Janine Vangool: Fit to Print

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Janine Vangool in her office (1)

If you’re creative and curious, UPPERCASE seeks to satisfy your appetite with content inspired by design, typography, illustration and craft. UPPERCASE magazine and books celebrate the process of making, the commitment to craft and the art of living creatively. The brains and the muscle behind the brand is Janine Vangool, who will present at HOW Design Live in Chicago on May 7th.

Vangool established her design business fresh out of art college. Working with freelance clients offered her an unexpected education in marketing, time management and business development. After 12 years of freelancing in the arts, culture and publishing sectors, she “retired” from client work to reignite her creativity by launching UPPERCASE, a quarterly print magazine. Six years later, UPPERCASE magazine is still going strong, and the company is also publishing books that profile up-and-coming artists or explore emerging trends in design and creativity. Vangool’s own curiosity about typewriters led her to publish a book about them titled The Typewriter: A Graphic History of the Beloved Machine.

Vangool believes that there’s value to publishing paper products in a digital age, and with 4,000 magazine subscribers and counting, her readers clearly agree. “The physical format of UPPERCASE magazine is part of its appeal—it is something that you hold, carry, collect and keep,” she says. “I always strive to make each issue an object that is well-crafted and has attention to detail in its paper stock, special print processes or formats … these are the things that make print so special.”

worklife series

In her upcoming HOW Design Live session, “What I learned from design clients led to my “retirement’” … and launched a whole new career,” she’ll trace her professional path and share what she’s learned from client work, the highs and lows of creative entrepreneurship, and the secrets to how she manages to produce a quarterly magazine as a solo entrepreneur.

Because she wears all the hats—publisher, editor and designer—people often ask Vangool how she does it all. “The answer is simple and difficult at the same time. I just do,” she says. “Each magazine issue, each book, has its own set of steps. If I just do one thing, then the next, and the next … just keep going, it will get done. Some of the steps are easy and joyful (design, editing, creating), other steps are long, arduous, stressful and not much fun at all (logistics, bills, shipping). But even when the steps seem painfully impossible, I know that if I just push my way through, things will get done. And so even getting one step done in the long process becomes a reward in itself.”

More images from UPPERCASE:

The Typewriter - book cover
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To learn more about how Vangool does it all while staying motivated and inspired, register to attend her session at HOW Design Live in Chicago, May 4-8.


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If you’re a professional designer, you know what it’s like to lose creative battles. Design and marketing have changed from a purely idea-centric field, to one that has to provide creative business solutions. Marketers now hold agencies and designers accountable for their creative ideas, and as a result, success is measured in conversions and marketing ROI. The creative who understands the business of design is king (or queen). In this course, you’ll learn how to integrate business considerations into your creative strategies. Learn how you can play a role in the conversations that usually happen before and after a brief is dropped on your desk. If you know how to participate in that dialogue, your work will be more closely aligned with the needs of the client and their business. Learn more and register.