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Beauty of design; Justus Magazine launched to showcase Australian craftsmanship

By Tim Lince in Media News on

An independent magazine created to showcase the innovation and craftsmanship of the Australian print design industry has launched, with the first issue of Justus Magazine released at the end of November.

The 128-page debut issue has been an aspiration of creative director Lindsay Smith (pictured) for years, and she founded the magazine to build a stronger community for designers to work within.

“I love the industry, I love design and I love print. I have been privileged to have chosen a career that makes me happy and satisfied every day,” Smith explained. “So I decided to dedicate my time and energy into building a stronger design community. Community is forged by a common unity - ours is design, so let that be the foundation from which we build stronger relationships.”

She says the timing was just right to take the publication to market.

“Publishing a design magazine has been a dream of mine for many years. It was just that 2011 was a year that provided the synchronicity for this project to take off. The timing seems right, the industry was yearning for something like this and I was personally ready to embark on this adventure.”

“The idea came from a love and a passion for what we do and what we are able to achieve every day. Justus Magazine was born due to a necessity; it is a celebration of the print graphic design industry in all its forms and glory. We are dedicated to showcasing the beauty that can be expressed through our talents, and giving strength to an industry that was yearning for this kind of connection.”

Smith said that the creation of the magazine was spurred on by the struggling print market.

“The benefits of print far outweigh the difficulties, which is what we have chosen to prove. Even if the print industry is in a vulnerable state, it is my belief that it’s the perfect time to unify the print design community so it becomes a much stronger and viable industry. As a practising designer, the only risks we, as an industry, face is the lack of information and resources available to individual freelancers and independent design businesses. Justus Magazine plans to alleviate this challenge endured by all industry professionals.”

The launch has shied away from newly-traditional methods of building up a social network following and developing a digital audience. In fact it’s seen the team at Justus adapt a strategy that is decidedly retro - and something that would make most PRs weep.

“The most important action we take is picking up the phone to have actual personal conversations. It surprised me that many designers are unaccustomed to this approach. However, we cannot espouse a philosophy of wanting to develop a real community until we start encouraging real conversations. Not emails. Not Twitter messages.” Smith explained.

“We pick up the phone and say ‘hello, how are you? I'd like to tell you about this new thing that you should know about’.Whilst it’s interesting to hear that this approach is considered radical, we are happy to be positioned as leaders in bringing about change. When we tell them to come and have a drink with us  (in person and away from their computer screens) well that just blows them away.”

The team's hopes for the future are refreshingly grounded, as consistency and community feedback are the two driving forces going forward - but there are off-print ideas that are floating around too.

“We aim to see the print run increase by 100 per cent. Our plan is to stay with the existing format for the first year and listen to our subscribers’ feedback for any adaptations beyond that. Due to the team’s combined design experience, the format of the publication serves as a strong resource tool as well as an aesthetic form of inspiration and therefore it will stay consistent; industry feedback thus far has assured us that this works.”

“In regards to an app: yes. The overseas market needs to gain inspiration from the amazing design talents showcased in Australia. Books are always on the agenda, considering they are another excuse to splash ink on pages.”

In terms of PR opportunities, and the best way to get in contact with the magazine, Smith explained that they’re open to many possibilities.

“Please contact us by email or phone - we would love the opportunity to share our passion for this project. Justus Magazine conducts interviews with clients who use the services of professional designers, we are always interested in educating our readers on how clients view the design process so that we can learn to do better business,” she said.

“We also offer unique partnership opportunities for brands looking to reach a creative demographic, both through our events and advertising in the magazine. We are a new and growing business, so we are open to possibilities, and our partner business Eleven Eleven Design is a design agency that specialises in high-end design for luxury brands and can work with PR professionals on branding and creative.”

Editor of the new title is Estelle Pigot, who is also senior contributing writer for the Australian website, Design Federation.

You can find out more about Justus at their website.

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