Featured Designing Mom: Janine of Uppercase Magazine

by Cat on November 28, 2011

I’ve always been a fan of Uppercase Magazine. It’s a self-professed magazine for the “creative and curious” and fills every design junkie’s nook and cranny fantasies on those subjects. We’re so lucky to have publisher and editor Janine Vangool be our featured designing mom today. Her life now as mom and publisher are intricately woven…read on to see how her day to day plays out!
What is your background? Have you always been creative?
I’ve always loved books, letters, paper, pens and stationery… I can trace the infatuation with these things back to my preschool days and my most vivid childhood memories are of making things with paper, creating little books and sewing stuffed animals from scratch. My career as a graphic designer and now as publisher/designer/editor of UPPERCASE, allows me to indulge in these creative pursuits but in a very grown-up way!
What is a typical day in your life?
When I became a new mom last year, my days were anything but typical. I still had to produce the quarterly magazine while caring for my little baby! For a few months (before he could crawl) we had a nice little arrangement where he would stay put while I got some work done in between feedings and changings. But the more mobile he became, the less work I could get done at home, so after about a year, I started coming into my studio more often. Now for our typical day Finley and I spend the morning together while my husband Glen spends time writing his second novel. After lunch together, Glen takes over and I walk downtown to the UPPERCASE studio to work until 6.
What inspired you to start Uppercase Magazine? How do you think of themes for your magazine?
I used to design books and a magazine for other clients. I learned a lot from those dozen years of working for others — what to do and perhaps more importantly, what not to do! After so many years of working for others, I was getting bored and stagnating creatively. The challenge was gone since most jobs were just making things look nice, but lacked any real heavy thinking. In producing my own content, I am using all parts of my creative abilities and pushing myself in new directions and learning new skills. I love being an entrepreneur and publisher—UPPERCASE magazine and books is the ideal job for me.
The themes for each issue emerge somewhat organically. I receive lots of portfolio links and suggestions, and I read a lot of blogs, look at flickr and etsy and social media… this gets put into my creative pool where things swim around together for a while. From there I can see trends, themes or common threads that develop into full issues.
How does your son inspire you creatively?
My little guy is a very loving, smart and easy-going toddler. Glen and I are very lucky! He has been part of our creative endeavours since the day he was born and has come along with us for all sorts of craft fairs, conferences and book launches. We’re both inspired to keep at our own creative pursuits, partly because this is how we support our family, but more importantly so that Finley will appreciate creating, making and doing and he grows up. As he gets older, I look forward to more fun with crafts, colouring, and the joy of childhood learning.
How do you make time for yourself? How do you recharge your creative batteries?
The walk to and from my studio is about 20 minutes each way and is precious time without emails, phone calls and other demands. It is a vital part of my day when I can ponder and plan as well as decompress a bit…
I’m looking forward to attending some conferences over the next few months. As a content-maker, the perpetual hunt for ideas can get exhausting. At the DesignThinkers and ALT conferences, I look forward to sitting back and just listening to other creatives without necessarily having to actually make anything with the content other than to recharge my own creative thinking.
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

bebe elementals November 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm

what a dream job and inspirational life you have! your son is so lucky to have creativity all around him.


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