March'11 New York Times
Oct'09 Teen Vogue Book
Spring 2008 +81
May'07 Elle Magazine
March 16, 2007 WWD
March'07 The Daily
September'06 Teen Vogue
March'06 Anthem Magazine
November'05 Vice Magazine
Le Figaro Magazine
Claudia Wu is a New York based graphic designer
and art director. She got her start doing art direction and design at
Visionaire and V Magazine followed by stints at Harpers Bazaar and Prada
Beauty. I spoke with her about her latest project Me Magazine. What makes
ME special is that each issue is devoted to getting to know an individual
in a creative field through their own eyes as well as their relationships
with their chosen friends and colleagues. Ultimately, we hopefully glean
a unique perspective on a life in progress, and are able to celebrate
the bonds and interpersonal relationships that enrich and enhance our
What is ME magizine? Who's idea was it?
Me Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on getting to know
one person each issue. The idea came about because you always tend
to run into the same people in New York, and I was interested in
getting to know them on a more personal level. I also think that
there are people that wouldn't ordinarily get press who deserve
recognition for what they do.
So how did you go about
choosing the first guest editors: painter Joshua Abelow, fashion designer
Miho Aoki of United Bamboo and Christopher Bollen of V Magazine?
I originally asked two people to be the first guest editor; Josh was the
only one who responded! I was quite surprised that he said yes, actually.
I went to school at RISD with him, but we didn't know each other well
and he had never seen my work! But I love that he was so easily talked
into doing it. He had complete trust. Miho we chose because we needed
a girl. My friend Michael Bullock suggested her, and she was fantastic.
I have a lot of respect for her after getting to know her. Chris
I worked with at V Magazine and he was someone I had always wanted to
do since the beginning, but he's also very shy, so it's taken a while
to talk him into it. He's such a great writer, though. He's going to be
the new Editor-in-Chief of V Magazine and he's writing his first novel.
So you worked at Visionaire?
Can you tell us about your background in brief? What inspiration (if any)
did you take away from that experience or others? How does your magazine
fit into the greater world of NY independent publications?
I was associate art director at V Magazine for two years, as well as being
a part of the Visionaire design team. Looking back, it was a great experience,
but I was so burnt-out by the time I left. I didn't take a single vacation
the entire time I was there, so I was dying for time apart. I don't regret
leaving. After that, I freelanced at Harper's Bazaar, was Art Director
at Prada Beauty, I just finished freelancing as an art director for the
spring and summer Gap campaigns, and I've been the design director for
Index for over a year now. I think I've been really lucky in terms of
jobs, and I credit working at Visionaire and V. It's very nice to have
them on my resume. Ultimately, it's the work that speaks to people, but
at least it's a foot in the door. Also, since V was such a small group,
I really got to see the inner workings of a magazine. I learned a lot
of lessons and practical things that I was able to use when I wanted to
start my own magazine. I think the magazine stands out a bit in terms
of the greater realm of NY independent magazines, purely because it is
so concept driven. It's really about people, not objects, fashion, or
images. I know newsstands are constantly flooded with new publications,
but hopefully, this magazine has a unique voice that will resonate with
people. I can understand why magazines come and go so quickly after doing
my own magazine, though. You really need to love the process and be completely
committed to it.
Can you talk a little about
the design of the magazine? Specific influences?
Well, the magazine is a mini-format, which I had seen in Europe for a
long time, but it wasn't until Teen Vogue came out that I became really
enthusiastic about the size because it just fit the audience and that
magazine is done so well. I think it's very commuter-friendly. I love
the large-format of V, but you can't exactly fit it into your handbag.
We print on uncoated stock, which I have always loved, but never had a
chance to use. It feels really good to the touch and feels more like book
or novel paper which refers to the story-telling, biographical aspect
of the magazine.
In terms of fonts, each guest editor has their own font. I just thought
it was appropriate to try to suit the font to the person. There were some
concerns raised about the magazine not having a consistent logo issue
to issue, but I think it helps strengthen the concept that each issue
is about a different "personality."
in the end how do the guest editors feel about their lives being examined
in public by their friends? It seems like there is potential for embarrassment.
I think it depends on the person. Secretly, I think that most people love
the idea of having a magazine all about themselves. They also have a choice
of how deeply they want to delve into their personal lives in the editing
and the questions we ask their friends. I have been turned down by someone
who I really wanted to do, though. I completely respect that - I'm not
sure if I would want to be a guest editor, either.
is the ME magazine team?
It's a very small group. I pretty much do most of it, because it's hard
for other people to devote a lot time to the project when they have to
go out and make a living somehow. It's great that there are people that
want to be involved, though. I think that it's important to have that
kind of support in any project you do.
where can get a copy of ME magazine?
The second issue is out right now at the United Bamboo store in Tokyo.
It's in Colette in Paris, Athaneum in Amsterdam, and in finer bookstores
and museum bookstores in major U.S. cities. We have a distributor for
North America, but not internationally. It's a slow process, self-distributing,
and no one has the time to do it! You can also get it on our website:
126 Winding Ridge Road,
White Plains, NY 10603
Text: Jonathan Turner