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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Death of a dream?

People who've known me from my high school days know that I've had real experience doing the dirty work of writing, designing layout and preparing to print a magazine. Indeed, all this experience really influenced me in choosing my courses in college. I tried to continue my enthusiasm for the magazine into college, but got tripped up by my inability to follow beats in preparation for writing a decent news article.

College aside, my time with Counterpoint was definitely one of my most productive spells I've ever had in my lifetime. As layout editor, I was in love with the entire process of making a magazine from a bunch of articles and photos, trying to synthesize all of them into one cohesive, attractive-looking whole. Working with Adobe PageMaker and InDesign since the sixth grade taught me the importance of a proper "preflight" check of a project before sending it off to the print shop, and the creative power one can wield with only two inks -- usually black and PANTONE 121 CVU for me (a bright yellow to everyone else).

Fast forward to today, and I am saddened by the realization that the Internet has saturated our lives so much that entire magazines and newspapers such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and San Francisco Chronicle are closing up shop, opting to become entirely "Internet-only" publications.

I never really got the hang of HTML. Sure, I hard-coded an entire website once in the past with nothing but Notepad, but I found the whole process exceedingly clunky and nowhere near as intuitive as using PageMaker/InDesign. I am aware that the Internet opens so many other ways of turning a web page into eye candy, but most of the animated banners I see on websites do them no favors as coherent wholes. Novelty for the sake of novelty, I'd say. From a design standpoint, I've always believed in keeping things simple -- my tools involving nothing more than typefaces and drawn objects.

Back in high school I thought I could make a living as a layout editor for a magazine. That probably isn't the case in the US any longer, with magazines slowly slipping into obsolescence, taking one of my greatest ambitions along with them.

1 comment:

Joy said...

Hi JM! It is indeed sad that things are changing so rapidly in the print business. However, this simply means that the shift is challenging us to evolve as well. You can still do layout, but will need to retrain to adapt your skills to the new format. Good luck.

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