Editor's Page: Spring Forward

This spring brings changes at HONOLULU Magazine, to our staff and our pages.


Photo: Linny Morris

Since becoming editor in 2005, I’ve had the pleasure of reporting to our publisher, Scott Schumaker. We started at the magazine within months of each other in 1994, me as associate editor, Scott as an account executive on the sales side, and rose up together within our departments until we somehow ended up running the magazine together. Scott has taken another step forward recently, becoming president of our parent company, PacificBasin Communications, overseeing all its magazine titles. To Scott, congratulations and thank you.

To our new publisher, Alyson Helwagen, congratulations and welcome! Alyson brings to the job a wide range of experience in print publishing and new media. She started on the editorial side, as a newspaper legislative reporter, and also worked as a travel editor. At regional title Ohio Magazine she held nearly every editorial job available, including editor.

Alyson has also overseen a custom publishing unit turning out 40 titles a year, and has worked in marketing and public relations with the Honolulu firms of Communications Pacific and Joan Bennet & Assoc. In 2007, she dove into the purely digital realm of publishing, launching LeiChic.com—a website and daily newsletter bringing savvy fashion and shopping advice to Honolulu women. The venture proved so successful that our parent company, PacificBasin Communications, purchased it last spring, bringing Alyson aboard to run LeiChic.com, as well as to edit Ala Moana and Whalers Village magazines.

“It’s a huge honor to work on HONOLULU magazine,” says Alyson of her new role. “It’s already a strong title; the biggest challenge is making sure it keeps evolving.”

Alyson Helwagen

Photo: David Croxford

Readers will notice some evolution in our pages this issue. Executive editor Kathryn Drury Wagner and art director Kristin Lipman devoted months of work to refresh our Calabash section and monthly departments, from the Editor’s Page to Afterthoughts. Unlike features, which each get a unique design to match their mood and intent, these departments wear the same look month after month. The uniformity keeps the smaller stories squared away but, after awhile, we feel as though we’ve been wearing the same shirt for three years, so to speak.
Kathryn and the edit team brainstormed new types of stories we’d want to tell, and researched what other magazines have been doing; Kristin led the design effort, along with associate art director Jen Tadaki Catanzariti. Thanks also to Jayson Harper, Janelle Kalawe and Warren Daubert, art directors at sister publications, who generously contributed designs to the process.

We wanted a Calabash section that was “like an exercise class,” says Kathryn, “vigorous and engaging, but with lots of breathing room.”

Kristin aimed for open, more readable layouts that would help us get more variety on the page. “We know readers are busy, we looked for ways to present different layers of information, so they could take away more without being overwhelmed.”

After 20 years of Microsoft Office on every computer, we all know that fonts have names and personalities, but art directors live and breathe this typographical language. Of our new headline font, Sentinel, Kristin says, “It’s a slab serif font designed by Hoefler & Frere-Jones specifically for magazines; it looks great large and small, and is super versatile.” For contrast, Kristin deploys a sans serif font, National. “It’s deceptively simple, but has unique characteristics that set it apart, and is very legible; you need something simple to complement the slabs of Sentinel.”

We hope you find the new look to be a font of inspiration.

 For more of Napier's writing, see his "Off My Desk" blog.

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Honolulu Magazine July 2020
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