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Nail Magazine: A New Magazine That Hits The “Nail” On The Head When It Comes To Celebrating Creative Professionals In Today’s World – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Ted Leonhardt, Publisher, Nail Magazine…

August 23, 2017

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

“When I first saw the printed copy, I felt like I had come back to my roots of producing print, and what a pleasure that was. And just holding it and feeling the weight of it was amazing. And Ross’s absolutely extravagant design; basically, it’s over the top.” Ted Leonhardt…

Ted Leonhardt is a seasoned design professional whose mission in life is to help creatives fulfill their full potential. With that goal in mind, he created and launched a new magazine called Nail. The tagline reads: “Being A Creative Person In Today’s World.” Ted has a background rich in creative design and also in creative consulting. With his new magazine, Ted sees a way to look at the lives of creatives across the world and see how they are faring and thriving, and then share that through the pages of the magazine. It’s an intriguing concept and one that, with the reality of the first issue, shares analysis, career tips, and profiles of creatives.

I spoke with Ted recently and we talked about his idea of Nail and how it came about. We touched on his own background and on what he sees for the future of Nail. It was an easy conversation with a man who has strong opinions and beliefs, as the magazine shows, but also has a sincere and genuine humor that lives in his tone, making him very comfortable and open about his life, work, and his passion: the magazine.

When you’re a creative and you need some oomph and motivation to keep going in today’s chaotic environment, Ted said that Nail offers that support and looks beyond to greater ambitions and desires. So, whether you’re a designer, writer, creative director, musician, or anything that requires those skillsets one would define as “creative,” Nail is the magazine for you.

So, I hope that you enjoy this open and intriguing interview with a man who has lived creatively for most of his life, and now has a new magazine to help others who want to do the same, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Ted Leonhardt, publisher, Nail magazine.

But first, the sound-bites:

On the origin of the name Nail: Well, nails have a very sharp point. They are very powerful instruments. They put things together. They’re strong and have an aggressive nature just because of the way they’re used. And I felt like a short, very strong name that represented physical action was appropriate for a magazine that was representing creatives in a difficult world.

On what it means to be a creative in today’s world: I think it means all people who make their way in the world through their creative skills. So, you could be in the advertising and design industry, and people are actually referred to as creatives. It’s a professional category: writers, designers, art directors, creative directors and others, are defined in their roles as creatives. And that’s my background.

On that “Aha” moment for him when he decided to create Nail: It was last fall. I was thinking about writing another book and I had a good team of people working for me already, helping me to promote my consulting practice, and I thought that a magazine would be a lot more fun. (Laughs) A magazine is visual and we could use those skills that we already had, and it can represent my point of view and points of view of lots of other people. And that way I could include others, whereas with a book, it would be typically just me. So, I thought a magazine would be a lot more fun to do than another book.

On how easy it was for him to take on the role of publisher since he is a creative designer himself: It was easy, because basically later in my career I didn’t do any design work myself, I just helped other people reach their conclusions. So, my job was really as a creative manager for 20 years, where I wasn’t designing anything myself.

On his reaction when the first issue was delivered to him: I’m over the moon with it. When I first saw the printed copy, I felt like I had come back to my roots of producing print, and what a pleasure that was. And just holding it and feeling the weight of it was amazing. And Ross’s absolutely extravagant design; basically, it’s over the top. Some of my more linear friends tell me it’s actually unreadable. (Laughs) One of my mentors that I bounce ideas off of made a living, and actually became quite rich, in the direct marketing business, and he is very linear person. And he thinks I’m insane. (Laughs again)

On whether there are any changes he might want to make in the next issue after seeing the first one: No, I’m still over the moon about it. In fact, my biggest worry is what we can do for the cover of the second issue. (Laughs) How do we match the first cover? The concepts or the cover article is the “other.” Creatives throughout history have often been marginalized, burned at the stake; their work destroyed; scientific people, artistic people, thrown in jail, etc. And of course, there’s our current political climate. So, I want the cover article to be about the “other.” And how that affects creatives over time.

On the future of creativity in this day and age: I think it’s extremely bright, because I think that the advance of the computer to do repetitive tasks is going to change the face of who’s in charge. And I think we’re going to find way more creativity celebrated within human activities than we have in the past, and less spreadsheets, headcounts and pennies that are profit for items sold, being the driver.

On whether magazines can live on creativity alone or they’ll still need business models: My guess is that we will continue to evolve how our economy works. I’m not an expert in government or economics, but I suspect that some creatives will find more and more opportunity to sell their skills and work directly to others through this marvelous invention called the Internet, so that there will be a much larger cottage industry than ever, because of the ability to communicate with people all over the world. Maybe someone will design a coffee cup that only appeals to 1,000 people, but they’re all over the world.

On anything he’d like to add: I’m just finding my way with this project. I’m having a great time. I’m loving looking at it. I’m thrilled with what we’ve done together. I want to get more people writing in the magazine beyond me, and yet, I love to write. So, just balancing those things is a goal.

On what he would have tattooed upon his brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about him: Let’s replace hate with love.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at his home: Talking with Robin, my significant other, about what she did that day and what I did during the day, comparing notes, and trying to understand more about the world and the people that we work with.

On what keeps him up at night: I’m moving my office to a big boat, so finishing the damned boat so that I can actually get on with my consulting practice. (Laughs) I actually have my first client meeting on the boat today, so I’m terrified that nothing will go well. I’m not qualified to run the boat yet, it’s too big. I have a captain engaged and we’re taking the client out on a little boat ride, so we’ll see how it goes.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Ted Leonhardt, publisher, Nail magazine.

Samir Husni: Tell me why you chose the name Nail for the magazine?

Ted Leonhardt: Why the name Nail? Well, nails have a very sharp point. They are very powerful instruments. They put things together. They’re strong and have an aggressive nature just because of the way they’re used. And I felt like a short, very strong name that represented physical action was appropriate for a magazine that was representing creatives in a difficult world.

Samir Husni: With your background as a creative person yourself; how do you define the mission of Nail? The tagline reads “Being A Creative Person In Today’s World,” and as you and I know, most creative people think with their creative side rather than any practical side, which is something that you mention in your editorial. What does it mean to be a creative in today’s world?

Ted Leonhardt: I think it means all people who make their way in the world through their creative skills. So, you could be in the advertising and design industry, and there, people are actually referred to as creatives. It’s a professional category: writers, designers, art directors, creative directors and others, are defined in their roles as creatives. And that’s my background.

But actually, creatives are in every possible professional career, and in every other way one makes it through life, from musicians to poets to writers to even lawyers. I’ve had lawyers attend my creative sessions, so I’m not limiting it to any one particular category in my mind.

And in fact, the next issue has an article about the use of comic books in medical schools to train doctors into how their patients feel and react to their advice.

Samir Husni: What was that “Aha” moment for you, when you decided the world needed Nail and you were going to creatively bring it to life?

Ted Leonhardt: It was last fall. I was thinking about writing another book and I had a good team of people working for me already, helping me to promote my consulting practice, and I thought that a magazine would be a lot more fun. (Laughs) A magazine is visual and we could use those skills that we already had, and it can represent my point of view and points of view of lots of other people. And that way I could include others, whereas with a book, it would be typically just me. So, I thought a magazine would be a lot more fun to do than another book.

It is a way more complicated endeavor, and whether I can ever sell enough to pay for it is another question. But I was just drawn to the idea as a great thing to do. And of course, early on in my career I was an actual designer myself. I designed magazines for corporations that were clients of ours. And I also designed quite a number of annual reports for public companies.

Samir Husni: That leads me to my next question; you being a designer and a creative director, how easy was it for you to take a step back and have someone else design the magazine and you take the role of the publisher?

Ted Leonhardt: It was easy, because basically later in my career I didn’t do any design work myself, I just helped other people reach their conclusions. So, my job was really as a creative manager for 20 years, where I wasn’t designing anything myself.

Samir Husni: What has been the most pleasant surprise for you since starting this magazine journey? When the first issue was delivered to you, what was your reaction? Was it “How Do We Survive This Bully” as the cover story on the first issue asks? Or was it “How do We Survive This Magazine?” (Laughs)

Ted Leonhardt: (Laughs too) I was thrilled and I’m still thrilled. The concept for that article was mine, but the way Ross (Hogin – Creative Director) depicted it was totally his idea. And I think I said this in my editorial, the cover line originally had the word “asshole” in it, but we decided that was inappropriate .

I’m over the moon with it. When I first saw the printed copy, I felt like I had come back to my roots of producing print, and what a pleasure that was. And just holding it and feeling the weight of it was amazing. And Ross’s absolutely extravagant design; basically, it’s over the top. Some of my more linear friends tell me it’s actually unreadable. (Laughs) One of my mentors that I bounce ideas off of made a living, and actually became quite rich, in the direct marketing business, and he is very linear person. And he thinks I’m insane. (Laughs again)

Yet, the way creative people respond to it is totally different. When we were at an AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) event in Seattle, creative people were diving into it like it was a swimming pool or something. They literally immersed themselves in it and found things and discovered things, which is exactly what our intent was. It’s not for everybody. I sold a handful to an acquaintance of mine and he actually asked me for his money back, because it’s so aggressive. (Laughs) I told him all sales were final though.

Samir Husni: Once you came down from Cloud Nine, and you took a real, in depth look at the first issue, anything come to mind that triggered any critiques or changes that you might want to make?

Ted Leonhardt: No, I’m still over the moon about it. In fact, my biggest worry is what we can do for the cover of the second issue. (Laughs) How do we match the first cover? The concepts or the cover article is the “other.” Creatives throughout history have often been marginalized, burned at the stake; their work destroyed; scientific people, artistic people, thrown in jail, etc. And of course, there’s our current political climate. So, I want the cover article to be about the “other.” And how that affects creatives over time.

In fact, we’ve already done a timeline of historical events of work being destroyed by the bureaucratic powers-that-be over history, works that they didn’t like. And people killed and burned at the stake. So, how do we depict that? I’ll leave it up to Ross, but I’d like it to be pretty dramatic. The feelings about the “other.” The whole idea of how someone would feel if they were singled out as the other. Depicting that on the cover is sort of what I would like to do.

Samir Husni: You have years of experience; you’ve worked with the bigger companies and you’ve worked with the smaller companies; you’ve worked overseas and you’ve worked here. With all of your knowledge and experience; what do you think the future of creativity is in this day and age?

Ted Leonhardt: I think it’s extremely bright, because I think that the advance of the computer to do repetitive tasks is going to change the face of who’s in charge. And I think we’re going to find way more creativity celebrated within human activities than we have in the past, and less spreadsheets, headcounts and pennies that are profit for items sold, being the driver.

My guess is that the future will be owned by people who do think out of the box, if we can get past these horrible needs that society seems to have to reach back to the past and generate hate and fear, and those kinds of things, to be the driving forces in the world. But I’m extremely optimistic that our technological advances will allow creative people to play a more significant role in the world, rather than less. And that tasks that formerly put people in charge who were less creative will be falling away.

Samir Husni: But how would you put food on the table? You mention in your editorial that if enough people buy this magazine, you can do a second issue. So, can we survive on creativity alone, or will we still need some kind of a business model to help us survive?

Ted Leonhardt: My guess is that we will continue to evolve how our economy works. I’m not an expert in government or economics, but I suspect that some creatives will find more and more opportunity to sell their skills and work directly to others through this marvelous invention called the Internet, so that there will be a much larger cottage industry than ever, because of the ability to communicate with people all over the world. Maybe someone will design a coffee cup that only appeals to 1,000 people, but they’re all over the world.

So, I suspect that small entrepreneurial efforts will be vastly helped to move forward with the Internet. The whole app craze that made it possible for people to offer specific services to people all over the world is an example of that. My guess is we’re going to see more and more of that.

But yes, we will always need big corporations, because big corporations are very efficient at supplying us, hence the low cost of goods and services that we enjoy. Things that formerly only rich people could have. However, I just spent a weekend down in South Africa, where I went to an union conference, and there’s over 24 percent unemployment there. The divide between rich and poor is right in your face. You see rich people living in houses with barbed wire all around them and signs that read “Armed Response.” And then you have grown men begging in the streets very aggressively. It was pretty clear to me that I had lived a very sheltered life.

Samir Husni: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Ted Leonhardt: I’m just finding my way with this project. I’m having a great time. I’m loving looking at it. I’m thrilled with what we’ve done together. I want to get more people writing in the magazine beyond me, and yet, I love to write. So, just balancing those things is a goal.

I just did a seminar for a group pf women on dealing with male privilege when they’re negotiating. You know, I want to talk about that. This magazine has opened up a creative opportunity for me personally that I have never had before. So, I’m totally over the top with it.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Ted Leonhardt: Let’s replace hate with love.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing? Having a glass of wine; reading a magazine; cooking; on your iPad; watching TV; or something else?

Ted Leonhardt: Talking with Robin, my significant other, about what she did that day and what I did during the day, comparing notes, and trying to understand more about the world and the people that we work with.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Ted Leonhardt: I’m moving my office to a big boat, so finishing the damned boat so that I can actually get on with my consulting practice. (Laughs) I actually have my first client meeting on the boat today, so I’m terrified that nothing will go well. I’m not qualified to run the boat yet, it’s too big. I have a captain engaged and we’re taking the client out on a little boat ride, so we’ll see how it goes.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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2 comments

  1. i have a great idea for a new magazine, who can I share this with to help me get it off the ground.



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