Panta: The Making of a Magazine

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PANTA is an independent magazine by Book a Street Artist that celebrates creative culture around the world. It features the work of emerging artists and writers and focuses on artistic and cultural initiatives that have the power to take on social, cultural and environmental issues. Art is for everyone, but often limited to an elite in the spaces of galleries, museums, theatres and concert halls. PANTA’s mission is to break this ideology and create a platform to support projects by creative talents who use their craft—be it street art, photography, design, illustration, writing, music, performance, architecture and other creative vocations—to try to make a positive impact on society.

 In the same rogue spirit of street art and getting projects out of galleries and into the world where they belong, PANTA is self-published through MagCloud. To find out more about the publishing power they found in MagCloud, we spoke to the creative and strategic minds behind Panta, an independent magazine that celebrates the power of creativity to address social, cultural and environmental issues around the world.

The magazine is beautiful. Who is to blame for starting all this?

Thank you! We work hard on it, so that’s always nice to hear. The culprits are Charlotte Specht, Guille Lasarte and Mario Rueda. Charlotte and Mario created a startup called Book a Street Artist and Guille sometimes took photos of the artists for them. Then one day, the three of us decided to make a little something ‘extra’ for the startup, just for fun and to fulfill our creative needs. And we divided the tasks rather well. Charlotte is in charge of production, Mario is in charge of marketing, and Guille does the design. But we all end up doing a little bit of everything.

The subtitle is “Book a Street Artist Magazine.” What does that mean and how did it drive the launch? 

Well, this is actually a subtitle we’re trying to get away from. The magazine is published by Book a Street Artist, but we don’t necessarily only feature pieces on artists in the agency’s portfolio. We do not—and never have—feature only street art. Since the beginning, the idea was to tell stories of artists of all kinds who have a strong message.

Your blend of ingredients of street art, photography, art, design, music, etc. is such a diverse mix of subjects.  What binds all these topics together?  

What binds them all together is their message and their objective, although sometimes we feature an artist’s work simply because we fall in love with it. We’re now trying to tag the magazine as an “artivism” magazine that showcases the work of artists who are trying to combine their craft with a good cause—be it social, cultural, political, environmental, and so forth. Art is a very strong tool to promote positive change, and we want to bring that to people’s attention, to show that there is much more to art than what we can find in the institutionalized art world. We are more interested in the bigger picture of what art has the power to achieve for communities and society at large. And there are so many artists doing great work out there, we wanted to have a channel to present it.

Art is a very strong tool to promote positive change, and we want to bring that to people’s attention, to show that there is much more to art than what we can find in the institutionalized art world.

Were there fears in starting your own magazine? Were you ever told “don’t bother?” 

No, mainly because we didn’t ask anyone, we just did it. We were ignorant of many things back then but since all three of us are very passionate about this project, we just said we’ll do what we want and learn as we go.

Was there a sales goal from the beginning or was it simply a desire to create your own publication that inspired you to begin publishing? 

Definitely the latter. The independent publishing scene is growing exponentially, and rarely are the publishers/editors solely interested in financial gain when they start an indie magazine. For us at least, it’s more about making something beautiful and celebrating art with a cause rather than making a lot of money. We curate the magazine carefully, and we always make sure the advertisers are in line with the magazine’s ideology.

So many creatives are fearful of starting their own “thing.” What advice would you have for them? 

Don’t ask too many people because everyone has an opinion. We don’t mean don’t listen and try to learn everything you can about something you’re interested in developing, but don’t bother with people who will go down the pessimistic route. Just go for it and, if possible, try to find partners to team up with who are as passionate about the project as you are. You will need them, and they will need you for support for the project to grow. No man is an island!

I would imagine doing your own magazine comes with all kinds of freedom as opposed to say working on assignment for someone else, but what are the limitations of self-publishing? 

Well the freedom is what we are after—no censorship, no adjusting things according to someone’s interests. That’s the beauty of independent publishing. That being said, the limits are, obviously, financial. We run a small ship and we want to grow, but it’s a big challenge.

Well the freedom is what we are after—no censorship, no adjusting things according to someone’s interests. That’s the beauty of independent publishing.

Why Magcloud? What would you love to see in the future with this platform? 

We didn’t want PANTA to be an “e-magazine” and exist solely online, but we didn’t have money to invest in a print run either. So Magcloud seemed like a great service to use for on-demand printing. It’s because of Magcloud that we were ever even able to see the magazine in its intended form—the print form—and for our readers to have it available for purchase online.

How do you find your contributors? 

Endless hours of research! And over the years, we’ve created a strong network of regular contributors who form the PANTA family.

What is the dream story you haven’t yet been able to run? Or the dream interview that eludes you? 

There are many artists who are doing amazing work for important causes who are way too busy or simply non-reachable for an interview. We don’t want to mention specific names because we haven’t given up on reaching them yet!

 What is the one thing you need that you don’t have? 

A suitcase full of cash for a larger print run and other PANTA-related investments we’d like to do!

Order your copy of the latest issue of Panta Magazine through the online MagCloud shop, available in both print and digital formats. Feeling inspired? Create, print, share, and sell your own publication with MagCloud. Get started!

Publisher Spotlight: LIFE.com

With 9 million photographs and 3,000 more added daily, LIFE.com features the largest collection of professional and archival photography available online. The website provides visitors with a visual cascade of news, celebrity, travel and classic photography just as its print predecessor, LIFE magazine, did for 70 years before going Web only in 2009.

“We like to think of our Web site as the destination to explore your world in pictures,” LIFE.com’s Jeff Burak says. “Photography lovers, LIFE fans and anyone who wants to see their world are drawn to LIFE.com.”

As the site’s business development director, Burak is constantly on the look out for new and different ways to create revenue streams using the famous LIFE photos. He learned about HP’s MagCloud print-on-demand magazine service during a business meeting over a year ago with HP staff members. The idea of creating special print issues certainly wasn’t new to LIFE.com staffers, but the ability to do it quickly, easily and with no upfront costs was.

“Not having to forecast and buy paper, not having to schedule press time, not having to facilitate fulfillment — those are three big benefits that caught our attention right away,” Burak says. “Now we can simply upload our artwork and MagCloud will print and mail the issues to readers as they order them.

“We love the idea of a print magazine — it’s how we started and it remains a great medium by which to bring attention to unique content or to emphasize a topic,” Burak adds. “It’s also a great way to provide our readers with a more intimate experience because they can have something to tangibly view and reflect upon.”

For their first issue, Burak and LIFE.com editors reproduced one of LIFE’s most popular issues, the definitive special edition documenting the legendary Woodstock concert. Originally released 40 years ago, the issue contains more than 100 photos of the performances and festival revelers. The magazine is now available again for $9.60 on both MagCloud’s and LIFE.com’s Web sites.

“Our editors love the simplicity and capabilities of using a MagCloud template and filling in with captions,” Burak says. “It’s like having a production department in a box. It allows us to create special issues and get them to our readers and fans in just days.”

That’s exactly what happened when LIFE.com was granted exclusive access to Avatar director James Cameron and actors Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldana and Sigourney Weaver during a European premiere building up to the film’s Hollywood premiere. It, too, is available for purchase on MagCloud’s and LIFE.com’s sites, $4.95.

“Our photographer was invited to follow the cast on a Tuesday and Wednesday, gathering special intimate moments that fans rarely see,” Burak says. “Our editor went through all the images on Thursday, we laid out the magazine on Friday and uploaded it to MagCloud on Saturday. It was in everyone’s hands at the premiere three days later.”

Burak is so pleased with MagCloud that he’s launched 75 more special issues. Subjects in the works include Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Pablo Picasso and Jackie Kennedy — with each issue featuring rare and never-before-seen photographs.

“We’re picking topics from our photo galleries that attract the most traffic on our website,” Burak says. “People have passion points that guide their navigation on the Web and in print. We know from our traffic that people continue to have a passion for Marilyn Monroe. By publishing special issues like the one on Monroe, we’re giving people the opportunity to express those passions. They want to collect anything with Marilyn Monroe on it.”

As special issues become available, the staff promotes them by positioning links and promotions adjacent to the LIFE.com photo galleries from which the issues are created. The issues are also promoted via LIFE.com’s Facebook Fan page and other social media outlets. LIFE.com’s various promotional efforts all lead visitors directly to MagCloud’s website where they can order their favorite issue and have it mailed directly to them. MagCloud handles all the order processing, printing and shipping, freeing LIFE.com to focus on editorial and content rather than production and distribution.

“We’re thrilled to be able to provide consumers with special print issues on their favorite topics,” Burak says. “MagCloud allows us to deliver unique and relevant content for those with niche interests.”

And that, Burak believes, will eventually attract advertisers who will want to be included in the special issues. “Thanks to MagCloud, we have an additional platform, offering our advertisers and our readers print and Web content. What we have is unique, and that makes us a destination for people with an interest that we’re covering.”

Check out the latest issues!

Profile Pictures

Give your MagCloud profile some personality by uploading a profile picture. Simply click on “Account” at the top of the page (you must be logged in) and edit your profile to upload or change your profile picture.

You can also upload your picture directly from your profile page. Just hover over the placeholder image and you will be able to upload, change, or remove your profile picture.

Adding a profile picture helps your fellow members see that there’s a real person behind the magazines. Your profile picture will appear in MagCloud messages, on any issues and magazines you create, and of course on your profile page, too.

Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Publishers In Their Own Words: Óperencia

Óperencia Magazine
by Gizella Nyquist, Editor-in-Chief and owner of Óperencia magazine

The Hungarian language Óperencia is a magazine designed to expose children ages 3-14 to the vibrant culture and language of Hungary. It makes learning fun and engaging, and includes content by top authors and poets from Hungary who share a passion for enriching the lives of children through culture and language. Many of the publication’s artworks are created by two Hungarian illustrators and mothers, who live in the USA.

Each edition has a few central themes or topics, and explores them through games, music, poetry and interesting stories. Designed and published by a native Hungarian teacher and mother of a bilingual child, Óperencia was born from the idea that children of Hungarian families needed a fun and enriching resource to learn about the traditions of their family’s distant homeland.

The quarterly magazine is entering its 4th year of publication. Six printed issues are available currently. Some of the main topics include: the Hungarian alphabet, the Hungarian runic writing, Hungarian winter and spring traditions and celebrations, and the latest issue explores wild animals and the long journey of how wheat becomes bread.

Check out the latest issue!

Talk Amongst Yourselves with MagCloud Messages

We’ve often heard that you want more ways to interact with your fellow MagClouders. Today we’re thrilled to announce a new feature to help you do just that: MagCloud Messages.

Now all MagCloud members to send each other messages. So if you have a question about a magazine, or just want to give a publisher props, click the “Contact” link under the publisher’s name on any issue, magazine or profile page and send them a message. (Note that this feature is for members, so it only appears when you’re signed in.)

If you like a magazine, you can also Follow it. Just click the “Follow” link on any issue or magazine page. Following a magazine is a way to give a publisher a little bit of encouragement. If you follow a magazine, the publisher will be able to send you messages about submissions, new issues, and other magazine news.

Publishers of public magazines will see a “Message Your Followers” link in the Messages Inbox. This lets you send a MagCloud Message to all of your magazine’s followers at once.

When you receive a message you’ll notice a number next to the Messages icon at the top of every page, to let you know how many new messages are in your inbox. We’ll also send you an email every day with a digest of new messages. You can set those emails to come immediately, daily, weekly, or not at all in your account settings.

At MagCloud, we always want you to be in control. In addition to the email settings, you can also set who can send you MagCloud Messages (admins, followed magazines, or any member). If an individual member becomes a little over-communicative, you can block them from sending any more messages. All these settings and more can be found in your account.

We’re really excited about this new feature and hope it’s a fun way for you to stay in touch with your magazine’s community, and each other.

So give the new MagCloud Messages feature a try! And, as always, please let us knowwhat you think!

Publisher Spotlight: Plant Society Magazine

From 20/30-something hipsters with first-time plots in big city community gardens to lifelong rare plant collectors and members of the most esoteric of gardening societies, anyone with a desire to dig around in dirt will find Matt Mattus’ newest venture, Plant Society Magazine, not just educational, but inspirational.

Mattus, an author, designer, brand creative, adventurer, naturalist and plant expert, is well known among green thumb types. His popular gardening blog,growingwithplants.com, attracts plant enthusiasts from around the world who are fans of his near-daily diary entries and enjoy the stunning photographs from his many gardens.

When Mattus learned about MagCloud’s print on demand service last year, he began thinking a print magazine would be a perfect extension of his blog — a way to provide yet more in-depth knowledge and greater detail about connoisseur and collectable plants, with a bit of food, travel, design and home and garden décor mixed in for good measure.

“These days, mainstream gardening magazines are too commercial and ordinary,” Mattus says. “Plant collectors and rare plant enthusiasts want something unique and original. They’re curious about discovering new things.”

And Mattus is just the one to uncover anything exciting and unusual. As a creative director at Hasbro, it’s Mattus’ job to discover new trends in the making — and to keep the company a few steps ahead. He has even written a book on the subject: Beyond Trend – How to Innovate in an Over Designed World.

It’s a mission that has become his personal passion, especially when it comes to gardening. A self-described “hortigeek,” Mattus lives on his family’s 100-year-old farm in Worcester, Mass., where for the past 40 years he has collected and grown rare plants and actively participated in obscure plant societies — Androsace Society, anyone? He planted his first seeds on the farm at the age of 5 and remembers when the zinnias were taller than he was.

His own experiences are a sharp contrast to the modern science efficiencies so common in the gardening world today.

“With the rise of mass-produced micro-propagated plants that are all the same at every home center around the world, I can see dumbing-down happening everywhere,” Mattus says. “They’re selling ‘supertunias’ and sheep-sized Chrysanthemums. Gardening has morphed into a pastime that feels more like disposable decorating. But I know there’s still a huge population of gardeners out there who still honor the art and science of it all.”

It’s this population that Mattus reaches with his blog and now with Plant Society Magazine. He writes all the content, focusing only on plants that he, himself, has grown. And he pulls images from his vast collection of more than 10,000 photographs he has taken of plants from his greenhouses and gardens. He organizes his photographs by species and time of year.

“I have so much content, it’s a little overwhelming,” Mattus says. “I’m obsessive when it comes to plants. I photograph every step of the growing process, from planting the seeds to tending to them — even how I display them in pots and vases. With MagCloud, I don’t have to design something six months in advance. I can shoot my cover the same day that I upload my files to the MagCloud website.”

Mattus published his first issue, High Summer, in 2009, featuring 75 pages of in-depth information about, and photographs of, exhibition chrysanthemums, dahlias, pelargonium, nerines and crocosmia.

His Autumn issue focuses on cultivating miniature species Narcissus for cold greenhouses and alpine beds, odd and rare winter blooming bulbs, Cyclamen species in pots and winter shrubs for color.

Mattus promotes the magazine, which also will include Spring, featuring the genus Primula, seed growing, Corydalis and rare Japanese orchids, and mid-Winter editions, on his blog and through his Twitter account.

“I love being my own editor and art director,” he says. “I also appreciate being in charge of my own advertising. You’ll never see me writing about organic gardening and then running an ad for fertilizer on the next page.”

Mattus still recalls the day his first issue arrived in his mailbox. “It came in a plastic bag, and it looked like a real magazine,” he says. “I work with printers all the time. The quality I get from MagCloud is as good as anything out there. I would recommend MagCloud to even the pickiest of designers.” Mattus also appreciates the ease with which MagCloud handles all the order processing and distribution. “Anyone in the US, Canada or UK can order issues direct from the MagCloud website, and can even pay directly with a credit card or Paypal,” he notes. “MagCloud prints to order, and in five days or fewer, the magazine is printed, bound and mailed directly to the reader.”

Without MagCloud’s self-publishing service, Mattus says a magazine like his, with its relatively smaller run and niche market and lack of a traditional distribution channel, wouldn’t be possible.

“I understand the need for big publishers to remain profitable,” Mattus says. “But the publishing business is changing so fast. Self-publishing is now much more accepted in our new digital world of blogs, Twitter and Facebook. For me and for the readers I want to reach, MagCloud is the perfect solution.

“Frankly, I had no idea how the magazine would be received,” he adds. “I expected both positive and critical comments, just as I get on my blog. And that’s terrific. My favorite comments are from readers who tell me that Plant Society Magazine is better than the fancy British gardening magazines. One reader said, ‘Finally, a well-designed and informative magazine that not only shows me step-by-step tasks, but that actually teaches me how to grow something out of the ordinary.’

“That’s exactly what I’m striving for.”

Check out the latest issue!

Create a Magazine with Adobe Photoshop

If Photoshop is your design tool of choice you can create a magazine in Photoshop by following a few simple steps.

1. Create each page as a separate JPEG (quality 10 setting) file in the sRGB color space.  To create your JPEG files, start by creating a 8.5″ x 11″, 300 DPI Photoshop document. Since there are no bleed settings in Photoshop, it is best to create Guides to show where the trim will be (0.125″ from the top and bottom, 0.25″ from the outside edge). Keep in mind that the side with the outside edge bleed will switch as you design a righthand versus a lefthand page. Once you have finished your first page, save it as a JPEG file in the sRGB colorspace with a quality setting of 10. Do not use “Save As Photoshop PDF” as the resulting file size will be too large to upload to MagCloud in a multipage document. Repeat these steps until all your pages have been created. Note: naming your files by page number will simplify the process going forward, with the cover as “Page 1.”

2. Combine these JPEG files using Adobe Acrobat® or another PDF merging software into a multipage PDF.  To merge your pages in Adobe Acrobat, go to File > Create PDF > Merge Files Into Single PDF… In the Combine Files window that opens, click the “Add Files” button, navigate to the folder where you saved your MagCloud JPEGs, and select them all.  Tip:  Name your files consecutively this way when you select order by file name it will put them in the correct page order. 

3.  Once you are ready to create the PDF, chose “Larger File Size” for better quality (this is the largest paper icon next to File Size) and click the “Combine Files” button. Acrobat will automatically assemble your PDF for you.

4. Upload your PDF file to MagCloud and publish away.

Happy Publishing!