Saturday 27 September 2014
Meeting Janet Froelich

Sometimes a good question is more important than a good answer. While everybody can have an answer, questions make you pause and reflect. Janet Froelich’s questions make us doubt and they make us think. They make us smarter and more creative. Her thoughtful, »Could it be…? « tends to trigger a chain of thought that in turn leads to new and interesting queries.

Janet Froelich is one of few American women we’ve met to without hesitation call herself a feminist. »It’s not something I think a whole lot about, it’s part of who I am and how I see the world.« In fact, she began her successful career at a feminist publication, Heresies, when she – after 10 years as an abstract painter – swapped solitary hours in the studio for all-nighters and collective discussions about photos and headlines. At the time, in the 1970s, art direction was not a high status profession. She says they called it commercial art and in the world of fine arts, from which she came, that was perhaps the least well-regarded thing there was. »I mean it’s not like it’s art«, Janet might say of her work.

We meet for the first time in 2009, at a fancy hotel on Union Square where we are supposed to have breakfast together. The music is loud and our waiter tells us it is impossible to lower it, right before he pours coffee into a cup full of tea. Janet is polite but strict when she draws his attention to his mistake and asks for a new cup. In one fell swoop she demonstrates her abilities as a leader in her way of deftly taking charge of the situation. We’re impressed. To us, Janet Froelich is the epitome of a professional woman in New York. Elegant, cool, friendly and appropriate.

Ever since she was a girl, Janet Froelich has had a powerful drive, a competitive spirit and a will to always do better. She says she doesn’t know where it comes from, but over the course of our conversation she draws parallels between athletics and the professional world and says that everybody should be involved in sports at some point in their life. That is where you hone your competitive instinct, set clear goals and learn to lose. The latter is something she thinks women are often less good at. In part due to the fact that it was more common for boys than girls to grow up with sports, at least in her generation.

Over that breakfast, she tells of a fresh start in her career. She is beginning a new job that week; after 22 years as art director and creative director at The New York Times Magazine and T Style, she is moving to Real Simple, a lifestyle publication for working women. She is full of anticipation and yet again, we are impressed.

Janet Froelich was born in Brooklyn and raised in the suburbs of New York. She studied fine art at Cooper Union and later pursued a M.F.A. at Yale. It wasn’t until she came into contact with and worked for Heresies that she found her calling in graphic design. With bare-bones qualifications she got a job at the Daily News Magazine, which in time lead her to the position of art director at The New York Times Magazine, and later The New York Times Style Magazine .

The New York Times magazines have won countless prizes under her leadership. Her style is visually strong and extremely catchy, but always intelligent and elegant. Janet tells us that the big difference between The Times magazines and Real Simple is that while the first is a supplement in a newspaper, the latter is sold on the newsstand, which has presented a big challenge. It seems paradoxical to us that The Times Magazine would be a publication not intended for the newsstand, since we feel we would be drawn like magnets to each and every cover if we saw it on the shelf. The endless variations on the T in T Magazine, by various creators is genius and brings out the collectors in us.

Our meeting with Janet Froelich planted a seed. Once back in Sweden we don’t quite know what to do with our project, but Janet’s interest and questions have made us confident that this is important. We are egged on by her urging that something concrete must come of our informal meetings with nine of the world’s foremost (female) designers in New York.

Another idea that takes root is Janet’s thoughts on women and athletics. When we get home we start working our bodies, spending more time at soccer fields, boxing rings and gyms. It turns out to be surprisingly easy to compete with men in the only realm in which there are biological differences in the basic conditions for success. When we take on the men at local gyms doing push-ups, we feel that competing on equal ground in design should be easy.

– Samira Bouabana, Angela Tillman Sperandio, 2013

Preface: Hall of Femmes: Janet Froelich, 2013
Editor: Sarah Clyne Sundberg

Buy the book here.
Buy the poster here.

Posted by: 06:33

Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Janet Froelich, Preface, Sarah Clyne Sundberg

Saturday 13 April 2013
Guest blogger: Vejde Gustafsson

Vejde Gustafsson

Vejde Gustafsson is an art director, graphic designer and illustrator at design studio EBDC in Stockholm. He co-founded the now folded Swedish interview magazine Sex in 2002 together with Editor in Chief Ika Johannesson, and has since art directed magazines like Arena and 365. Among his favorite magazines are 032c, Carl's Cars, Butt, Foam and New York Magazine. He never reads books, only looks at pictures and currently has 3 494 followers on Pinterest.

Is Editorial Content the Future of Advertising?

While journalists, publishers and media companies are discussing the death of the magazine, the world’s big corporations seem to hold a different opinion, at least if you’re looking at magazines as carriers of »content«. Content marketing seems to be the new cure-all for branding in a world increasingly suspicious of regular advertising and the onslaught of web banners.

The idea behind content marketing is to provide some interesting information or entertainment – the content – that isn’t directly a sales pitch. What it aims to give you is a better (as in better for the company) understanding of a brand. One of the longest running examples of successful content marketing is the Michelin Guide, a travel book offering information on where to stop for food, to rest or to repair your car. It doesn’t necessarily tell you to buy their tires, but it shows you Michelin is a good companion on the road. Coca Cola has for example replaced their regular corporate website with an »interactive digital magazine« and other big brands like Red Bull and American Express are also developing content driven websites and open forums for sharing information and creating community.

cover-Alpine Review

In the first issue of Canadian magazine The Alpine Review, writer and editor Kati Krause describes how magazines like Monocle and Wired now host conferences and sell products, and are viewed as not only reporting the future but also creating it. They have successfully established communities, and subsequently brands, around their print publications.

Community is one of the basic appeals of the magazine. In the podcast interview with Janet Froelich here on the Hall of Femmes website, she talks about her background in fine arts, and how it often left her feeling lonely. When she started working with a group of women around the feminist publication Heresies, she discovered how much she enjoyed the meetings and the collaboration.


A magazine is a collective effort based on a form of collage, it is an ongoing and complex discussion with a multitude of voices expressed through text, photography, illustration and the relationship between them all. A magazine is a storehouse for ideas and thoughts that can catch the spirit of a group or time. Magazines, when successful, become something you want to identify with, a world you might want to inhabit, or even a friend. This is where the idea of the customer magazine comes in, because that kind of loyal following, that kind of devotion, is something big corporations are dying to get.

On the website for trade organization Swedish Content Agencies, there’s a study that claims, »No other marketing channel is as measurably effective at simultaneously building brands, driving sales and generating loyalty«, and »Customer magazines increase brand loyalty by 32%. The study shows that customer magazines build both brands and sales simultaneously«.

One of the members of Swedish Content Agencies is Spoon Publishing. On their webpage you can find a statement under the headline »Så tänker vi« (»What We Think«). It’s a text that’s almost a manifesto. They state that they believe in marketing departments that see themselves more as publishers and less as ad buyers, who »want to be the content, not the irritating interruption«. They also claim that the future belongs to brands that manage to communicate in ways that people actually want to listen to.

Editorial content, whether digitally published or printed, seems to be part of a bright future – or on the brink of destruction and threatened by commercialism, depending on who you ask. But the magazine as a tool for sharing and receiving information seems to be a natural form of communication in our societies.

In the end, the oldest rule in magazines still applies: It doesn’t matter how well you design or package it; without an original voice, something worthwhile to say or an interesting editorial point of view, your readers will leave you.

Vejde Gustafsson is an art director and graphic designer at studio EBDC. Follow Vejde on Pinterest

Posted by: 10:01


Categories: Guest blogger, Janet Froelich

Wednesday 23 November 2011

New York Magazine, 2011

För ungefär ett år sen skrev vi om Beyonces gamla morsa, dvs om äldre kvinnors alltmer framträdande plats i populärkulturen.
I oktobernumret av New York Magazine handlar det också om gamla mammor. Här talar man om hur medelåldern för barnafödande ökat över hela västvärlden. I Tyskland, Italien och Storbritannien ligger snittåldern för en förstföderska på 30, i USA 25 – en höjning med 4 år sedan 1970. I New York ligger den på 27 år och i Stockholm 31 år. Men antalet mammor i medelåldern har också ökat lavinartat. År 2008 föddes 8000 barn i USA av mammor över 45, en ökning på över 300% sen 1997, av de barnen var 541 födda av mammor över 50 år. Både förändrade attityder och ny teknik ligger bakom de ökade siffrorna.
I vår kommande bok om Janet Froelich tar vi upp argumentet ”kvinnor kan inte ha karriärer eftersom de föder barn.” En förenklad förklaringsmodell vi aldrig trott på, kanske för att vi själva kommer från Sverige där det finns stora möjligheter att kombinera jobb- och familjeliv. Janet berättar att de flesta av hennes vänner har fått barn efter 40 och att det inte påverkat deras yrkesliv, de har haft en karriär i full gång som de absolut inte velat överge. Kanske är det så att kvinnors karriärer peakar senare och att det då finns mer att komma tillbaka till som nybliven mamma?
New Yorks Magazines omslag är naturligtvis en parafras på det berömda Demi Moore-omslaget från 1991, fotograferat av Annie Leibovitz, själv förstagångsförälder vid 51.
Vanity Fair, 1991

Posted by: 10:33

Categories: Annie Leibovitz, Janet Froelich

Wednesday 23 November 2011
Bevis på indoktrinering är:

1. Man ropar ”HALLÅ!” till sitt barn, barnet svarar: ”HALLOFFEMMES!”.

2. ”Min mamma gör design med gamla tanter”. Svar på frågan vad hans föräldrar jobbar med. Denna pojke tror även att grafisk formgivare = en gammal tant. Hold on to that thought, boy.
3.”Den här t-shirten har jag fått av Ruth Ansel, och där borta har vi en affisch av Lillian Bassman.”, världsvana kommentarer vid rundvisning av hemmet.

Vad ska det bli av dom här 00-talisterna? Det lovar gott.

Posted by: 10:24

Categories: Janet Froelich, Lillian Bassman

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Äntligen har Kathy Ryans bok om arbetet som fotoredaktör på The New York Times Magazine kommit. Köp den här.

Posted by: 07:41

Categories: Fotografi, Janet Froelich, Kathy Ryan, The New York Times Magazine

Wednesday 12 October 2011
Borlänge–New York

Ganska ofta i vårt projekt stöter vi på oväntad sidoinformation. Igår var det denna: Steven Heller som skrivit förordet till Hall of Femmes: Janet Froelich har bott i Borlänge och fick sitt politiska uppvaknande där. Vi försöker föreställa oss hur det blivit om han stannat kvar. Ad på Dalademokraten istället för The New York Times Magazine? Medlem i Familjen istället för AGI? Skönt att han åkte tillbaka, för annars hade han inte kunnat skriva vårt förord och vi tycker att det blev bra.

Posted by: 09:24

Categories: Janet Froelich

Monday 19 September 2011
Låt oss presentera: Ika Johannesson

Vad gör du när du inte jobbar med Hall of Femmes?
Då är jag redaktör för Kobra på SVT och kommer precis i dagarna ut med Blod Eld Död – en svensk metalhistoria, en reportagebok om svensk death och black metal som jag skrivit tillsammans med Jon Jefferson Klingberg.
Detta blir din tredje Hall of Femmes-bok. Vad tycker du har varit intressant och svårt med att jobba med böckerna?
Att få möta kvinnorna och höra deras historier har varit det allra bästa. Från början gick jag med i projektet för att det var ett roligt sätt att få jobba med Angela och Samira, som jag kände sedan tidigare, men det växte snabbt till något som givit mig väldigt mycket. Att få träffa Lillian Bassman och höra henne berätta om sitt liv var till exempel ett av de mest inspirerande möten jag varit med om.
Nästa bok du ska jobba med är Janet Froelich, vad har du för förhållande till hennes arbeten?
Egentligen inte mer än att jag alltid tyckt att New York Times Magazine varit otroligt snygg. Jag älskar det gotiska T:et som funkar som logga för tidningen och omslagen är så genialiskt enkla.
Gamla hårdrockare och art directors, ser du några likheter mellan de båda grupperna?
Både AD-tanter och black metal-musiker har starka visioner som de stenhårt tror på och får jobba i extrem motvind för att genomföra.

Om Janet vore en hårdrockslåt, vilken skulle det vara?
Just Janet är ju rätt lågmäld i förhållande till vilken position hon faktiskt innehar i designvärlden, så det är svårt att dra till med något extremt. Det får bli en av mina favoritlåtar – Tyrant med Judas Priest. Texten beskriver hennes raka motsats, men 70-talsgunget passar henne perfekt.
Vilket är ditt bästa intervjutips?
Att följa upp varje fråga med “Varför?”, “Hur menar du då?” och “Berätta mer!” – och sedan hålla tyst tills det blir obekväm stämning.
Ika Johannesson är redaktör för vår kommande bok Hall of Femmes: Janet Froelich.

Posted by: 07:17

Categories: Hall of Femmes intervjuar, Ika Johannesson, Janet Froelich, Redaktörer

Tuesday 16 August 2011
Radiointervju med Janet Froelich

Vi har precis börjat arbeta med fyra nya Hall of Femmes böcker. En av dem är Janet Froelich, som man kan höra här i en intervju från 2007 i Debbie Millman radioshow Design Matters.

Posted by: 08:55

Categories: Janet Froelich

Tuesday 5 July 2011
Releasefest på Art Directors Club

Tack för en underbar kväll alla ni som kom. Tack alla ni som hjälpt oss!
With great admiration, we’d like to express our thanks to:
Ruth Ansel, Lillian Bassman, Carin Goldberg and Paula Scher.
Thank you for making this evening possible:
Art Directors Club, Consulate General of Sweden, Göteborgstryckeriet, Antalis, Zetatrade, Konstnärsnämnden.
A special thanks goes out to:
Vince Aletti, Maina Arvas, Nina Beckmann, Eva Green, Lizzie Himmel, Ika Johannesson, Stephen Lipuma, Oyster Press, Jack Richold, Elena Tillman Sperandio, Paulina Westerlind, Anders Wester.

Posted by: 04:40 1 comment

Categories: Carin Goldberg, Janet Froelich, Lillian Bassman, Nöjen, Paula Scher, Ruth Ansel, Stefania Malmsten, Vince Aletti

Friday 24 June 2011
Glad midsommar

Intervju med oss i Grafik idag.

Posted by: 13:45

Categories: Carin Goldberg, Janet Froelich, Mary Shanahan, Paula Scher, Press, Ruth Ansel, Tomoko Miho