CAN Journal’s Print Quarterly Re-Designed

CAN Journal, Fall 2022. Image: Cinderella Sleeping It Off, by John W. Carlson

With the Fall 2022 issue of CAN Journal, Northeast Ohio’s magazine of the visual arts debuts a new design, created by JoAnn Dickey.  Readers may wonder why we would tinker at all with design that has won recognition from AIGA. And they will immediately notice several features, beginning with a new treatment of the logo on our cover. That, specifically, gives more prominence to the art itself. But nothing about the new design is cosmetic; each of the changes is informed by stakeholders and constituents who gave us feedback during our strategic planning process of the last two years. We’d like to give a tour.

Among the things stakeholders told us most consistently was that they were confused by the different types of content that make up CAN Journal.  Several of the new design elements will help to make the nature of those stories clear, and these are the most important improvements.

Table of Contents

First among those is a re-designed table of contents that represents our regular departments with individual icons, and separately, each of our feature stories. Departments include the reference material that comprises about half of the magazine: The stories from member organizations, a directory of organizations that are part of the network, our event listings, and listings of the donors who make the project possible. Separately, our new table of contents lists each feature story with an identifying image. 

Feature stories to the front, beginning with the announcement of CAN Triennial 2022 Exhibition Prize winners, including Leigh Brooklyn (left) and Maxmillian Peralta (right).

Next, we’ve re-arranged a bit. CAN was created in part as a forum for commentary on the visual arts of the region, but just as importantly as a mouthpiece for organizations presenting exhibits and related programming. Each issue of the magazine has always contained both of those elements. To highlight the strength of our membership, the earlier design put stories from galleries up front. However, we heard repeatedly that readers wanted to see greater emphasis on feature stories, and so we have made them the first thing you will come to as you read each issue. Here we’ll continue to publish generously illustrated, in-depth stories about current and upcoming exhibits, interviews with artists doing interesting things, the quarterly Photo Poets street photography feature, and more.

Gateway to Members Report Section

The next section of the magazine—Members Report—is where you will find galleries writing in their own words about their own exhibits and projects. The Members Report section now begins with a bold graphic page, and an alphabetical list of the organizations participating in this quarter’s CAN Journal.  Within this section, it will be easier to find a specific gallery or organization because they are now in alphabetical order, rather than categorized by neighborhood.  If a reader wants to see what Heights Arts or Zygote Press or the Morgan Conservatory or Bonfoey Gallery are doing in the coming quarter, it is easy to find them by name. One no longer has to know the name of the neighborhood each one calls home.  

There are minor changes we think will serve readers and organizations well.

For example, in addition to those way-finding icons, our new table of contents also creates more space for information about our cover images. The cover of CAN Journal is a prominent place for a piece of art to appear, and so we wanted to be able to provide some background. In the case of our Fall 2022 cover, it’s the late John W. Carlson’s oil and charcoal on canvas piece, Cinderella Sleeping it Off.  We chose this one because it’s beautiful, and because this month brings a long-awaited retrospective exhibit that will fill two galleries in September and October 2022.

We’ll leave the rest of the changes for readers to discover as they turn the pages. CAN’s new design is a giant step into our second decade, and the organization looks forward to serving for another ten years.

The opinions expressed on CAN Blog are those of the individual writers. Art is somewhat subjective. Well, somewhat. But yes, everybody's a critic.