A Few Dumb Questions For Eric Almendral

1554248196_m.jpgEric Almendral, former art director at Filter, has been plucked to be the art director for Metromix’s print edition. What does this mean? We have no idea. So we thought we’d ask.

In return for us mentioning that the tireless (and talented) Christopher Saltzman will be replacing Eric at Filter, Mr. Almendral agreed to answer our dumb questions.

1. How is this gig different than your post at Filter? This is the first time since the demise of New Times LA that I’ll be focusing primarily on a single publication. Filter publishes 5 full magazines a year, then another 5 of the free Good Music Guide mini magazines, and in between those I was usually working on marketing projects for record labels, movies, TV and various promotional events.

In some ways that was great — I’d shift from editorial layouts to die cut South Park air fresheners to a custom zine for the American Rag clothing label. At the same time, the pace was breakneck and nonstop; there was hardly time to stop, breathe deep and organize thoughts.

Filter has such a small staff that I had much more influence over non-design issues and decisions than an art director would elsewhere. I’m trading that in for the impressive resources of the LAT. Already, I feel a little like a country bumpkin in the big city: “There’s a whole department here to color correct photos? Gawsh!” Sure, I’m going to miss being able to do full-bleed colors on beautiful glossy paper and heavy mate cover stock. But I’m also looking forward to the structure and discipline of a weekly. I’m getting too old to handle successive 20-hour days and all night deadlines with the dedicated Filter team, much as I love them.

2. This publication is geared toward “young professionals.” Can we expect the design to be anime-meets-pottery-barn-catalogue? Anime-meets-Pottery-Barn-Catalogue? We’re aiming higher than that. Anime-meets-DWR. Or at least West Elm.

I could throw out a bunch of adjectives (“dynamic,” “lively”), but it would all sound like business doublespeak. I don’t officially start until later this week, and am looking forward to a lot of discussions with editor Deb Vankin and creative director Annastasia Stafford about the overall look and feel. As far as specifics, I have some ideas but can’t share until I try
them out, play around with them, and run them by my new co-workers.

In general, though, I think we’d like to take a magazine-like approach and apply that to a newsprint tabloid. I don’t think it will look like anything else coming out of the Times building — not because there’s anything wrong with that, but because we’re tasked with a different mission and hope to snag a different demo.