On Tuesday morning I had my first snoop into the inner workings of a magazine. I have harboured a healthy interiors mag addiction for over 12 years, so to get the guided tour behind the scenes of Urbis felt a little like stepping from the playground into the forbidden and mysterious world of the staff room.
The AGM offices house some of NZ’s most respected publications focusing on design, architecture and the construction industry. As editor of Urbis, Kirsten Matthew shares her desk with fellow editors of Architecture NZ, Interior, Landscape Architecture, Progressive Building and Houses making for a melting pot of knowledge.
Despite my prescence, the office was still very much hard at work pulling together the next issue. There were constant phone calls, mini team meetings around computer screens and endless tapping of keyboards and mice. From the side line I was standing on, I could appreciate their collaborative process and thought I would seize the opportunity to find out exactly “how” an issue comes about. We all love spotting that fresh glossy cover when it has just arrived on the shop shelf but had you ever wondered the recipe required to make it form? I totally have. So here is what I found out….
The official planning for an issue usually starts about 2 weeks shy of the previous one being “closed.” Kirsten will begin researching ideas and following up potential stories that she feels fits the pre planned theme. With the early assignment of articles to their go-to photographers and writers, it is the teams aim to compile at least half of the content needed a month before the print deadline. With a total time span of 8 weeks from idea to print, consideration for up-to-date content needs to be taken into account, meaning the front “news sections” of the magazine are completed last and just a week out.
Artwork by : Jonathan Brown
With the pressure coming on, completed stories, photographs and features are filtered through to the design team of Art Director; Matthew Moss, Designer and Market Editor; Sara Black and Fili Tulisi of Production to build each glossy page. The pages are then printed in-house and placed in “The Book”. Yes this is NOT just on the movies!
A massive amount of creative juice is also spent on planning and designing the front cover. Matthew and Kirsten spend hours tweaking colours and swapping out shots, pulling all the others in to offer their opinions until they are satisfied.
And so then begins the process of writer sign off, proofing and general fine tooth combing of every single element. This is can take up to a week before the team then send to the printers and a wait a colour proof. Once again the editorial team along with Sales Manager, Joel Bremner, Associate Publisher; Nathan Inkpen and the entire Art Department will spend time pouring over this from cover to cover. (I can only imagine how cross eyed they are at the end of it considering I constantly publish posts with mistakes that I SWEAR are perfect!)
Finally….it is then time to throw caution to the wind and give the go a head to the printers. Matthew will make a quick trip out there to sign off on the colours and then it’s on! It takes 3 weeks from the printer for those pages to land on the shop shelves.
Central to the daily operation is also Zara Tempest who is the online editor of the Urbis website and along with Associate Publisher, Nathan Inkpen is crucial to the organisation of the annual Urbis Designday. With this now just 10 days away, Zara and the entire team have combined their magazine focus with the demands of running one of NZ’s most creative and collaborative design events.
WHAT I LEARNT FROM THE URBIS TEAM:
The word “team” is key. While everyone has their official roles, the most creative organisations find success by sharing opinions and ideas.
UPATE: And the lucky Friday winner via Randomiser is Annabel!!
So – lucky you guys! My timing for this interview turned out to be spot on as on leaving Kirsten and Zara kindly offered a FREE double pass to Urbis Designday to give to one of YOU!
This is just a one day event, on Saturday the 23rd of March, so only enter if you think you are able to be in Auckland at that time.
Simply answer this question in the comments below and we will draw the winner on Friday the 15th of March.
” Of all the exciting collaborations taking place at this years Urbis Designday – which are you most excited to see?”