“The magazine format felt like the perfect vehicle” and outlet for all the creative juices flowing from Leslie Colin Jones, the founder and creator of Elsie magazine. An ink on paper magazine where no two copies of the same issue are the same. Limited edition premieres, each one comes with its own serial number together with different cover designs and inserts. While the magazine is printed via the traditional litho method, it is still a true testament to what print, traditional and digital can do for you in this day and age.
Fueled by passion and energized by creativity, Elsie, the magazine, led me to get in touch with its founder to find out the origins of this new venture and the man behind the magazine. In typical Mr. Magazine™ Interviews, here are first the sound-bites followed by the complete interview with Mr. Jones.
On the outlet for work as a designer and photographer: The magazine format felt like the perfect vehicle for presenting the results to the outside world
On the reason for the magazine: My work is produced for the sheer joy of being creative
On the role of the magazine: I see Elsie as a vehicle to take me places and people that I would not ordinarily visit or meet.
On the future of print and digital: The emergence of digital print and online printing services has in a way democratized print
On what makes him tick and click daily: The great buzz of excitement that you get when the creative juices are flowing freely!
SH: You say Elsie is a one man’s creation, tell me about the conception and creation of Elsie.
LJ: As a designer and photographer I produce a lot of self initiated work. This portfolio of work has been building over the past few years and I wanted to create something that would be an outlet for this work but also a catalyst to new projects and interactions.
A lot of the work I do is based around themed briefs and the magazine format felt like the perfect vehicle for presenting the results to the outside world and also engaging people in the development of future content.
SH: Who is Elsie?
LJ: Elsie isn’t a real person. I chose the name for two reasons – firstly, I wanted a name that wasn’t in any way pretentious. My work is produced for the sheer joy of being creative – so I wanted a name that didn’t aspire to grander things. The reason I settled on Elsie, is because the initials of my first and middle names are L C (Leslie Colin) – and there it was!
SH: What is the vision and mission of Elsie?
LJ: Elsie the magazine is the first step towards a bigger vision. In the new year, I will be taking the magazine on the road with a series of live events. The live events will be interactive and members of the audience will be engaged in creating content for future issues of Elsie. There will also, hopefully, be exhibitions linked into the mag. I see Elsie as a vehicle to take me places and people that I would not ordinarily visit or meet. Ultimately, it’s all about creative expression and having fun.
SH: Is this the future of print (specialized, niche, limited editions, etc) or there is room for both big and small printed publications?
LJ: I think there’s room for both. The emergence of digital print and online printing services has in a way democratized print – making it available to the masses. There really no reason why anyone with the desire to express themselves in print should not do so. However, these small run exercises are unlikely to be profitable and people should be aware of this from the outset. As such, there will always be a market for the larger publications driven by higher circulations, wider distribution and advertising revenue.
SH: There is a lot of interactivity on the pages of Elsie, each cover is different, each page three is handwritten, post cards, surprise images, etc… What is the purpose of creating a magazine to the nth degree of interactivity?
LJ: For me, it’s about creating something unique and lasting. Many magazines are bought, read and then disposed of. I want Elsie to be something that people want to treasure and keep. The customization makes each copy personal to the buyer. They have something that no-one else has…which hopefully, makes the magazine feel special.
SH: What is the future of Elsie?
LJ: As mentioned above…Elsie will move into live events. I’m already planning the next issue, which will take the magazine to the next level, both in terms of content, volume and customization…so watch this space.
SH: What makes Les tick and click every morning? What is the energy behind the motivation to create an ink on paper magazine in this digital age?
LJ: Online stuff is great, but it’s transient. Print has longevity, it’s tactile – it’s not just about reading it’s also about holding, touching, displaying and storing. It’s permanence creates a different dynamic in the creative and design process – what’s committed to paper cannot be changed by the click of a mouse. I’ve just passed my 52nd birthday, but I actually feel like I’ve just got to the starting line – I’m excited about where Elsie might take me, and I’m looking forward to producing work that will stretch me and take me into new areas.
That’s what drives me…that, and the great buzz of excitement that you get when the creative juices are flowing freely!
SH: Thank you.