VINTAGE Magazine's Lavish "Quatrieme" Issue Launches

VINTAGE Magazine's Lavish

VINTAGE is a lavishly produced magazine that "brings to the fore, with the eloquent voices of today's writers and artists, the impact of history on our present culture. The term vintage is used in its broadest sense-- focusing on the excellence of, the finest of things, both in content and presentation." Like the legendary FLAIR, from which it draws inspiration, Vintage pushes the possibilities of print, paper, color, photography, and texture, while offering an array of articles--on art, music, fashion, food, travel, culture--written by noted artists and authors of today. SPD's Francesca Messina talked with founder Ivy Baer Sherman about the unique processes that shaped the latest issue, Vintage Quatrieme.

FM: Can you explain the origins of Vintage for our membership of editorial art directors and photography editors? Especially how it relates to the history of Flair...

IBS: I had gone to see "Fleur on Flair," a retrospective of Fleur Cowle's legendary magazine, several years ago. I walked into a room displaying all 12 issues and was blown away. I know you shouldn't judge a magazine by it's cover, but  I was entranced by the stunning die cuts that offered glimpses into the "life" inside the magazine. I left that show really attuned to the physical "draw" of a magazine; how powerful the lure of beautiful design can be, of ink on paper, the tactile experience. I wanted to do something for today's audience that was like Flair. 

FM: Why do you think that Vintage has gotten such a huge response in this era of tablet apps and digital magazine expansion for many consumer brands?

IBS: I just know that I responded to this type of magazine when I saw it. I think a lot of the appeal of a tablet and apps is tactile, you want that smooth sensation, to click and feel. That said, I'm just offering another dimension. Tablets offer an experience that print can't and vice-versa. It's a great time to explore both. With all eyes focused on what print is not doing, now is the time to blow everyone away.

FM: How do you plan which stories are going to be in each issue? How did you decide that the fourth issue would be a walk through a house?

IBS: Each issue is completely different. There's an element of surprise and constant creativity for me. Sometimes a specific artist or author's work will come to me, or there will be an author I want to work with, and once things like that happen, things start to "grow". For this issue, I did know that I wanted to do an architecture and design issue, I knew of Daphne Taylor and her beautiful quilts, I'd seen the Novogratz's house over on West Street. 

I had the opportunity as well to work with Chip Kidd. When I told him I wanted to do an architecture and design issue, he replied that he was interested in doing a magazine cover (he'd never designed a magazine cover before), and that he had this idea in mind for something multilayered. He wanted to do something that suggested the concept of vintage linoleum. My only stipulation was that the binding be exposed...this is a signature aspect of Vintage -- all of our issues have open bindings, because I want to be transparent, to show how a magazine comes together; and that had to be incorporated into the design. I wanted this issue to be something of a house tour--Chip's "homage to linoleum" cover idea determined for me that we'd walk readers through our "Vintage house" from the floor up. 

I consider Vintage magazine as a community where artists and writers can come and hang  and do things they haven't done before. I've been getting a lot of feedback from students. I approached an art teacher I know and asked her if she know of students who wanted to make "doors" for this issue - using any material they wanted to use. And so it was that Heidi Loening created these beautiful embroidered doors that house the Table of Contents and Masthead. In "the library," Gary Giddins did a piece on W. R. Burnett,  a fine writer no longer in print in the United States. Burnett's books had such glorious covers, so  I decided to treat Gary's piece as a handheld book, using reproductions of the original covers. 

FM: You have a very unique collaboration with your printer. We don't know of any other publication that is created in this way. Can you describe this process?

IBS: As publications director at Friends Seminary I used to work with Jay Stewart and the team at Capital Offset in New Hampshire. I knew that I always wanted to work with them if I ever did anything on my own. It's a family run place that is now part of Puritan Capital. Being able to give these companies business and to work with them is wonderful. For this issue, there was collaboration from the start. When Chip Kidd showed me his design for the cover, I immediately went to the printer and asked: How do you do this? How do you make this in such a way that it has the effect of the clicking of tiles in a linoleum store, that click and clack on a ring when you choose your tile - yet serve as a strong cover integral to the overall construction of the magazine? I approach everything knowing it WILL get done. It's just a matter of how. The team at Capital make it work. 

The concept of Vintage is to bring aspects of history to the modern age, but it's also about excellence and beauty and the craft of things. The beauty of the printing arts needs to be celebrated, the printers and binders who put books and magazines together together are true craftsmen. I watched a gentleman operate a machine that added gold dust to Bibles, he was so focused on that, it was inspiring to watch.

The Novogratz house die cut was an extraordinary example of this dedication and artistry. The house itself has a Dr. Suess-ian feel to it - it has angles and height and color and a whole personality. I spoke to a paper engineer, Shawn Sheehy, in Chicago. He had done a 3-D Swiss Army knife in the previous issue. I sketched something out and said--"go". He came back with two possibilities that didn't quite capture "it." Then the third was right. We gave it to the printer, and it required very intricate die cuts which were done at Custom Die-Cut. The die-cut shop is in Hollis, New Hampshire. Wonderful. This woman, Adele, sat there for days and days doing this. There were punching out and coordinating the 26,000 separate pieces that needed to be put together. There is a sense of pride and dignity in doing this job. The pop-up, from start to finish took months. It's totally fine, that's what this magazine is about, putting the art and the craft out there for everyone to see.

FM: Do you have a long list of future ideas for Vintage?

IBS: There are infinite possibilities out there. You can do a piece on anything and make it thrilling and inspiring. Once I come off an issue, I have ideas, so many artists and writers are reaching out to me. 

It's like chipping marble, the form takes shape as you work on it. Right now music and dance interest me. There are aural qualities and rhythmic possibilities I'd like to blend with the visual. It's in formation.

FM: What other magazines inspire you? Or any other visual medium?

IBS: Sitting here right now, in front of me are multiple treetops, wood, brick, ocean, dunes; there are beautiful textures in nature from earth to sky. As crazy as it sounds, this will show up somewhere, somehow. Beautiful magazines have always inspired me. My thesis in college was on avant garde writers, and the magazines they were published in were beautiful and thrilled me. I'm also inspired by the history of magazines, the idea of George Plimpton sitting at his desk doing The Paris Review, Fleur Cowles doing FLAIR, Gloria Steinem founding Ms, the Johnsons doing Ebony. I'm reading a book on Nijinsky right now and there is a description of a magazine called "The World of Art" that was done at the turn of the 20th century. It's described as being "a luxurious print, done with halftones on art paper". Oh I'd love to see that right now!

This history, the stories are exciting to me, the struggle and coming out on the other end. 

I don't believe in listening to naysayers. I believe in putting blinders on and doing what you want to. Finances are a whole other story...but I do believe that if there's a will there's a way.

FM: So, where can we get a copy of Vintage?

IBS: Vintage is sold at museum shops and fine bookstores throughout the United States and abroad, and on the website at:

  • Really good post. The design is wonderful and professional. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • nice your post.

    Expert clipping completed another successful project for us. It always does a great job.

    High quality work and always active. We will continue to work with its team on future projects

    that has proven repeatedly and it's team skilled product designer & graphics art specialist.

    It takes it upon itself to do what is necessary to get great graphics and functionality for product images.

    I will be using Expert Clipping again and again.

blog comments powered by Disqus