premiere issues on SPD.org
The Society of Publication Designers has posted up our interview about our Premiere Issues Project. It’s a great write-up and we’re grateful to Robert Newman for taking the time to contact me. Here’s the full interview for those who want to read a bit more about the project:-
1) When did you start the site?
The first version of the site went up in 2002. I was living in New York back then, and working as a web designer. With some help, I designed and built a very basic site, and posted around 60 or so covers I had. Then people started contacting me, and submitting their first issues. As a young designer with little experience with the internet, this was a thrill.
2) What was your motivation in starting the site?
I guess I was eager to explore this medium of the web; I was a graphic designer and my first job out of university was in this field. I was working on fairly large and complex websites for financial institutions and record labels, but I was interested in the niche sites that were also sprouting up — the ones that were dedicated to a single passion or focus.
I had already amassed a collection of first issues, and I thought it would be fun to share these with others. I love documenting and clearly I love communication and design. The site is my tribute to all the hard work and energy that goes into the creation of a magazine. The positive feedback and response I’ve received from the site fuels the project and keeps it going.
3) How do you update the site? Do you do all the research yourself?
The site was re-designed in 2008, and developed by Whitespace, the studio I started in 2004. We kept the archive format but added new features such as sort and search functions, and created a CMS platform so that all the submissions and updates are easy to manage. We’ve now got over 217 covers, and continue to get a couple new magazines each month. A lot of our friends and fans know we collect first issues, so every so often we’ll get a package of them, or an email telling us about a launch.
The best part is still the hunt. It’s become a habit now. I can’t walk into a bookshop or an airport newsstand without scanning the racks for an ‘01’ or ‘premiere issue’ or ‘launch issue’. Sometimes I’ll contact the editor or ask friends to look out for a certain magazine. Earlier this year I arrived in London, and finally found Katie Grand’s LOVE magazine after hitting 3 cornershops in Notting Hill.
4) What is your own design background? Are you a magazine designer?
I have always loved magazines, and have worked as a designer and contributor on a few titles, but ultimately I have chosen to pursue design in other ways. I graduated from Parsons School of Design with joint degrees in communication design and writing, and naturally thought I would work in publishing or print. But the internet lulled all of us into the industry, and after 8 years in New York, I moved back to Hong Kong and set up Whitespace. We are now a team of 10 and we design brand identities and websites for clients, both here and abroad. We’re growing steadily but we take time to do our own projects — such as Premiere Issues — because this is where we have the most fun. We exhibited The Premiere Issues Project last year, and hope we can do a few more events or fun things surrounding this idea in the future.
Check out 10 of our personal favourites and highlights from the collection at SPD.org.