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Draplin Design Co., North America

The Factory Floor is currently experiencing a wave of “publication fever.” The power of print has us in its grips, consuming us by day and into the night. This has been the trend over the summer and will continue into the winter months.

Welcome to an experimental supplement to the normal Draplindustries Gazette. Each month the contributions come in from the nooks-n-crannies of the Factory Floor, are organized, tuned and compiled into the monthly offering for family, friend and foe consumption. We often wonder if the sporadic nature of the gazette’s narrative (or lack of) has an effect on the reading enjoyment of you the reader. Do people manage to make sense of the words and phrases? Customer service has always been a concern on the Factory Floor and we are testifying here to insure that we care about these words, and more importantly, the ease of the cognitive processes behind comprehending this garbage.

What we’ve done is organized the monthly submission into a weekly, 7 category offering:

  1. California: The Editorial Rant // Thoughts from Perfect-ville.
  2. Girl Talk: The Girlfriend update.
  3. Product review.
  4. Feature story.
  5. Job Update.
  6. Music reviews.
  7. Coming events.

Being weekly, that means once a week, we have fears that the availability of content to fill these fine columns will be scarce, or scant at best. But then again, this is Southern California and it only takes one freeway ride or cold glance to inspire the evil angels of our nature. Content won’t be a problem.

So welcome to the weekly Draplindustries Gazette.

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1. Drive me crazy:

California! Land of the free? Home of the American dream? I ask myself this question daily…in fact, every couple of minutes or so. And I guess technically, the answer is “yes.” But I grumble that with a little bit of hesitation. The actual getting around in all of this freedom is a phenomena all its own. It only takes one hap-hazard lane change or screeching series of brake lights to get my wires tangled. I can’t help but wonder what all of these people are thinking in their day-to-day routines. “I’m late.” or “Only 5 years until retirement.” or “I wonder if she likes me.” Ideas in their heads as they whiz to and fro all over this concrete hell. All of these people, living their little lives, coming and going, on the way to work or bee-lining back from it; an army of solitary soldiers on a winding river of concrete.

So with this many people and cars…and much more traffic and lagging, why is it that everyone seems to be driving by themselves? Convenience? Autonomous pride? Maybe I never really thought about it until I got here. Mercedes after Mercedes, Beamer after Beamer, sun-glassed pilots white knucklin’ up and down the coast. Vans full of children, trucks full of Mexicans and the occasional creepy motherfucker snailing along in a beat-down rotted Pinto…complete with pock marks, yellow teeth and greasy hair haulin’ ass through the Lagunas. Who are these people? Where do they live and where did they come from? Will they die here? Is this only transitory in their little lives?

Only 5 miles to go. And fuck, the radio is broke in the rig.

2. Girl Talk: The Girlfriend Update

Melissa’s job is sort of sketchy. Turns out the ‘ol gossip mongers have clued her in on some sad news. The company is in dire condition…everyone’s job is on the line. To stay afloat the company needs to be acquired by a larger company to bail out the list of problems accrued over the last couple years. The sad reality is that no one is biting the hook. A couple companies showed a hint of promise but pulled out at the last minute. So there is this hush among the ranks…no one will come out and admit the ugly facts…only hearsay. Melissa, being low on the totem pole, mans the phone, which gets her in on all the good dirt. This news makes me very uneasy. She has to be employed. Her bills add up each month quickly, terribly, painfully and she has to keep up her end of the bargain. I’m nervous. She is aloof, welcoming the end of the drama.

3. Product review:

  • Sony MD-333.
  • $425.00 US
  • Good Guys Electronics, Aliso Viejo

My job has many interesting verbal attributes. Our office environment boasts a perverse collection of colorful conversations, cutthroat debates and a perversely chatty ad saleswoman by the name of Karyn Canter. Man, she can make a racket. Her office is a good spit from my corner, her door is constantly open…her sound waves permeate, profligate and masticate every click of my mouse. The battle is set. I tried to be diplomatic and gently ask her to close her door. That worked a couple of times. Funny how a voice can effect yer world. A solution: Music. I needed some tunes, so I went out and laid down a healthy amount of scratch for the Sony MD-333 stereo mini system. Sleek, discreet and packing one hell of a punch, I am 100% satisfied with its on the job. The remote held at arm’s length changes the tunes, lowers the volumes to skips for that perfect track with ease. The speaker’s output is surprisingly crisp, considering their small size. Sony packed in a Mini disc player too, once I get the time, I’ll figure that out and update the masses of its wonders to the recording media world.

4. The Feature:

Branding woes.

The mag needs a new identity. A new logo. We already have a new “identity” whether we like it or not, based on our new team and new directions and damn straight, it’s a good thing. People judge books by their covers…and I’m sure that the same thing goes for magazines. Our masthead is tired and drained. The playing off “the late ’70s skateboarder kitsch” is dead. We are a new team with new ideas, new designs, a better approach to the photo selection process and the time has come to label the whole monster differently.

This week has given me a chance to explore new ideas for our main logo. And it has been tough. 11 characters comprise the word “snowboarder.” That is a lot of word for 8 inches of horizontal space. As I push different typographic solutions, I find myself painfully envious of short titled books like “powder,” “stance,” “life,” “GQ,” etc. The monosyllabic words roll off the tongue and allow for efficient uses of the cover’s precious real estate. With those beneficial attributes trimmed from our process my problem becomes clearly and frustratingly defined:

11 characters—needs to have a distinct presence on the newsstand, needs to react against competitor logos, needs to work well on blue sky or cloudy photographs and of course, the “easy” part: has to look completely different than everything else in the whole fucking world. This element is the most daunting. So many publications…so many designs…overlapping someone else’s type style freaks me out. As I clean something up and present it to the group no matter what style or formation some attribute of the design rings a bell with one of the team, in a negative connotation.

“Aw man, it looks like a snickers bar.”

“Fuck dude, kind of looks like “Snowboard Canada.” (Or some obscure snow magazine somewhere far way that the average kid will NEVER see.)

“I don’t know, kind of reminds me of…(insert subjective garbage).”

Here’s the deal. We need the process to be democratic, so we choose something as a team and back it up, ready to stand behind it as our new identity. Everyone agrees we need to change, but everyone is scared. It has been a tough go. Things are lookin’ up though. A couple of fonts have excited the clan. Refinements are in the works.

5. Job update:

With a flick of the wrist we finished up the 5th issue of the season: The Todd Richards Guest Editor issue. Sending off that final file officially slayed yet another monster. It feels great to be well over halfway done with the editorial season. This next issue is going to be amazing! Issue 6, the 2001 Photo Annual. We put our heads together and devised a plan: No editorial content. The only language would be photo credits to pay homage the rider, the photographer and the location of the stunt. There would be one page of photographer bios and a staff colophon (due to corporate rules, by law we have to list the team from the interns up to the CEO.) Imagine that, 100 pages of photos. No long-winded stories or reader letters, no trick tips or product reviews…just photos and lots, I mean LOTS of white space. Wer’e looking at the issue as a project…a new kind of issue…an art book like you’d find in a museum. Simple lines, color bleeds, pacing, pauses….the only narrative being the rhythm of the action at hand. Now, this is exciting for many reasons. One, it is gonna be a chance to show off the finest photographs of the season. Jeff Baker’s shining glory. He has been stockpiling the most amazing shots from last season over the summer. Two, the lack of content means a simple set of objectives: pick the photos, scan the photos, color-correct, lay the photos out, fill in the captions and send it off. Simple formula with amazing results. We perused the pile of slides today, debating the selections. Four categories will separates the photos: Natural, man-made, scenic and lifestyle. Simple enough. And it’s going to be beautiful.

6. “Ryan Adams - Heartbeaker.” The former Whiskeytown frontman’s first solo effort comes from out of nowhere and has been a welcomed apparition in the player. Written in between Whiskeytown gigs and their failing recording sessions, Adams surprises a leery roots rock crowd with this beautiful offering. Moments of “Exile…” era Stones meeting hushed Nick Drake murmurs shine. The collection sad, naive and youthful lyrics have generated many reactions from songwriter fans. Does he rank with other y’alternative heavyweights like Farrar and Buckner? I’d think so. A hands down great album… very refreshing. It feels like a rainy Carolina day…green, lush and wet with gray skies.

7. Next time around:

10 hungry Snowboarder Magazine employees, 2 mini vans and a small dream to snowboard the Opening Day in Wolf Creek, Colorado.

J Mascis + The Fog, playbook review and pre game analysis.

San Diego: Our new home?