300 Grams of Design and Business

Photo credit: Peter Simonik, ALLT Studio

Running a design studio and organising an international design conference has its perks. Every year, we have the privilege to chat with people whose work we admire, listen to their stories and philosophies and watch them get inspired by each other. We have been organising By Design Conference for a couple of years now — and one of the things we enjoy the most is spending time with the great designers and creatives who have accepted our invitation and came to Bratislava.

Knowing how lucky we are, we wanted to share this experience with you. Considering my love and admiration for independent magazines, creating Backstage Talks magazine was a good excuse to join the party.

So — what’s in it for you?

In Backstage Talks you get 92 pages filled with 10 valuable interviews with creative authorities. Solid 300 gram portion of food for thought to provoke and push your business further.

We like the challenge of talking to people who have been interviewed many times before, and finding a way to bring real and lasting value to you, our readers. That’s why we don’t focus on person’s portfolio or fleeting fads. Instead, we discuss interviewee’s ideas, concepts, mental frameworks and workflows — while always coming back to the connection of creativity and business.

Our goal is that every issue of Backstage Talks remains relevant for years to come and that you find it helpful for your own career and growth.

In the first issue, you can find our talks with:

Michael Wolff, the branding icon as well as one of the nicest and most humble people in the industry answered our questions on responsibilities of a designer and expressed his hope that we can finally stop doing damaging things and be more thoughtful.

Jessica Walsh, who thinks designers are in the best position to be entrepreneurs and told us she takes running her famous New York-based studio as one of her creative projects.

Christoph Niemann, who fights the idea of effortlessness of creative work by comparing it to professional sport and explains the struggles of drawing someone who is laughing, but not smirking or giggling.

Edvard Scott on how to work globally but stay true to where you came from and how long, cold, Swedish nights are better for work ethic than California’s beaches.

Lotta Nieminen on her journey from being hired to hiring and why working for others is the best schooling.

Erik Spiekermann, who surprised us by his likable candidness, stressed the importance of knowing what you don’t know and said that after fulfilling the needs in quantity, we need to find our way back to quality.

Brosmind, who were interviewed by Slovak illustrator duo Ové Pictures and bonded over their shared joys and struggles. They point out the importance of presenting the work you like to do, how awards can help but are far from being the most important thing and praise the advantages of a shared ego.

Josh Payton, who explained how to survive in the world where change is the only constant and how at Huge, they work closely on the same project even from multiple continents.

Ginette Caron, who told us about how she moved from Canada with just a backpack and a book about European designers and how this adventure eventually leads to prestigious design positions at Benetton and Prada.

Last, but not least, we asked the founder of Protein — William Rowe to tell us more about his audience business and the early adopters, who can help us foresee trends.

As a passionate magazine collector, I can now say that creating a magazine is much harder than reading, admiring or criticising it. Your role in regards to Backstage Talks might be less demanding, but it is the very role that gives it a purpose.

So — go get Backstage Talks. Read it, smell it, learn from it. Draw on it and from it. Sleep on it, spill your drink on it and — importantly — let me know what you like, what you find valuable and how we can make these 300 grams of food for thought tastier. Backstage Talks will come out every year — help us make every issue better that the one before.

Backstage Talks is available worldwide from our website and selected stockists. Follow us on Twitter and here for more news.

Still want more? See a lovely review from Stack magazines’ Steve Watson.

Martin Jenca, editor-in-chief of Backstage Talks

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