The Artists

HONOLULU Magazine says goodbye to one art director, and welcomes another.

When a magazine lands on your coffee table, it all seems pretty simple—or should, if it’s done right. On every page, you’ve got a bunch of words, some photos, a headline, a caption or two. Ultimately, it’s the art director who makes all those elements work together harmoniously, through good design. No matter how well written, if a story doesn’t look captivating, it won’t captivate. If it doesn’t guide readers helpfully through the story, they’ll stop reading.

Consequently, magazine art directors and editors are joined at the hip. The editor/art director relationship is crucial, but can be stormy—the two disciplines speak different languages, after all. This was the subject of countless discussions at a recent conference of the City and Regional Magazine Association, where magazines such as HONOLULU go to learn how to do our jobs better. This magazine’s outgoing art director, Jayson Harper, and I, sat in on a session devoted entirely to improving relations between art directors and editors. After listening to some horror stories from other magazines, we agreed that we got along pretty well.

Too bad about that “outgoing” part, then. Harper has been this magazine’s art director since the November 2002 Holiday Annual, putting his award-winning stamp on 45 issues with us since. But the July 2006 issue was his last as our art director; he’ll be devoting himself full-time to his role as the head of the eight-person production department of our parent company, PacificBasin Communications, a job he’s skillfully juggled the whole time he has designed HONOLULU.

photo: Floyd Takeuchi

“I’m still planning on designing,” says Harper. “But my main focus is on working with the company’s art directors to hone their skills, get them the training and resources they need, while also helping the company develop new business from the design end.”

We’ll miss working on HONOLULU with Harper on a daily basis, but we’re also thrilled to be working with our new art director, Kristin Gonzales. Gonzales joined the company last March as an advertising art director, and soon joined our associate art director, Janelle Kalawe, in helping pull HONOLULU together. Her first feature design for us was last December’s “7 Deadly Signs You’ve Been Shopping,” the sort of sumptuous fashion feature that art directors love.

Before joining us, Gonzales, a University of Hawai‘i graduate with a bachelor of fine arts, worked as a staff designer for Tori Richard. There she designed everything from hang tags to packaging to logos. But she’s always loved page design, so magazine work seemed a natural fit.

Our hats are off to her—she dived into the job just in time for one of the busiest issues of the year, our combined August issue and Restaurant Guide. Of her new job, she says, “I’m definitely looking forward to growing as an art director as well as a person, learning from the talented people I’m working with and being more involved in the community.”

To Jayson Harper: All our thanks. To Kristin Gonzales: Welcome! This is gonna be fun.

A quick note on a new opportunity for HONOLULU Magazine subscribers. Voting for our prestigious Hale ‘Aina dining awards just got easier: use the subscriber code printed above your address on the front cover to vote for your favorite restaurants. For more information on that, see here. There are lots of new categories this year, check it out and vote! And, of course, subscribers can also find a good, old-fashioned paper ballot inserted in the print magazine, just after page 112. Winners of the Hale ‘Aina Awards will be revealed in the January 2007 issue.