Miss Management: Contents may have shifted

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Last fall, Specialty Fabrics Review magazine (the June 2009 issue) won a Gold Award in Association Trends’ all-media national competition. For some reason, they wouldn’t let me place a news item on the home page of our website (www.specialtyfabricsreview.com), possibly due to the number of polysyllabic adjectives I’d included. But last week we (through our incomparable, and very tall, graphic designer Nicole Von Ruden) received two 2010 American Graphic Design Awards for two feature articles, and I decided that the time had come for a more self-referential blog.

Our two winners: “A future in mesh,” from the May 2009 issue, and “Fabulous, flexible fabric” from the August 2009 issue. Both articles combine flashy photography and Nicole’s standout layout and design—and both discuss topics that are meaningful not only to our readers in the specialty fabrics industry, but to architects, interior designers, trade show planners, city planners and any business planning to exhibit at a trade show, just for starters.

A future in mesh” begins with this description from author June Bisantz: “Imagine a future in which surfaces manifest themselves as translucent, receptive membranes, shimmering with light and movement. Our everyday lives will be transformed by walls, ceilings and floors that respond to movement and changes in the weather. Building facades will come alive with floating, abstract forms and moving images capturing our attention and expanding our imagination. Clothing and furniture will glow with animated information, fascinating us with color and motion.”

In contrast, “Fabulous, flexible fabrics” takes a more down-to-earth approach, in contrast to the dazzling but efficient and versatile exhibits showcased in the article: “With budgets being cut and every expense scrutinized, customers are concerned with value and return on investment even more than in previous years,” says Shelly Alex, vice president of sales and marketing at Moss Inc. in Belfast, Maine. “In response to this we have given our customers tools to use that help them show their management how face-to-face marketing and the use of fabric really make sense in this downturn. We also have put an emphasis on delivering solutions that are budget minded, to help exhibitors lower their overall cost of ownership.”

You may read these articles online here, and I hope that you will if you aren’t a subscriber to the Review—but you cannot see the way that Nicole worked the text, the photos and her graphic design into a dazzling, award-winning whole in print (unless you contact me and fervently request a back issue). It’s the whole package that makes that winning impression on readers, one big reason that we’re working hard to make this website and this printed magazine complement each other as parts of an informational—and, we hope, enjoyable—whole.

In my October issue editorial, I included a quote from Ovid: “Make the workmanship surpass the materials.” The success of any company depends upon their delivery of an entire package: quality materials, quality workmanship, economical and ecological practices, thoughtful marketing, efficient customer service—and a certain indefinable flair that makes it stand out to the consumer as a good product to buy and a good place to do business. Our goal, with this magazine and this website, is both to surpass our materials ourselves and, more importantly, help our readers to do the same.

We’re thrilled when we win publishing awards (can you tell?), but the best moment for me will come when I’m wandering the halls of the Orange County Convention Center late next month, at IFAI Expo Americas 2010, and people come up to me and say, “Since I started reading ‘Miss Management,’ I have hired 10 new employees, our business is up 20 percent, and I’m now a member of our local chamber of commerce, helping to link private and public enterprise in our community. Oh, and my skin has cleared up.”

Oh, and my blog has also been entered into the Minnesota Magazine and Publication Association’s annual publishing excellence awards competition. If I win for “best blog,” I may just be wandering those halls, and all other halls, sporting an incredibly gaudy rhinestone “Miss Management” pin. In fact, I’ll probably wear it whether I win or not. Sometimes, gaudy is indicated.

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