Muse/A Partners with Publishing Genius
When the server gets here, order a salad. You’re gonna want to save some room for this.
Not to mix too many metaphors, but slick-haired new kid Muse /A Journal is teaming up with the practically tween-aged Publishing Genius.
(I’ll save you the #promposal.)
From this partnership, expect a Muse /P (Publishing /A?!) Book Contest, a rejuvenated Real Pants, workshop classes, design collabs, and enough cross-posting to make your head spin like a WH presser.
Okay, but what is Muse /A? Literary journal Muse /A is a style-centred ode to lyrical language, a thrice yearly publication, of which one is print. Publishing Genius, if you don’t know, is a small press devoted to extraordinary reading experiences with books by, like, um, Michael Kimball, Melissa Broder, Stephen Dixon, Lily Hoang.
Anyhow, this has been a PSA. Now, eat your food before it gets cold, and then, Will you go to prom with me?
More on the whole thing.
Here’s a funny story:
Gregg started a Google Doc where we could start brainstorming about our partnership at the same time as I had been working on a logo project for a client. Doing research I came across a bunch of branding questions that I thought would be helpful—I wanted to put them to the Muse /A staff about Publishing Genius, as a way to do a brand review of PGP based on what they could pick up from Google and my website and stuff. So I pasted the questions into Gregg’s doc as a placeholder.
Gregg, being the proactive guy he is, jumped right on it and answered all the questions about Muse /A. I thought it was a nice intro to his thinking, so I’ve put them all here.
1. What is your brand name? What is the meaning behind its name?
Muse /A is a deconstructed museum (musee), a clever diversion (amuse), and a source of inspiration (the Alpha, the genesis ‘A’, the kid A). Like Tom Sawyer, its editors thinks a lit mag is nothing without STYLE. Visual art is therefore a central concern, which is not always the case with lit mags. Even the backslash is a typographic hint, a trace of what matters to use, our slant.
2. What is your brand tag line? What is the meaning behind the tag line?
Our tag line is: ALWAYS /CURRENT. I don’t know, I just made that up. It means we’re interesting in poetry that works now, that is styled to speak to now. If we feel that writing isn’t unique in some way, we’re not sure it’s staying ‘on time’. It’s probably not for us.
3. What is the purpose of Muse /A?
To bring beauty to the world. To make people smile. To divert attention from our shitty world and back onto our infinitely beautiful world.
4. What is the vision for Muse /A in the future?
I’d like to see Muse /A attract devoted artists who want to do something different and relevant.
5. Does Muse /A have a history or a story?
I just wanted to make unique spaces for poetry and visual art. The vision included a community component. I was driven in some ways by the linoleum-rich spaces in which poetry was often exhibited. Shitty bars with boring readings going on. Events at Barnes & Noble with seven people where the author doesn’t sell any books and reads something from her phone and hasn’t even practiced.
6. Why do you want the Muse /A – PGP partnership to accomplish?
I think the books of PubGen are beautiful, have been crafted attentively. It’s like hanging pictures in a classy, intentional, respected space—if we’re talking museums. But it’s also the community building that Adam’s been spearheading for years and years.
7. What are 3-5 core values of your brand?
- Elevated design.
- Lyrical beauty.
8. If you imagine Muse /A as a person, what personality traits would they have?
Put together, cooky, clever, good hair, crooked gait.
9. Who is your target audience?
The urbane socialites of the New York literati AND the drowsy headed hipster AND the the MFA with the horned-rims AND the Reebox with the straps.
10. What problems do you face?
Money. Time to complete tasks. Field hands who can commit to they craft.
11. How does your brand differ from other brands in your industry?
We’re smart and experienced with letters. We are open-minded and can be patient–”stick around”.
12. Why should someone choose your brand over another? Describe the value your brand adds to your clients (Value proposition).
A lot of lit mags and small presses don’t have talent through the whole process. Brands like YesYes are run by lots of people with talent, but not just talent with the poetry or with the visual art or with book-making. They do everything well. I think
13. Who are your competitors? How are these brands better than you?
I think our competitors have been in the game longer and have developed a consistent product. Many have an extensive style guide. Many have attracted good talent to fill their pages. Some have independent funding or are, at the very least, way ahead. Like a new restaurant that’s still trying to fill up, it doesn’t matter how good the food is yet. But the food isn’t as good as I’d like it to be. Not yet.
14. List examples where you’ve seen fonts and typography that you liked.
Elephant Journal (the art mag).
Almost all of them are done by design creatives.
15. Do you have any color preferences? What colors should be avoided?
Outside of monkey-shit brown and hot pink, I’m pretty open.
16. What three brands do you love and why?
I like the content of the Times Book Review. It’s consistent and readable and I can count on something interesting being there EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It doesn’t waste time calling attention to itself. In some ways, that’s a luxury of being a frontrunner with an established thing. I know when I read the Times website it’s going to eminently readable and well designed. Boston Review is going to be solid. Unlike those outlets, there isn’t likely to be much experimentation, no surprising poetry. I don’t expect the Book Review to suddenly review a bunch of chapbooks, though I think that would be cool.
17. List what elements you would like to preserve from your current brand if any and explain why.
All of it and then some. I don’t think Muse /A is done becoming what it wants to be. I’d love to have a better CNF presence. I like what RP does too.