It's estimated that tablet use will triple in New Zealand in the next six months, which bodes well for publishers hoping to find a way to distribute their content electronically without giving it away for free. But while apps and jabscreens are all well and good, you still can't beat the feeling of wood pulp in your hands, especially if it features a quality cover like Idealog's design issue.
Editor Hazel Phillips had been angling for a chalkboard concept for a while and art director Aimee Carruthers jumped at the chance to do something away from her Mac.
"We've been admiring the work of Dana Tanamchi, whose chalky-prowess I could never live up to because she's made a full time gig out of it, but I'm still quite proud of the cover," she says. "I have a soft spot for retro-revival fonts so many of the letters are based on fonts from the Lost Type Co-op. We mocked the cover up to size to make sure all the cover elements would end up in the right spot then we checked and checked and checked again for spelling errors. I wasn't keen on making corrections to the final chalked up design!"
The mockup was blown up to four times the original size and roughly transferred onto the blackboard with pencil, with only rough smears guiding her as to where the letters should go.
"The board we used was quite rough so chalking it up took twice as long as I anticipated. The chalk was tricky to work with as it snaps easily, I went through six pieces before I ran to the art shop to buy a chalk pencil – much more sturdy and it had a finer point. My 15cm pencil became a 4cm nub by the end of the exercise.
"There was lots of drawing letters, then rubbing them out and tweaking them. I botched the orange coverline at the very top of the mag and had to remove the whole line with Coke then redraw it (pro-tip: Coke erases chalk like magic)."
After nearly six hours, it was all done and duly photographed by Tony Brownjohn. After printing, the cover was finished with a slammin' custom textured matt UV finish from Pacific Lamination, who spent a day experimenting with the texture to get it right. The end result? Well, you'll have to pick up a copy – you gotta feel it to believe it.