In the Black
After a brief relationship with its original Denver-based creative firm, In the Black landed in the hands of Cathy Holtz, owner of Blonde Ambition, also a Denver-based design and production shop.
Holtz's first order of business was to offer suggestions that would help In the Black survive manufacturing on a shoestring budget.
"As their designer, I understand that (Ellsworth and Frances) have certain financial considerations with the start-up of this magazine. … I see it as my responsibility to introduce them to different sorts of vendors, and, hopefully, to help them identify all the components of quality printing," notes Holtz.
"We all decided that the cover was very important for this magazine," Holtz continues, "so we began to use a scan house, GraphX (Denver). … We also began to use a professional photo retoucher to get the look that we wanted. Ellsworth and Frances really want to reach a national audience, so the covers have taken on a whole new look. They wanted it to really pop off the shelves."
Holtz is personally responsible for the entire design of the publication, and she takes great pride in developing a consistently clean product. Using Macintosh-based QuarkXPress and Adobe's Illustrator and Photoshop, Holtz has created a crisp design template and specific color palette upon which to build.
The publication's printer, American Web, Denver, "has the most stringent guidelines," claims Holtz. "They are very focused on streamlining the process. Their goals are to save their customers money that way."
When Holtz initially signed on with In the Black, the publisher's relationship with American Web (the printer specializes in short- to medium-run publications) was already established.
Holtz recalls the creation of her first issue of In the Black: "I had to submit a test file; the first one flunked," Holtz adds with a laugh. "I was an experienced designer, but I needed to understand the printer's specs. There were some tiny, minor things that went wrong, like the way the fonts were arranged." After the learning curve was maneuvered, Holtz notes that the second test file "worked like a charm."