About Us

...a course-altering, faith-challenging, game-changing endurance test that just might turn out to be after all, the best move CMYK could have made as an independent design publication.

 

CMYK MAGAZINE 4.0: REVOLU-RESOLU-EVOLUTION

We tried Frankensteining our print files for sale in the App Store. We considered letting a responsive website do all the work. A Facebook friend advised the magazine change its name - after 18 years - to RGB. Yes, nothing could replicate the tactile glory of paper. And no, nothing could match the smooth, pixel-invisible sharpness of the way the Retina display revitalizes printed text and photographic imagery. Somebody had to make the call.

CMYK Magazine was born and raised in San Francisco, at the epicenter of a creative renaissance. Great work was being done. Jobs were being filled. Art schools were blooming. Everyone was starting a magazine. In May 1996, emerging art directors, copywriters, illustrators, photographers, and graphic designers were given the opportunity to put their very best work in front of the very best in the business. For nearly two decades, the design mag that could did, until it could no longer keep doing it like it had done it, or it would certainly be finished. Nobody imagined that our supposed six-month evolution would become a four-year resurrection.

By 2014, the print industry had been thinning out quite a bit, and traditional magazines were doing whatever it took to survive. CMYK had one option to explore, but it was a massive risk. What we had done on paper was starting to brown at the edges, and after more than 6,000 artists published, and nearly 20 years to its name, CMYK called halt to the presses and made an extreme move to convert IOS. All in, whatever it took. And however long. CMYK would, in turn, set out to develop a new platform for CMYK magazine. An original, from the ground up, native IOS application. A colossal undertaking that would take far longer than expected, and require far more faith and determination than ever thought possible. There would be costs.

With the new CMYK, you would still need your fingers. As you flip through a magazine with speed and consistency, so would you be able to swipe through CMYK App. Only now, in brilliant 300PPI, the artist's work would explode off the page with enough impact to make you forget about paper for a moment. Readers could also appreciate, share, favorite, and visit the URL of the artists featured on CMYK APP. And they would do it all on an IOS application (to start) that functioned both as an art & design publication, and a colorful, tumbling, ever-expanding gallery collection. Viewers would once again keep CMYK on the desktop for easy reference. And it would be a free download. Completed by December, no problem.

The centerpiece of everything would be an exciting, ever-expanding collection of art, design and creative work from hundreds of emerging artists, designers, illustrators, art directors, and copywriters looking for more recognition and exposure. There wasn't a template that could achieve what CMYK wanted to create. Building it into exactly what we wanted was both a backbreaking and heart-wrenching endurance test and, looking back, one of the smartest moves the publication could have made. On the journey to get here, however, there would be costs and they would take a toll. There were more obstacles with every new milestone. More time with every new crash. More casualties with every new deadline. Eventually, CMYK went silent. But we kept coding. Testing. Debugging. Editing. Developing. Ultimately, fortunately, launching.

The primary motivation for going all-App was that CMYK wanted to continue delivering a quality product. At the end of the day, what began as a full transitioning of CMYK magazine into the digital realm, evolved into a complete and total rebranding and reconstruction of how CMYK magazine would present itself in 2017. That responsive website was finally built, but there was enough potential catastrophe at every turn to fill a spy novel. Ultimately, as we finish one chapter and start on a new one, CMYK created not only a custom website but a native application to be proud of. The foundation has officially been built and now truly comes the hard work.

To CMYK subscribers, partners, artists, and anyone who kept the faith and to those who may have lost it, please know you are the reason and motivation behind CMYK magazine's resurrection. Thank you very much for your patience and understanding and, on behalf of everyone at CMYK magazine, we apologize for taking so long, and hope this is well worth the wait, for all of us.

Thank you for your time, and consideration. 

Respectfully,

-curtis@cmykmag.com  

                    cmyk           
 

 

 

{Trees for Tech: A Design Magazine's Evolution to IOS '96-PRESENT}

  • 25-Apr-1995
  • It started in duotone.

    The first idea for a magazine didn't make it beyond the printer estimates. We had a logo, business card, letterhead, and a fancy direct mail piece ready to fly. In 1995, those were some spectacular pieces of flair. For three guys in their mid-20s, it was all built around an ...

    The first idea for a magazine didn't make it beyond the printer estimates. We had a logo, business card, letterhead, and a fancy direct mail piece ready to fly. In 1995, those were some spectacular pieces of flair. For three guys in their mid-20s, it was all built around an excuse to dream big, be creative, and, of course, socialize and have a good time. There needed to be more. Who pays for the flair? The band eventually broke up when presented with cost breakdowns from printers, prepress houses, paper companies, Federal Express (before they shortened the name), UPS, US Post Office, designers, writers, and editors, and rent. It all became quite an expensive undertaking. Two founding members moved on to better day jobs and the other used his Sega money (from writing game manuals) to chase the rainbow.

  • 01-Nov-1995
  • It's alive!

    Our first logo was a true representation of who we were as a design magazine start-up 20 years ago: young, driven, fearless, doing whatever felt right at the time. Pretty much like anyone else living in San Francisco and chasing down their dreams. CMYK operated from a two-ton, metal, 1950s teacher's ...

    Our first logo was a true representation of who we were as a design magazine start-up 20 years ago: young, driven, fearless, doing whatever felt right at the time. Pretty much like anyone else living in San Francisco and chasing down their dreams. CMYK operated from a two-ton, metal, 1950s teacher's desk - propped-up 12 feet above on a plank landing about to buckle - in an office/gallery/studio apartment on the southwest corner of Clay and Mason, at the  intersection of San Francisco cable cars and the landmark Fairmont Hotel whose elaborate lobby restroom facilities were a welcome respite from the toilets at the "CMYK Megaplex." Art director and co-founder Genevieve Astrelli's original CMYK logo gave life to the project. CMYK was born. It had its own style and it was perfect. This spray-painted mark was included on CMYK covers and promotional materials throughout the 1990s until it was retired at the dawn of the new millennium.

  • 30-Nov-1995
  • GPS, 1995

    CMYK layout grid. The roadmap. We didn't really know where this would all lead, but we had a good plan for when we got there. We put it down on papyrus (paper) and showed caution not to spill coffee on it, or allow the office Dachshund, Nipmeister Sir Bently, the ...

    CMYK layout grid. The roadmap. We didn't really know where this would all lead, but we had a good plan for when we got there. We put it down on papyrus (paper) and showed caution not to spill coffee on it, or allow the office Dachshund, Nipmeister Sir Bently, the opportunity to abuse this sacred document like a paper pigeon. By the time each issue went to press, the layout grid resembled more of a mistreated pub menu. That is authentic pen ink.

  • 31-Jan-1996
  • The Jeff Goodby Letter

    Let's just say that you were a copywriter and the "Michael Jordan" of advertising liked your portfolio and your potential as a writer. In 1995, Jeff Goodby of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco was, for us at CMYK, the "MJ" of advertising. He made it look easy for ...

    Let's just say that you were a copywriter and the "Michael Jordan" of advertising liked your portfolio and your potential as a writer. In 1995, Jeff Goodby of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco was, for us at CMYK, the "MJ" of advertising. He made it look easy for the California Milk Advisory Board, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Porche, Isuzu, and many more. Someone at the office suggested we write Jeff Goodby a letter, on real paper, inquiring if he'd pen something for CMYK, about CMYK, that CMYK could then use as a testimonial in a direct mail campaign to promote CMYK. A few months later we got this response letter in the mail. Not only did Jeff Goodby receive it, but he read it, replied to it, and signatured it. The fact that Jeff Goodby actually took the time to write to CMYK a concise, 80-word, now framed and vaulted paragraph of cherished wisdom was all we needed as a start-up graphic design magazine to forge ahead with pride. Classic.

  • 15-May-1996
  • Egg first

    CMYK 1. Sixty-four pages, 9.24 ounces. The egg came first. The beginning. Also the hardest. Inside you would find 80-plus works in advertising, design, illustration and photography from nearly two dozen art schools and programs. Hand-picked "student" work chosen by an illustrious cross section of the creative industry: Cliff Freeman, Michael Osborne, ...

    CMYK 1. Sixty-four pages, 9.24 ounces. The egg came first. The beginning. Also the hardest. Inside you would find 80-plus works in advertising, design, illustration and photography from nearly two dozen art schools and programs. Hand-picked "student" work chosen by an illustrious cross section of the creative industry: Cliff Freeman, Michael Osborne, Terry Heffernan and Maryjane Begin. Plus, articles like "15 Portfolio Don'ts," an interview with copywriting legend-in-the-making Bob Barry, and a classic manifesto by Nike art directing legend Charlotte Moore. There was, of course, plenty of white space on expensive paper. We did it. Kept to our script. We were blessed with support from amazing people. And launched at the right moment. Advertising education icon Norm Grey of the Creative Circus said CMYK's first issue looked far better than the first issue of Playboy. Then, it was time to work on a second issue and learn to fly on our own. 

  • 13-Dec-1996
  • Validation is a dangerous weapon

    For the first 14 issues CMYK turned its covers into an art project. This was an opportunity to use the big stage (both sides of the magazine) to show everyone the purpose and reason for CMYK's being. It made sense to put a hook through a magazine because ...

    For the first 14 issues CMYK turned its covers into an art project. This was an opportunity to use the big stage (both sides of the magazine) to show everyone the purpose and reason for CMYK's being. It made sense to put a hook through a magazine because CMYK baited it with plenty of "fresh" creative brought from our globe's finest ad schools, portfolio programs, design departments, art courses, creative workshops, and self-teaching incubators. The kind of "fresh" creative the industry needs to stay inspired. "Hook" went on to win from the San Francisco Advertising Club a much sought after pewter-to-the-core replica of Coit Tower. 

  • CMYK 3 back cover

    It's all about the follow through.

    It's all about the follow through.

  • 10-Jun-1998
  • Tipping point

    We could have Photoshop'd the base here a bit more to make it look like the magazine was the actual pencil sharpener. Sometimes you just don't see it until after it's printed. This pencil sharpener was on loan from the art director's 7th-grade algebra teacher who still happened to be ...

    We could have Photoshop'd the base here a bit more to make it look like the magazine was the actual pencil sharpener. Sometimes you just don't see it until after it's printed. This pencil sharpener was on loan from the art director's 7th-grade algebra teacher who still happened to be teaching at the same school. CMYK 8 proved to all of us that we were along for the ride. We were officially in flight. That we had the talent, product, ethics, and the support of good people to make a solid go of it.

  • 11-Jun-1998
  • CMYK 7 back cover

    Keep grinding.

    Keep grinding.

  • 13-Feb-2001
  • Surprise Quiz!

    Remember Scantron tests in High School? You'd get out your No. 2 pencil and you would shade-in your answer - a number that corresponds to the number of your correct answer in the test book. Or, in CMYK's case, the number next to the piece of artwork you like the most ...

    Remember Scantron tests in High School? You'd get out your No. 2 pencil and you would shade-in your answer - a number that corresponds to the number of your correct answer in the test book. Or, in CMYK's case, the number next to the piece of artwork you like the most inside CMYK magazine. You must select 12 pieces as your favorites - out of 300 works. Across three different issues of CMYK magazine. And then it would be so good of you if you could scan the cover and fax us the results. Thank you and have fun! Yep.

  • 12-Jun-2001
  • Close cover before striking

    From the ashes like a phoenix... It came time to sacrifice CMYK's old self to realize its new identity. Evolve the product, but hold true to the message. Designer and recent art school graduate, Amy Chang, was our lead art director and would help bring CMYK magazine into the 2000s. ...

    From the ashes like a phoenix... It came time to sacrifice CMYK's old self to realize its new identity. Evolve the product, but hold true to the message. Designer and recent art school graduate, Amy Chang, was our lead art director and would help bring CMYK magazine into the 2000s. CMYK 14 would be the last to reserve both front and back covers for the magazine’s own artistic inventions. This concept was the spark that the publication needed, as the next issue, CMYK 15, would reveal an inspired new look and focus that would carry CMYK magazine through the first decade. CMYK would join forces with the likes of designer Martin Vanezky, and include the direction of writer, critic, curator Glen Helfand, to expand the editorial model to include Yves Bahar, Steven Heller, Milton Glaser and more. CMYK began showcasing "art school creative" on the front cover and artwork from advertisers on the back.

  • 13-Jun-2001
  • CMYK 14 back cover

    Only problem was that the magazine opened from the right, not from the bottom like a true match cover. (We just realized that during the writing of this piece.)

    Only problem was that the magazine opened from the right, not from the bottom like a true match cover. (We just realized that during the writing of this piece.)

  • 16-Jul-2001
  • No words necessary

    "Sarah" by Shelly Reese of Portfolio Center, Atlanta, GA, exemplified CMYK's use of a single image on its covers. Selecting a single visual concept from hundreds of projects in design, illustration, photography, art direction and copywriting that were submitted into CMYK's Top New Creatives contest was no joke. Back then, ...

    "Sarah" by Shelly Reese of Portfolio Center, Atlanta, GA, exemplified CMYK's use of a single image on its covers. Selecting a single visual concept from hundreds of projects in design, illustration, photography, art direction and copywriting that were submitted into CMYK's Top New Creatives contest was no joke. Back then, you trusted your experts at the prepress house - if they had a good file to work with. Otherwise, back to the drawing board. Cover needed to be strong both in concept and the ability for the work to be resized to fit the cover. 300dpi is what you really hoped for. Syquest disks, Zip Disks, even slides. The cover was the final and most challenging phase in the design of CMYK magazine.  The most fun, too.

  • 16-Apr-2004
  • Out front or far behind

    Textless covers continued with this work titled "The Epic Journey" from illustrator Kevin Klein/California State University, Fresno. For about five years, the square masthead would roam across the cover as per the position of elements in the artwork. Challenge was not to cover-up any essential elements in the piece. ...

    Textless covers continued with this work titled "The Epic Journey" from illustrator Kevin Klein/California State University, Fresno. For about five years, the square masthead would roam across the cover as per the position of elements in the artwork. Challenge was not to cover-up any essential elements in the piece. CMYK would soon reconsider its cover policy at the next rest stop.

  • 07-Mar-2006
  • Evolution, Baby

    A big, green cover. Because we could. CMYK magazine eventually got it together and added content copy to its covers so readers would know a little more about what they'll find inside. "Monkeys Among Us" by designer-illustrator Clint Martin of Texas A&M University-Commerce was one of the first ...

    A big, green cover. Because we could. CMYK magazine eventually got it together and added content copy to its covers so readers would know a little more about what they'll find inside. "Monkeys Among Us" by designer-illustrator Clint Martin of Texas A&M University-Commerce was one of the first covers to bring back the shiny gloss cover stock after several years of matte.

  • 19-May-2006
  • "O-Nin Yhbt5"

    We made it through it all: The advertising renaissance of ’96. The dot-com boom of ’98 and the dot-com crash of ’01. 9/11. New York’s blizzard and blackout of ’03. The housing boom of ’06. Reality television. With CMYK 33, CMYK had published over 3,000 pieces of creative from over 2,500 aspiring ...

    We made it through it all: The advertising renaissance of ’96. The dot-com boom of ’98 and the dot-com crash of ’01. 9/11. New York’s blizzard and blackout of ’03. The housing boom of ’06. Reality television. With CMYK 33, CMYK had published over 3,000 pieces of creative from over 2,500 aspiring professionals across the globe, handpicked for publication by 150 of the most celebrated creative professionals in communication art. So how better to celebrate this major milestone than by placing on the cover a photograph of "O-Nin Yhbt5," an alien onion, by photographer Ian Aleksander Adams of the Hallmark Institute of Photography. Tears of joy.

  • 17-Apr-2009
  • Ready for a change

    A dozen or so years of using a single image on our covers. We had to let go, but not after we published "Clothesline Baby" from photographer Matt Beardsley of the Academy of Art University's photography program. Luckily, this young man in the photo would keep his grip long enough ...

    A dozen or so years of using a single image on our covers. We had to let go, but not after we published "Clothesline Baby" from photographer Matt Beardsley of the Academy of Art University's photography program. Luckily, this young man in the photo would keep his grip long enough for CMYK to grow up a bit with CMYK 45.

  • 21-Nov-2009
  • Order and function

    While based on the grid, CMYK 45 began the most experimental period in the publication's printed era. Tyler School of Art at Temple University graduate, Ronald J. Cala II, was discovered by CMYK after his work was published in CMYK 37, 38, 40, 42 and 44. Brought on as creative director for CMYK to help ...

    While based on the grid, CMYK 45 began the most experimental period in the publication's printed era. Tyler School of Art at Temple University graduate, Ronald J. Cala II, was discovered by CMYK after his work was published in CMYK 37, 38, 40, 42 and 44. Brought on as creative director for CMYK to help devise its total redesign, in 2009 CMYK bet on a young, enterprising designer to help keep the magazine the same by changing it in most every way. A pure, cover-to-cover remodel brought the publication into its Version 3.0 model that would last five years. Many pieces of artwork on the cover. Bright, bold, readable design on the insides. Prime editorial profiles and features.

  • 16-Jul-2010
  • Cover as canvas

    CMYK 47 saw the magazine work with industry icons as contributors. Artist Roberto De Vicq De Cumptich designed the masthead here. CMYK 47 launched a trend that continued through its 55th issue. CMYK is honored to have worked with David Carson, Art Chantry, James Victore, John Langdon, Mary Kate McDevit, and Roberto ...

    CMYK 47 saw the magazine work with industry icons as contributors. Artist Roberto De Vicq De Cumptich designed the masthead here. CMYK 47 launched a trend that continued through its 55th issue. CMYK is honored to have worked with David Carson, Art Chantry, James Victore, John Langdon, Mary Kate McDevit, and Roberto De Vicq De Cumptich.

  • 11-May-2011
  • 5-0

    To celebrate this gravity defying milestone, CMYK decided to transform its cover into a kitchen-table sketch using a pencil to draw "50" in 50 different ways. The tenacious graphite approach was quite a test for our designer Katy Hatz, but her efforts produced some wild results. CMYK got even crazier by adding ...

    To celebrate this gravity defying milestone, CMYK decided to transform its cover into a kitchen-table sketch using a pencil to draw "50" in 50 different ways. The tenacious graphite approach was quite a test for our designer Katy Hatz, but her efforts produced some wild results. CMYK got even crazier by adding a spot metallic silver to its masthead. The party continue inside with the publication’s first “Posters-Only” contest; a one-on-one with design legend Woody Pirtle; and a custom infographic by up-and-coming designer-typographer Jessica Hische on the age-old dilemma, “Should I work for free?”

  • 24-Oct-2012
  • Catching a maverick

    Design icon David Carson was the feature interview for this issue and also the designer of our cover. The surfer in this photo is also David. With CMYK 53, we gave Mr. Carson license to do what he wanted with the cover. To delightful results. It was an honor for CMYK ...

    Design icon David Carson was the feature interview for this issue and also the designer of our cover. The surfer in this photo is also David. With CMYK 53, we gave Mr. Carson license to do what he wanted with the cover. To delightful results. It was an honor for CMYK to publish David's custom work.

  • 12-Dec-2016
  • CMYK PPI

    Anything less than making the reader forget about print for a moment would not be accepted. CMYK App didn't have to be the most dynamic or the most expensive. CMYK App simply had to deliver on its promise of showcasing outstanding portfolio work on a smart, user-friendly platform that ...

    Anything less than making the reader forget about print for a moment would not be accepted. CMYK App didn't have to be the most dynamic or the most expensive. CMYK App simply had to deliver on its promise of showcasing outstanding portfolio work on a smart, user-friendly platform that took full advantage of custom, native IOS technology, both in form and functionality. Easy to get into and plenty to get out of. The new foundation has officially been built. Thank you for joining along for the ride.

History

CMYK 1.0: 1996–1999. 1 in 10. Our chances were slim, but in 1996 anything was possible. Even launching a magazine.

In the mid-’90s, the advertising and design industries were experiencing a renaissance in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, Portland, and Seattle. In San Francisco, the dot-com boom sparked a creative gold rush with agencies like Saatchi and Saatchi; J. Walter Thompson; Leagas Delaney; Lowe & Partners/SMS; Mad Dogs and Englishmen; and Hal Riney offspring like Goodby, Silverstein & Partners; and Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners. In design, you had equal award-winners in Landor and Cahan & Associates, and the Three Michaels (Mabry, Osborn, and Vanderbyl), among many other notable firms and artists. Not to mention Nash Bridges. San Francisco was also an epicenter for magazine start-ups with names like Cups, Spec, Speak, Mas Moda, Emigre, and Critique. And CMYK.

CMYK’s publishing niche was the showcasing of outstanding creative from the student-graduate level. Fortunately, nationwide the art school scene abounded with plenty of established and emerging art-design schools and programs, all thriving in their own niche. Academy of Art University, Art Center College of Design, and Portfolio Center, among many others, were staples in communication-arts education, while Miami Ad School was but a year old and The Creative Circus, VCU Brandcenter, Chicago Portfolio School, and Brainco were just opening their doors. This period in CMYK history introduced the magazine as the voice of the new creative class: an independent publication supporting and promoting the talents of those on the verge of inheriting the future of popular advertising and design. To best give full prominence to its work showcase, CMYK’s design template was all about clean white space with a straightforward column editorial format. CMYK’s design flair took shape in its spray-painted logo and award-winning cover concepts—magic 8-ball, gas pumps, giant fishhook, acupuncture needles—that quickly became the magazine’s design signature.

 

CMYK 2.0: 1999–2009. CMYK 15 represented the next rung on the evolutionary ladder.

CMYK underwent its first complete redesign. The goal was to update the CMYK brand aesthetic and strengthen the foundation and infrastructure. In other words, do well for business. A new label-style logo and high-concept layout were adopted as was featuring a selection of student work on the cover for each issue.

The redesign proved successful, spanning an entire decade with subtle issue-by-issue improvements along the way. This period would also see two evolutions of its website. The steady growth helped establish CMYK as synonymous with inspiration. Editorial content was expanded by adding a calendar and book-review section and reporting focused on those doing breakthrough work at all levels of visual communication. CMYK would also add more pages to our aspiring creative showcase. The publication established a standard of integrity and excellence, and CMYK would see its business model become one of the largest and most sought-after creative contests.

 

CMYK 3.0: 2009–2014. It was time once again to tear it down and build it back up.

With an ailing economy and a new set of challenges at the forefront of our minds, CMYK saw an opportunity to reinvest in its product and emerge ready to face its next phase. With a solid foundation, CMYK was looking to emphasize what had set it apart from other design magazines and at the same time improve on what it is that today’s readers would appreciate. Growth was the goal with the new redesign, an expanding of the audience and authority of the magazine both visually and content-wise. The new look would need to extend beyond aesthetics. This called for a bolder statement: a stronger pride and dedication, change and commitment—more of a scream than a shout.

To help with this task, CMYK hired award-winning designer Ronald J. Cala II. Selected for publication in five different issues of CMYK, it was Cala and his unique design style and devotion to the art/science of impact that really caught the attention of CMYK as exactly what it needed to achieve its new look. The goal was to give the magazine a more fluid, cohesive feel as a singular product, to tie it all together—cover, front, middle, back. A new tagline was adopted to better define the functionality of the magazine’s model: create, showcase, inspire. From there the CMYK logo was altered by closing the spacing between the letters. Covers would summarize more of the content of the magazine with a more calculated focus on getting the reader to open the book.

Inside, we wanted to make good use of CMYK’s namesake colors throughout all aspects of the magazine. The editorial—with expanded international coverage and a more personal, confident, from-the-source voice—would flow together and stand on its own and fit into the whole scheme of the magazine. CMYK would reach 65,000 Facebook fans and also launch a fourth incarnation of its website.

cmyk

Classic Covers

CMYK 49.

Scott Bakal, illustrator

CMYK 55.

Mary Kate McDevitt, designer

CMYK 54.

John Langdon, designer

CMYK 53.

David Carson, designer

CMYK 52.

James Victore, designer