A. (consulting on BRNTWOOD magazine and working on a never-produced movie with John Daly, producer of The Last Emperor and Platoon) I came to Florida to work on a magazine for Palm Beach which also did not last....magazines are a tough business and like a movie producer, you are always looking for financing or, like a media cowboy, always looking for a new horse.

I started playing croquet and, at the urging of my good friend and croquet partner Harry Selinger, created, designed and published Croquet News for the U.S. Croquet Association. I am always thinking of new projects. Just before he passed away, Tony Palladino and I were working via email on a book about opera posters, a project I'd still like to get off the ground.

These days, I mostly write and teach. I am writing a dissertation on international magazine design for a PhD in cultural science (is it a science or an art?) from the Europa Universitaet Viadrina in Germany. And, of course, my memoirs.

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Related Stories:
From the SPD Archives: The 15th Call for Entries, 1979
From the SPD Archives: Publication Design 12, 1978
From the SPD Archives: Publication Design 39 Cover, 2004
From the SPD Archives: Society of Publication Designers News, 1966
From the SPD Archives: Call for Entries Poster, 1972




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