Carla Frank, Creative Director & Brand Strategist

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SPD: What were you up to? 
Carla Frank:
I was young and I was always trying to gain my mother’s love and attention. Achieving such interactions though was nearly impossible – which is how I came to be a dedicated observer of my very pretty yet distant mother. 

Particularly of note in my onlookings, were evident mood shifts when she read magazines. My overwhelmed and stern mother transformed before my eyes into a happy, light-hearted, fulfilled and engaged young woman. She looked so beautiful and carefree in those moments as I sat quietly beside her to see what she was seeing. Sometimes she would walk me through her favorite sections of the magazine and the spectacular features. Sometimes she would laugh aloud at the articles, sometimes call out celebrity names as if she was saying hello to them at a chic cafe. Sometimes she would finger tap outfits she liked while carefully studying them and sometimes she would hug the magazine to her chest when her delightful pastime was interrupted. 

Being an avid reader and born stylist, she created captivating vignettes in small spaces throughout the house. One of her signature styling looks consisted of neat and inviting stacks of her all-time favorite magazines carefully placed reverently. To her they were divine objects. She saved only the finest of her collection for years. 

SPD: What magazine? 
CF:
There was one stack I consistently secretly snuck quiet moments with – Holiday Magazine

SPD: Do you know now who the creatives were?  
CF:
Yes. They were legendary. Editor Ted Patrick and art director Frank Zachary

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SPD: What was it that so enthralled you? 
CF:
EVERYTHING. The overall wit, wisdom and exotic insights. The daring covers, the transporting photos, the stylish illustrations, the strong type and the use of white space. It was a monthly travel bible created by a group of sophisticates who didn’t necessarily take it all too seriously, which allowed a certain sense of freedom. 

There were two deeply notable characteristics defining Holiday Magazine. The first was that they hired the most famous writers, to travel and write glorious pieces about places. For instance, James Michener on the south pacific, Colette on love in Paris, William Saroyan on Fresno, Ian Fleming on London, Joan Didion on Sacramento and so many more by the likes of Paul Bowles, Jack Kerouac, M.F.K. Fisher, Ogden Nash, Arthur Miller, James Thurber, and Alistair Cooke to name only a few. 

The second notable characteristic was the vision of Art Director Frank Zachary, who became a publishing icon himself. Frank brought together a distinguished group of photographers such as Cartier-Bresson, Steichen, Aarons and illustrators such as Arnold Roth, Ronald Searle, Edward Gorey and John Rombola. With fusion of real editorial backbone, mischievousness and impeccable taste, Frank basically reinvented the modern leisure magazine in America 

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Every issue was packed with dazzle, surprise and seduction. Holiday had an insatiable curiosity that created a wide breadth of subjects so it wasn’t just travel it was culture too. There was also a sense of mission, in that Holiday promoted an idea for Americans to make the most out of the advantages they had in prosperity, productivity and happiness. The magazine was pure discovery from cover to cover. 

No wonder why I had the curiosity to travel the world and ended up working at a top travel magazine early in my career. Yet it occurs to me only now, years after becoming a Creative Director in magazines, the deepest subconscious reasons that drove me to magazines in the first place. They brought a world of imagination, delight and refinement to our doorsteps. I wanted to be a part of an elite group who created magazines which could move people the way they did my mother. To be able to produce an enchanting world in which someone could become immersed and seduced into reading the pages and emerge feeling smarter, brighter, and happier was a lot of magic and responsibility at my finger tips. This aspiration and inspiration is perhaps why I’ve poured so much love into every pixel and page I’ve worked on. Perhaps it’s why we all do. 

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Jamie Prokell, Creative Director at Men’s Health

Jamie Prokell: It was 1991 and bundled free with my sister’s issue of Sassy magazine came one of the best things to ever make its way through the US Postal system, or at least that is what it meant to me that year. Here was Dirt Magazine, and on its pages were the weird mix of everything that I was searching for, years before the Internet provided a voice for every disenfranchised youth. I was a young boy in High School, awkward and interested in just about anything  outside of the mainstream. Music, can’t find it on the radio? Let me listen. Clothes, only available by mail order from the other side of the United States in a size fives times what it should be? Where do I send the check? Dirt showed up and seemed to hold the answer to all of that. It was put together by a bunch of skaters just a few years older than myself, and with all of the same interests.

It only ran for 7 issues, but in those few issues they had the Beastie Boys, Mr. T, Crispin Glover and a then unknown Jason Lee getting punched in the face on their covers. It was original and was everything I was into.

SPD: What year?
JP:
1991-1993, it only published seven issues. Most of it came as a supplement to Sassy magazine.

SPD: What were you up to? 
JP:
I was a kid in a western Pennsylvania Catholic high school. One of three kids in the entire school who skateboarded. Awkward, unsure, and ready to rebel against anything. I was looking for anything that went against the “man,” who to me at that time was mainstream media and organized sports. I had been going through a steady diet of Thrasher, Transworld Skateboarding, Poweredge magazine, and anything printed that mentioned or pictured a skateboard. A world that existed across the United States in California and miles away from where I was at.

SPD: What magazine? 
JP: The magazine was Dirt. A free supplement that originally came poly-bagged with an issue of Sassy. This was the first time I felt, how do these people have all of the answers to all of my questions and interests. Years later I came to understand that something this special comes from a staff of interested and interesting people all working together to answer these questions for themselves. But at that time, this magazine was like a peek into the bigger world, a world beyond Pittsburgh.

SPD: What was it that so enthralled you? 
JP:
I had been stealing my sister’s Sassy magazine for awhile, trying to figure out how I could understand girls, and where exactly I could find ones that were as cool as the ones in the pages of Sassy magazine. When just like a wish granted, came the answer I was looking for. Here was a magazine that was all about my life. It talked about clothes, haircuts, music, skateboarding, and girls. But the pages were filled with people who I had become familiar with from skate shops, Thrasher and Transworld Skateboarding. Yes, I thought! This was another skateboard magazine. But this one covered everything that you did while you were not skateboarding. One of my favorite articles, that I still remember today, took Jeff Tremain (who later became famous for producing the Jackass franchise) and slowly cut his long hair into 8 different hair lengths and gave names to each style. They reviewed things no other magazine at that time were: Candy, Shoes, Swatches, comics, hair and girls. And somehow this first issue came to my house, and for free. I felt like I had been chosen. From that point on every time I went to the mall I would go to the small newsstand near the exit and check for the next issue. At this point in my life I had no idea that there was any sort of publishing schedule. So five times a week, I would be scouring the newsstand, for any clue a new issue was on its way. 

SPD: Do you know now who the creatives were? 
JP:
I’m not sure I totally understood that all of the people featured in the pages weren’t involved with creating the issue. But I was aware Andy Jenkins, Spike Jonze, and Mark Lewman were leading the charge. These were the same names that I had been seeing in every issue of Transworld Skateboarding, and Thrasher each month. They were putting their friends in fashion shoots and other stories. It was amazing to see Natas Kaupus, Jason Lee, Ray Barbee, all of these skateboarders just doing things that I was not seeing anywhere else. It made the lifestyle real to me, and that was what I fell in love with. Looking back at the old issue now, I’m not sure the design was what grabbed me, but the sincerity and intention is still as real as it was all of those years ago. And that’s what spoke to me. 

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SPD: How does that inform your creative now? 
JP:
I can still remember the feeling of reading those pages. It was the realness of the stories. Today I try to put myself in the place of the reader and ask myself what would I want this story to be. What do I want to see. What would excite me. And I try to create/design stories to answer that. What would get me excited? Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. But at least I feel I am trying to create something I would spend time exploring. 

Isabel Castillo Guijarro, Art Director Refinery29 / Designer & Illustrator

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SPD: What year?
Isabel Castillo Guijarro:
1998-99

SPD: What were you up to?
ICG:
I grew up in the publishing world. My great-grandfather owned a printer in Madrid, Spain during the early 20s, working mostly on embossing books; my grandfather worked for him as a typist since his early teens before going on to designing some of the big magazines and newspapers in Spain at that time — Marca, ABC, As and even special projects for Francisco Franco— my uncle was the Creative Director at Hachette. My point is, that there where always magazines around.

 
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SPD: What magazine?
ICG:
My first real understanding of a magazine was Ragazza, a Spanish fashion magazine that closed doors in 2008. Only because I was in one of the early issues as a baby in 1990. My mom still has that entire year saved somewhere. When I was 8 or 9, she showed my uncle's name on the masthead as the Art Director so I've subconsciously always looked, thinking he would be there. To this day, I'm always curious to see who are the creatives behind it. Before even reading the actual magazine.

SPD: What was it that so enthralled you?
ICG:
Ragazza had no appeal to me but introduced me to magazines. My teens were spent looking at Print, Wallpaper, Rolling Stone and Squire until I became obsessed with Italian Vogue as an intern at Vogue Spain. I had the side job of organizing their archive. Italian Vogue always had the most elegant, simple, and clean but bold covers.

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SPD: Do you know now who the creatives were?
ICG:
For a while, I was obsessed with Franca Sozzani + George Louis

SPD: How does that inform your creative now? 
ICG:
Even though I work in media and mostly do digital, I inevitably crave print.

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Amy Wolff, Photo Director at Hearst Enthusiast Group (Bicycling, Runner's World)

 
 

Amy Wolff: I spent my teenage years listening to music and sneaking out of the house to see punk, hardcore and ska bands at the Trocadero in Philly, Spankys in East Stroudsburg, and abandoned warehouses around Pennsylvania. I photographed the bands playing, too, but it was always a choice. Enjoy the show or work the show. 

Art played a huge role within my love for music. I collected album artwork, posters, flyers and zines. Small in size, self-published and generally free or a few dollars at most, zines were raw and unpolished, much like the music I liked at the time. Photocopied on plain white paper, folded in half, bound by staples, zines were distributed by hand at shows or purchased in indie music stores. Zines like riot grrrl covered and celebrated the feminist movement in music and society. Even Bust and Bitch began as zines. For a short time, my friend and I made a zine called “Nailbiter.” Without social media, these tangible objects were all I had to get an insider look and stay connected to the niche community I loved.

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Rolling Stone, however, provided a much broader look at the music community. In the late 90s, this monthly, over-sized, 10”x12”, colorful, glossy, artfully designed magazine gave me news, gossip, in-depth story-telling and lots of photos. I had a love/hate relationship with the cover photography, but they were memorable. In 1998, David LaChapelle’s image of Madonna fully encapsulated her “Ray of Light” phase. I didn’t understand this phase of hers, but there it was. He got it.

RS had memorable ads, too. Think of the last magazine article you read? Do you remember any of the adjacent full-page ads? I remember paging through RS looking for Absolut Vodka ads. Developed by TBWA, that is one of the most iconic campaigns ever. I can still picture my young teenage self, sitting in my bedroom, flipping through the magazine dreaming of traveling the world shooting bands or producing ad campaigns and seeing my work in the pages of RS.

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