Our longtime friend, former editor, and current contributing writer Bob Sherrill insists that the graphics of this magazine have improved so much in the past few years that something underhanded must be going on: We must be getting affluent.
Well, all we can say to that is ojalá. Would that it were so. Our art budget is still as miniscule as ever. There’s another explanation for our improved design. The unsung heroes of any publication are the people who put it together. We don’t mean the writers and editors–we mean the people who literally put it together–the folks who design the pages and then take the thousands of bits and bytes, TIFs, JPGs, and other things that mystify the rest of us and send them off into cyberspace to the printer.
For the past three years, those “people” have translated into one person, the lovely and talented Julia Austin, our art director. Not long after she began working at the Observer, Julia undertook a major re-design of the magazine and then coaxed us into the future by helping to launch our website. Ever since she has worked to improve our look.
She’s been far more than our art director–she’s been the stage-manager for our January Rabble Rouser fundraisers. As our in-house musician, she’s played the clarinet and sang for the Observer. All for a good cause, of course. (And something you’ll never catch the writers and editors doing–we promise.)
We’ve watched her proof pages, pull covers out of the hat at the last minute, coax artists into working for us for the price of a cup of coffee and a breakfast taco, and done whatever else it takes to get the issue out. She’s done it all with a part-time job and a limited art budget. Now, with this issue, she leaves us for new adventures. We wish her well and miss her already.
Starting with this issue, our art direction is in the very capable hands of Matt Lynaugh. Along with his wife, Gloria Lee, an art professor at the University of Texas in Austin, Matt runs Buds Design Kitchen, a design firm they founded as grad students in 1995. In addition, our website, also previously maintained by Julia Austin, will be handled by Adrian Quesada, an artist, designer, and musician with the Austin-based Latin band Grupo Fantasma (check them out at www.grupofantasma.com).
Finally, longtime readers will note that a familiar name has reappeared on our masthead. We’re happy to welcome back Roxanne Bogucka. Several regime changes ago, Roxanne approached the editors with a long list of ways that the Observer could be improved, and suggested that we start with a copy editor.
Some people just can’t stay away. This is Roxanne’s third stint as our copy editor and we’re delighted to have her back, working for (pardon the expression) a song. –The Editors.