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October 27, 2009

CA's Anniversary

  • In 2010, Communication Arts celebrated its 50th anniversary. While we have never done much publicity, preferring to celebrate the work we profile rather than ourselves, this seems like a truly newsworthy event. So one of our goals is to reach out and connect with the visual communications community via speeches, Facebook and this blog to let our readers know a little more about the people who bring you Communication Arts.

Scheduled Talks

  • Ft. Worth, TX
    August 17, 2010

    Houston, TX
    August 18, 2010


  • Patrick Coyne is the editor and designer of Communication Arts magazine, the largest international trade journal of visual communications. Coyne studied design at the California College of the Arts. Prior to joining Communication Arts in 1986, Coyne worked as a graphic designer for Michael Mabry and SBG Partners and then co-founded the San Francisco-based design firm Patrick Coyne/Stephanie Steyer Design Office. During his tenure as editor and designer of Communication Arts, Coyne has been a frequent speaker at numerous art directors and advertising clubs as well as local, national and international design conferences and has received medals and distinctive merits from AIGA, STA and Society of Illustrators. He is also a member of the AIGA and an honorary member of the Society of Typographic Arts and the University and College Designers Association.


  • How do you feel technology has impacted design over the last 10 years or so?

    Technology has brought design tools to everybody. Anybody can produce a flyer, newsletter or Web site and many do. Consequently, designers are forced to bring value to their clients as strategic thinkers instead of just image makers. This is a good thing.

    Do you foresee a time where there will not be a "printed" Communication Arts? Why/why not?

    I sure hope not. I think visual communications is probably one of the few communities that appreciates fine printing and paper enough to support a quality publication like CA.

    What design trends, if any, are you tired of seeing?

    The regurgitating of design elements from the previous year’s Annual winners. If you’ve seen a visual solution often enough to view it as a trend, it’s time to do something else, especially if you’re trying to position a client as unique.

    How do you see designers addressing the current economic climate related to the broader business community?

    It’s all about doing more with less. Designers are uniquely qualified to help clients keep their communication efforts going, even in tough times. The challenge is convincing clients that these projects are necessary for the long-term benefit of their company.

    There is so much talk of the global business community. Do you see the lines blurring between American design, European design etc.?

    Absolutely. Just like in all other aspects of business, location is no longer a limitation and the Web has made access to ideas and information universally available.

    What's the best way to have work considered for inclusion in CA?

    www.commarts.com/submissions explains it all.

    Do you ever accept story ideas/suggestions? What's the best way to do that.

    All the time. The best way is to send it to editorial@commarts.com.

    What's the best part of your job?

    Discovering new talent and seeing a beautiful, breakthrough solution for the first time.

    What's the worst part of your job?

    Trying to write the Editor’s column. Everyone knows it’s due when they see me cleaning my office or doing something else to avoid writing it.

    What do you think is the best thing CA has accomplished since its inception?

    It’s been the first exposure to the field for many people who’ve since become creative professionals and it has inspired a lot of people to create something new.

    What other design magazines do you read?

    As many as I can get my hands on: Print, How, I.D., Graphic Design USA, Step. Favorites: Eye, Metropolis, Idn (Hong Kong).

    What other magazines do you read?

    Dwell, Metropolitan Home, Wired, Texas Monthly, San Francisco, Automobile, Car and Driver, Road & Track (My favorite blog is Autobloggreen.com)

    In comparison to other design books, CA is "un" designed. Why?

    I’ve always thought of CA as a museum of visual communications. Our job is to present the work and get out of the way. Visual restraint just seems to be the most appropriate solution.

    How is a CA competition judged? How long does it take?

    The Design and Advertising competitions each take three days to judge. Nine jurors work in screening teams of three. Judges are not permitted to vote on work they were directly involved in. Each category is distributed into three parts so each group screens one-third of the entries. Print entries are spread out on tables by category. Most categories require several room setups. Each juror views the entries independently. Any juror can put an entry into the final voting by picking it up from the table. Digital entries are selected by checking an "in" or "out" column on prepared scoring sheets. For finals, all nine jurors work as a single team. In one hall, print entries are again spread out on tables by category. Two paper cups, one white and one red, with slots cut in the bottom, are placed upside down to the right of each entry. White cups are for "in" votes, red cups for "out." Each juror votes with different colored ceramic tiles by putting his or her tile in the appropriate cup. After all the jurors finish voting on print, they move to another hall for digital files. Again, voting is done by each juror checking the "in" or "out" column on scoring sheets. Meanwhile, in the print hall, if the votes do not total nine, a check of the tile colors tells the Communication Arts staff which juror has inadvertently missed that piece and he or she is called back to vote. After the judges make their selections, their votes are tallied. A simple majority is usually required for a finalist to be selected a winner.

    If I was interested in writing a story for CA, how would I do that?

    Submit your suggestion to editorial@commarts.com. If you haven’t written for us in the past, please include samples of prior articles/stories you've written for reference.

    How much does CA typically pay a writer for an article?

    Typically $800-$1,000 plus expenses, sometimes more depending on the scope of the article.

    Should I send press releases in about new jobs I've completed and/or other awards I've received?

    Other awards are less important to us than your work. We want to see what you’re doing. The best way to do that is to submit work periodically to us at www.commarts.com/submissions.

    Do you keep files of work you receive in order to understand trends and/or up and coming designers?

    Yes, but our main source is keeping track of whose worked we’ve selected for Exhibit and Fresh and whose work is being selected by the judges for the Annuals.

    Do you have an active editorial advisory board? If so, how is that board selected?

    We rely on our juries and regular contributors to keep us informed as to what is happening in the profession. We have 35 different jurors from around the country each year, who give us a lot of feedback.

    From your reference point, what's the biggest challenge facing designers and the design profession?

    Relevance. With the wide distribution of design tools and global competition from brand consultants and advertising agencies, designers are challenged to explain how they can add value to their client’s businesses.