In Design

It’s always exciting when I wrap up another issue of Monkeybicycle. For eight years I’ve been editing and designing these books and I’ve been able to work with an extraordinary amount of talented and inspiring writers. This week marks the finalization of our eighth issue and I believe it’s our best one yet. Over the last year or two I’ve managed to amass a small staff of impressive and generous people who are the real reason this little endeavor keeps going. Laura Carney, Shya Scanlon, Jacob Smith, Jessa Marsh, J.A. Tyler, and Heather Palmer have all worked very hard to make Monkeybicycle what it is today and I’m incredibly appreciative. We’re putting out our eighth print issue right now, the website is being updated two–sometimes four–times per week, and we run a quarterly reading series called The Monkeybicycle Lightning Round in NYC. I think the journal really has the momentum it needs to keep getting better and better.

Monkeybicycle is really the reason I got into designing books. Starting with issue three, I’ve done all the cover design and layout and it was incredibly fun right from the start. After doing that first issue, I decided I wanted to do it professionally, so I enrolled in school and learned how to properly design a book (and a bunch of other stuff). It’s pretty cool to look back on how all of these things in my life evolved, and how it all started on a whim in an incredibly dark room in a downtown Seattle office. That was eight years ago, and Monkeybicycle still continues to inspire and challenge me in the best possible ways.

What I love about designing Monkeybicycle books and materials is that I’m my own art director. The content of these books is often so eclectic that just about anything goes with the covers and it seems to fit. I like to use abstract shapes and images to represent the stories, poems, and essays in these books, but for issue eight the image I came across of eight planes seemed incredibly appropriate. My initial idea for a long time was some sort of octopus reference, but the image I ended up with jumped out at me and I ran with it. And now, even before any content is selected, I’m getting very excited about designing issue nine. Hopefully that one will look as sharp as its content will surely read.

If you’d like to order a copy of Monkeybicycle8 (if you do it by March 15 you’ll also get a free back issue), you can do so here. And if you’re around NYC on March 16, please join us at our next Lightning Round event at The Cake Shop (152 Ludlow) at 7pm.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Kathleen A. Ryan

    Congratulations, Steven, on another job well done! It is awesome that you are following your dream ~ your story is inspiring.

    I’m looking forward to the Monkeybicycle event at The Cake Shop next week. I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate with such talented writers/artists/poets ~ thanks to you and Shya.

  • Steven

    Thanks, Kathleen! I think the reading is going to be great. Hopefully, there will be more room than there was at the last one!

  • Jason Jordan

    The cover for 8 is great (as are the others). I always look forward to new stuff from Monkeybicycle.

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