Meet our publisher of the week. DEZINE is an online magazine dedicated to the creative. Its creative director, Ben Wainman, dreamed of a magazine featuring creatives in the fields of art, design and photography, and launched his dream in January 2017. How did he get started? What does it take to make a single issue? Ben takes us behind the scenes of DEZINE below.
Q: So tell us how DEZINE got started? What motivated you to launch such a creative collaborative project?
Ben Wainman: It’s a funny story, because issuu actually made me want to do the magazine. I’ve been in the publishing industry doing editorial design for about five years, and I came across issuu in 2013. We had been using these other services, but issuu was the free alternative that had what we were looking for and I liked the community aspect of it. I kept exploring and seeing things that I liked — I think Mad Sounds was the third magazine or so that I saw, and making a magazine featuring photographers, designers and all of that was kind of always in the back of my mind because I didn’t really see that out there. I initially wanted to just get designers that I knew together for the idea, but I decided to use the internet to reach out to people who could participate and it became bigger than I ever expected, especially on social.
Q: Tell us about the team behind DEZINE. What goes into making each issue?
BW: Well, I do a bulk of the work myself, and my girlfriend Eve and a colleague at work help me. Because it takes so much time to make one issue (we’re bimonthly), but I get so much content that I wish it could be monthly. I do most of the communicating with people, so there are artists and photographers that I really want to see in the magazine that I’ll reach out to — but it’s amazing the amount of content that falls into my lap. A great example is Talbotics from our last issue. I hadn’t even thought of, but Tal reached out with this pitch and the end result was seriously amazing and I loved it.
It’s fantastic that people are reaching out to be in something that I’ve created — bit humbling actually! My process for each issue is a bit of a random mess most of the time because it’s new for me to do bits of everything. Hopefully someday I’ll have one person to take care of one thing and another to handle one more thing. For now, I have people like Eve helping me find stuff and then I’ll do the outreach and then I put it all together.
Q: For someone not well-versed in publishing, what tools are you using to make your publication?
BW: Oh, I keep it simple. I use Photoshop for general chopping or to fix resolution. Generally I leave people’s photography alone since the submitted photo is like their final copy, but if I need to do any cropping I’ll use Photoshop. When I make an issue, I use Quark Xpress. It’s similar to InDesign but speeds up the process massively so, what was taking me several days for one magazine, Quark Xpress has made so much easier.
Q: What success or failures have you had so far since starting DEZINE?
BW: I mean, when I first started, I failed getting people on board. I approached a lot of people that told me, “No, why would I do something like that?” There were also people that committed to doing it and then disappeared. The first issue’s cover had 3 incarnations before I got to John [Thatcher], but that first cover is fantastic and I couldn’t have wished for anything better. I kind of reached out on a whim so I’d say that is my biggest success so far — getting John on board for the first issue.
Q: What can DEZINE fans expect next?
BW: Design stuff, I suppose? We’ve got something a bit different planned: a special issue with a singular focus on a certain topic. I’m hoping to get it out in June, but it depends. I have plenty of content for it. I also have photographers who were going to go out and get brand new shoots for it. If this first special edition works, we’ll want to do more themed issues and stuff like that.
Q: Final question, what advice do you have for new publishers or anyone thinking about publishing their first magazine?
BW: The biggest tip is to actually go for it. Like I said, I discovered issuu in 2013 and I had the idea milling around in my head for all these years and it took me this whole time before I just decided to go for it. There’s always a reason to not do something, so, if you’re really passionate about it, you should just really go ahead and do it.
Ben is doing an @issuu Instagram takeover on April 1, so be sure to follow along!