deesign Magazine’s timeline has been pushed back two weeks taking up the two week buffer I had built into the timeline for release of issue one.  This was due to the value I expecting to get from two meetings which were both pushed back a week.

Yesterday and today, these meetings happened.  The insights and thinking gained was as valuable as I hoped – completely worth the wait.

First was a catch up meeting with Gillian Easson from Creative Dundee who as an organisation are fully supporting the magazine:

  • There’s a cultural agencies network in Dundee (I need to find a contact inside this network)
  • Check out The Ferret – crowdfunded investigative journalism, interesting to try and understand their business model.
  • Tell them how good your project is for the community – When putting together a project which benefits a city you have to be totally transparent and constantly showcase the good you’re doing. “What I’m doing is a good thing because… “
  • You have to big it up – seem like a bigger organisation. Act totally professional.
  • Prototypes – So important with things like print. When the tangible nature of a product is so important (like a magazine) it’s nearly impossible to pitch it to people without allowing them to hold in their hands. How does this distance itself from digital? Analog technologies resurgence – vinyl etc.
  • Think big! – As part of the report, look beyond just Dundee. Could this project be expanded to work across the entirety of Scotland for the Year of Design (There was also super top secret and high flying project mentioned which the magazine could potentially become a part of). What does the local design scene mean in the context of Edinburgh or Glasgow?


Second was today’s meeting with Anna Day, Dundee Unesco City of Design manager. Anna has a background in publishing and a book of ISBN numbers to hand out to interesting projects for free:

  • ISBN numbers – Anna straight away gave me the ISBN number I was after. However we chatted for a while and it turns out what I’m really looking for is an ISSN number. I looked down this path and it turns out they are actually free. However, due to how long it might take to get one. I might release issue one using an ISBN and look to put in an ISSN application ASAP to get one for the next issue.
  • Getting into shops – ISBNs (and for me ISSNs) help massively in validating your idea to someone. Anna has recommended that initially I should pick out 8 to 10 outlets (handpicked because they fit the overall values of the magazine) and hit them hard – be personable, work on commission and allow them a hefty cut.
  • Keep costs down – In publishing you need to have all your costs within 30% or less of the RRP if you want to cut a profit.  Currently I am sitting at %60 so need to find a cheaper method or bump up the printing run massively.  This is an issue related to the process I’ve picked for print.  Risograph is expensive, however lends itself to creating a beautiful tangible finish which can increase perceived value…. and price.  This is a tricky balance which will form a massive part of my final report.
  • Beyond Dundee – Get in touch with other cultural outlets around the country and see if there would be any interest in stocking the magazine as a representation of the burgeoning Dundee design scene.
  • Advertising – A couple of adverts in a magazine can almost entirely covers costs, bringing price down. These ads would have to be curated to make sure they line up with values, but is one form of funding which could be pursued. Cultural magazines like The Skinny and People of Print do this well.
  • Social media – Those likes and follows are worth a lot for validating to anyone from advertisers to retailers and beyond. “Make sure and grab this month’s copy at ______ & ______”


The next meeting I’ve lined up is with Peggy Hughes from Literary Dundee on November 5th.  I’ll also be heading along to a few Dundee Literary Festival events.