You don’t need me to tell you that for so much of 21st-century digital art, medium matters. Which is why the UC Quarterly, a print repackaging of visual content from the Under Consideration blog network, actually makes sense. Yes, it’s the exact same content you can see, for free, on sites like Brand New and Art of the Menu and For Print Only. But it doesn’t feel the same. Not even close.
The first edition, available now, costs $15. Between the covers--reclaimed test sheets and makeready scraps from print studios--are 48 newsprint pages, bound with a thick rubber band and chock full of projects that showed up on the web over the last three months. There are infographics and ad campaigns, posters and packaging concepts and more. Each is accompanied by a credit and a link to the original blog post, but besides that, it’s just eye-catching visuals, packed onto page after page for maximum efficiency, like luggage in a hatchback at the start of a long road trip.
On one level, the Quarterly was simply a chance for Armin Vit, the founder and editor of the Under Consideration blogs, to take advantage of Newspaper Club, a London-based service that lets anyone print small runs of their own bespoke publications on the cheap. But for a tireless blogger, it was also a nice new editorial challenge. "As much as I love blogging, I sort of get bored of the linear approach to showing images, top to bottom," Vit says. "So the idea of doing a publication packed to the walls with projects and the opportunity to lay them out in new and unexpected ways was really appealing."
And what a difference it makes. Watching him flip through the first issue in the clip above, I instantly recognized many of the included projects, but they all looked a little different than I had remembered. Brighter, bigger, bolder. They looked better, really, and it quickly became apparent how huge the gulf was between encountering these projects fleetingly in your RSS reader and actually getting a chance to hold them in your hands and study them up close--something you’d probably never get a chance to do otherwise, in the case of most of the content here.
Vit agrees enthusiastically about that transformative effect. "We get so used to seeing projects as 600-pixel images on Behance, or a collection of 'posters’ on Flickr, or in some weird Tumblr layout, that we just assume this is the resolution and canvas limit for this project," he says. "There was nothing more gratifying during the layout of the project than taking an image and blowing it up 200% or 300% from its original size, or showing something as a full-bleed spread. There is something about a full-bleed spread that a website will never, ever capture."