By Matt Smith
We are currently in a “clean out the office” mode at SmithGifford. The reason is because, I have to admit, the place is a bit of mess. Years of “I will get to that soon” and “let’s just put this over there for now” have finally caught up with us, especially me. It’s actually gotten to the point where I need to remind people I am not, in fact, a hoarder.
But I’ve found that some stuff is much harder to let go of than other stuff.
As I was looking over a pile of what appeared to be old magazines and other paper products earmarked for the dumpster I noticed my collection of Communications Arts magazines. Whoa. Now just a minute. This brought to mind the time I caught my wife chucking my Chiat\Day tee shirts into the trash. What the hell? No way, I told her. THAT’S MY LIFE! And here was my entire collection of CA Magazines headed to the great recycling bin in the sky. Sorry, but no chance.
Of course, it’s a generational thing. No one really seems to give a damn about magazines or annuals these days, and I doubt that many people currently in the advertising industry of a certain age have any idea was CA is or was.
So I’ll tell you. There was a time when CA represented a mission for many people in the ad game. The publication set a high standard that the whole creative community strived to achieve. To be featured in CA was (and I think may still be) a dream among creatives.
One of the main reasons for its importance and popularity is because at a time when Ad Age and Adweek and all the other trade outlets were focusing on who was winning which account and who was acquiring who, CA covered the artistic side of our business. It was where our peers said, “Yes, that’s good work.” CA’s tagline covered all the areas we wanted to excel in: “Exceptional Design, Advertising, Illustration, Photography, Interactive and Typography, since 1959.” If you’re not familiar with CA or haven’t seen a recent issue, check out the publication’s website here: https://www.commarts.com/.
My collections of CA magazines, along with their annuals and Art Director CA books, also were a secret place for inspiration for me. They still are, because the work featured in CA was the best in the business.
So, no, my CA magazine collection was saved from the dumpster and moved back to a place of honor on my bookshelf (see accompanying illustration). They might end up in the trash bin someday, when the urge to clean up the mess strikes once again, but not today.
Matt Smith is founder of SmithGifford, and has close to 40 years’ experience as a creative and agency leader at the nation’s top agencies. SmithGifford is a Capitol Communicator sponsor.
You can find Matt Smith’s earlier columns at Oh, That’s Good.