The primer issue of AVANTART Magazine launched in December 2022. The magazine was designed and developed by the Multimedia Graphic Design capstone students at Front Range Community College. It included all the various schools within the Liberal and Creative Arts department at the college.
Although AVANTART is a 72 page magazine, I was only responsible for 8 pages of content: interviews, fiction and the theater spread. Our staff was small, four students and two faculty members. We chose the content as a group and worked the subsequent layout together. 
I am no stranger to magazine work. The years working with Umbrella Factory Magazine has taught me a great deal about communicating with writers and artists, and the laying out of content. Ultimately, with Umbrella Factory Magazine, it is a simple matter of working with a small number of contributors and a small staff. What I gained with AVANTART was the perspective of working with many, many contributors in several different disciplines and how to work within a larger team to get to the end product.
As a design staff, we pulled for various non-design type tasks. Although it had nothing to do with design, or layout or even writing, I opted to conduct a number of interviews with faculty members from the college of Liberal & Creative Arts. Having interactions with members of the theater arts and music departments was exhilarating. I’ve always been interested in those things but have limited exposure to them. Any time I can learn something, meet someone and have fun I consider a goal met.
Plains Paradox
It would make sense that I worked on this project because of my background with literary magazines, but that just didn’t play into it. I wouldn’t say it was a fluke, either. This magazine gets assembled in the spring and the design work is assigned to The Agency, which is an internship design agency. During my time at Front Range Community College, I took every opportunity available to me, and when I was asked to join The Agency, I didn’t hesitate. 
Now, there are more similarities than there are differences in literary magazines. Having worked every possible job at Umbrella Factory Magazine, I thought I could handle Plains Paradox. After all, I can curate an issue of Umbrella Factory Magazine by myself in less than 12 hours, start to finish. But Plains Paradox was another matter altogether. Everything, and I mean everything that could have gone wrong did, and in the worst possible way.
There was a student led design team, initially three of us, and after the design was established, it was only me working on it. There was also two editorial staffs: one for the written content, and the other for the art. The process was simple: editors curated their content, the content was sent to us and then we put together a document and sent it to the printer. Pretty standard, very straightforward, universally orthodox.
But it fell apart. The art that came our way did not receive the care that it deserved. I think the content was well chosen, and that was important. All the work that came to us came digitally rendered. Much of it was digitally rendered via smartphone photography: lower resolution, uneven edges and corners and subpar color representation. The editorial staff sent revision after revision after revision of individual stories after the layout was completed. They wanted to see our drafts, which was a little unusual to my experience, but they were the “client” after all. If there was a change one of the seven editors wanted to make, they wanted to discuss it as a group. These things take time.
We had less than sixteen weeks to get this from concept to completion. The steps weren’t taken in a timely fashion. The final insult came when the printer we had been using for the first 19 issues, quietly went out of business. Lesson learned, at least for me: look at the final step, get that timeline and work backwards. We had to scramble for a new printer. The printer we got, although competent, was dealing with their own unforeseen circumstances: inadequate staffing and supply chain issues. 
All said, the journal looked great and it was only 8 weeks late.
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