Loving Winter in New England: Creating a Special Jan/Feb Cover
I’ve always found the production cycle of a magazine to be fairly odd. My last blog entry on YankeeMagazine.com was to be entitled, “Christmas in July,” but I got sidetracked and failed to complete it among all the other tasks on my trusty to-do list. So I figure I’ll offer a few thoughts about it here, now that we’re putting Christmas on the shelf for the next 360 days. I think it’s funny that I begin my holiday season on July 1, or thereabouts. You see, we begin work on our November/December issue while the rest of New England is busy perfecting their tan and combing the beach. Talk about getting a jump on the season! I’m jingling bells and basting turkeys by day and dining on fresh lobster in Perkins Cove by night. No wonder I have trouble keeping my dates right and my deadlines tight. It’s all topsy-turvy to me. Fortunately, it helps to get me in the spirit and to get ahead on my Christmas list — even if the big day is still over 5 months away.
Nevertheless, fast forward to September and we are now in January. Huh? What I mean is that on September 1, we begin production on our winter issue, our January/February issue. And this year, for 2012, we decided to shake things up. Mel Allen, our editor, and the team here at Yankee chose to do a special section called Loving Winter: 43 Reasons to Love the Season. It’s an amazing 30-some pages of pure editorial fun, packed with humor, memoirs, recipes and more. Everything you need to know about making the most of winter is contained here, with enough reasons to embrace the season that you’ll be hard-pressed to hibernate this year.
When starting to think about the design of this section we needed an idea that could work well on the cover and also tie into this special package. I decided to call on Erick Ingraham who might as well be an honorary staff member. He’s an illustrator and artist who lives here in Peterborough and probably knows more about Yankee than I do. Erick has been creating pieces for Yankee for many years, having worked with our previous Art Directors, most notably, Jay Porter. I’ve always loved working with Erick and felt that his energy and style were perfect for collaborating on this cover. When he decided to come on board, I knew we’d end up with something special.
The walls of Yankee are filled with wonderful memories, past covers, and unique works of art. For the past 4 years, I’ve passed by the same poster hanging on one of the walls of our second floor. It’s an enlargement of an old Yankee cover from 1987 — a scene in winter with a beautiful, soft illustration of a group of children ice skating on a pond. I pass it multiple times per day and every time I smile. A light bulb went off, and I thought, Here’s a chance to give a nod to Yankee’s past and create a contemporary winter scene of children at play, inspired by this piece of art that I love so much. And who better to illustrate it than Erick? I then started to think of what I loved about winter. There are many things, but one of my fondest memories of winter as a child was the anticipation of a snow day. I thought this worked on many levels — an idea that could transcend generations. Everyone remembers the excitement of a snow day. I mean, who doesn’t recall throwing themselves down in fresh powder and creating the perfect snow angel? And who didn’t enjoy the challenge of a good old-fashioned snowball fight? What better way to spend the day than sledding on your favorite hill with your best friend? And once all the fun was done and you were soaked through, who didn’t run inside to find mom waiting with a warm cup of cocoa and mini-marshmallows to boot? Our cover would display children at play in the snow and embody the spirit of pure joy. I wanted our readers to smile the same way that old cover made me smile.
There’s a lot to be said for winter in New England. Some good, some bad. I like to believe the good outweighs the bad, and my hope for you is that you embrace this winter season and find special ways to create memories of your own. I know I will. Pick up a copy of our issue and discover some of the ways our editors have found to love it too.