From Custom Publishing to Content Marketing

A year's worth of SOLVE magazine covers.

A year's worth of SOLVE magazine covers.

From the start of his design career in print publishing, John spent time on both the editorial and advertising sides of the publishing world, working in the advertising art department of publications such as the Boston Phoenix, and in editorial design at magazines like Running Times and Boston Business. This dual experience came in handy when he later went to work in a field called custom publishing. As Senior Art Director of Continental Airline's inflight magazine at Cadmus Custom Publishing (later Pohly & Partners), John found himself designing an editorial product, but working for a corporate client, and often having to take more of a marketing-focused view of the project.

Continental was our first venture into Custom Publishing,  er  Content Marketing

Continental was our first venture into Custom Publishing, er Content Marketing

Continental was a magazine intended to be read by the traveling public, but it also served a marketing purpose for its corporate sponsor. Coming from a traditional publishing background this initially seemed like an odd balance, but over time  he learned how to approach this type of hybrid project.

Fast forward many years, and we find that the studio regularly manages both editorial and marketing projects, and that while we approach each with a different mindset; from a design point-of-view there are many similarities. We live in a time where there is a much fuzzier line between editorial and marketing content and design than there once was.

What was termed "custom publishing" back in the 90s, is more often referred to as "content marketing" today, as marketers continue to find new ways to reach their ever more fragmented and distracted customer base. 

For the past year, the studio has been working in conjunction with New York-based RSL Media—a content-marketing agency with a particular focus on small to mid-market B2B companies—to design several publications and ebooks—most notable Solve magazine, a quarterly business and technology focused magazine geared toward CEOs and executive customers of Spectrum Enterprise, (formerly Time-Warner Cable).

Over the course of five issues, we have redesigned the magazine, upgrading the artwork and typography, and unifying the design approach. The content is often very conceptual in nature, centered around current business and technological ideas that call for creative conceptual illustration. Many features are multi-part packages, requiring skill in organizing information and visual presentation. And as a content-marketing platform, we must keep in mind the perspectives of both the reader, and the client-sponsor in many of our design decisions.

Take a look at a few of our recent cover and feature designs, or hop on over to the magazine design section of this website for more.

Cover feature package for the current issue of  Solve .

Cover feature package for the current issue of Solve.