We spotted a new publication on Design*Sponge a few weeks back titled Weekend Almanac – an independently published, 64 page book celebrating all of the creative and fun things people do outside of their 9 to 5 work weeks. Weekend Almanac’s tagline “life happens on the weekend” intrigued us right away; and, if that wasn’t reason enough to order ourselves a copy, then the online sneak peek at the book’s hazy photography sealed the deal (click on the image below to watch an intro video and you’ll know what we mean).
Curious about the book’s almanac format – a type of publication more often associated with subjects like the weather or farming – we reached out to Weekend Almanac curator and editor Lauren Ladoceour with a few questions about the book’s concept, production and more!
EQ3 What inspired the concept for your new publication, Weekend Almanac? And, why did you choose to create an almanac, instead of going with a more traditional format, like a magazine?
Lauren Ladoceour We’ve both worked in the magazine and book worlds since, well, forever. In fact, that’s how we met. She was an art director at a magazine, and I was an editor there. After we’d both moved on to other publishing jobs we’d continue to get together for happy hour. And one Friday night, we both confessed to feeling totally zapped creatively. We longed for something we could sink our teeth into outside our jobs, something that would let us exercise our creative muscles again. I (Lauren) wanted to try my hand at photography and styling, and Ali wanted to get back to being an artist. Surveying our friends, we saw that we weren’t alone. Everyone we talked to–be they doctors, grocery store clerks, illustrators, or stay at home moms–all confessed to secret talents they only used on the weekends. So our thought was: Why don’t we create a format, a platform, for us and anyone else to exercise those talents by asking them to make something over the weekend.
We went for an almanac format (mixed with magazine elements) because almanacs tell the story of time–typically a year into the future. We wanted to tell the story of a weekend: Friday night to Sunday. Also, magazines can sometimes feel disposable, like they’re to be flipped through once or twice and then stuffed in the recycling. Very early on we wanted to create something that was special and something you’d want to hang on to for a long time.
EQ3 Tell us a bit about the roles each of you played in the book’s production? What did a typical weekend look like for you while you were working on this project?
LL Ali was the creative director. She designed nearly every page, did all of the watercolors, and sketched most of the hand-written type. She also art directed a couple of the shoots we commissioned, like “Hangover Cures.”
I was the editor, which meant I edited any submitted copy and wrote several original stories, such as “The Early Bird.” I art directed a couple of shoots, took a couple of shots myself, and handled the business/distribution/money side of things. And I created our website, which was a total learning curve for me. But it was fun!
EQ3 How long did it take to complete – from dreaming and conceptualizing the book to holding the final printed and bound copy in your hands?
LL It took about a little more than a year! Honestly, we thought at first this was a 3-month project, but several factors forced us to go more slowly: Ali had a baby and I switched jobs and had to travel a lot for work. Now, though, I’m really thankful that we had to take the “slow food movement” approach. It gave us the time and space to really mull over our editorial and artistic decisions, something you don’t get to do very often in publishing.
EQ3 You opted to publish the book independently. That sounds overwhelming! Any tips for readers who are interested in doing the same?
LL Sure, a couple of things:
1. Decide on your budget, and then plan on doubling it halfway though.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. There are a couple of people (former co-workers mostly) we turned to over and over again who would give us a crash course on, say, finding a great, affordable printer. Learning along the way is part of the fun.
3. If you have a founding partner, as Ali was to me, always look for ways to help each other. We’d trade off being slammed while the other got to catch a break. It was just the nature of our roles. Because we’re a super small team, it was extra important for the person on a break to figure out what they could take off the other person’s plate to help us meet our deadlines.
EQ3 Where did you look for inspiration when curating content for the book?
LL We looked to our colleagues and friends and asked them what they did that weekend. In fact, most of the almanac is crowd-sourced. And, honestly, we looked to what we naturally were doing on the weekend. It was really a matter of art imitating life.
EQ3 What did you take away from this experience? Do you have a favourite moment?
LL When our first non-family/friend order came in, we did a shot of vodka to celebrate. It’s incredibly validating to have a complete stranger be willing to throw down $15 for something you made in your dining room.
EQ3 What’s next for Weekend Almanac?
LL Well, we’re very close to reaching our sales goal that would allow us to make a second one. It might be an annual, but we’re not sure yet. Until then, we’re getting it into stores around the country.
EQ3 And finally, what are your 3 must-have tools for living and working – things you can’t work or live without?
LL Speaking for myself only (Lauren, that is), I can’t work without sunshine. What can I say? I’m a total California girl, and I need hazy, natural light to keep me motivated at my desk, which looks out onto my garden. Other than that, I’m pretty dependent on notebooks for all my to-do lists and random ideas. Some people like their notebooks to all be the same color and from the same company. But mine are pretty random. No two are alike. Lastly, baths – really hot, long soaks after a long day. Nothing keeps me sane better.
A big thank you to Lauren for chatting with us about Weekend Almanac. We’re eagerly awaiting it’s arrival in the mail and will be taking a closer look at the book’s content right here on the blog soon!