The Print Production team works year round to manage the design, content and printing of all printed materials for Burning Man. From the Summer Newsletter to the Survival Guide, from the stickers to the WhatWhereWhen guide, this team makes it all happen, and makes it look good.
2007 proved to be another busy year filled with assorted print projects, including the Burning Man Ticket Announcement, the event ticket and poster, The Burning Man Journal (aka the Newsletter), The Burning Man Survival Guide, the WhatWhereWhen 2007, a few stickers, the calendar, and, new for 2007, an acculturation postcard to help new attendees. Many returning team members contributed to these projects, with an injection of some new help as well.
Due to some staffing reorganization, the Journal and Survival Guide got off to a slightly later start than usual, and wound up on painfully concurrent production schedules. Both of these projects were created by returning designers, who each did an amazing job on their respective pieces.
We made an extra effort this year to ‘green’ our productions by way of continuing to use papers with a high percentage of recycled content, as well as working with printers that exclusively use soy-based inks. Feedback on both publications has been very positive, and they were well received by our community. A notable part of getting the Survival Guide into the hands of our community is the unflagging help of a few key volunteers who organize and fulfill the Survival Guide envelope-stuffing endeavor. Without these folks we’d be lost!
In addition to the Survival Guide and Journal we also produced the 2007 Black Rock City Map, which tied in thematically with the Survival Guide, as well as a handful of stickers, which were given out with the information packet at the Greeters’ Station. The most noteworthy of these was actually not a sticker at all, but an amusing car air freshener offered in three distinctive fragrances: smoke, pine and vanilla.
In 2007, the WhatWhereWhen again proved to be an intricate choreography of event descriptions and times. Further complicating the process was the fact that we were overwhelmed by the amount of content that was submitted, and the booklet itself nearly doubled in size from the previous year. A new two-pronged structure was implemented, whereby events were listed chronologically. The first section listed events in the order that they were scheduled to happen, the second section listed brief narrative descriptions of the events. A day-by-day listing did not come together, preventing an easy cross-reference between the sections. It seemed that few people seemed to read the introduction of the booklet, which explained how the new format was supposed to function. We have gotten lots of participant feedback on this one and learned a number of valuable lessons. Hopefully next year’s WhatWhereWhen will be a more useful tool to help folks plan their days on the playa.
The 2007-2008 burn year calendar was a great hit. One really exciting project to come out of this year’s calendar production was the consolidation of the entire Burning Man image archive onto portable external hard drives. This allowed the calendar team to more easily search for original images and freed them from the prior constraint of having to conduct images searches solely on-site at Burning Man headquarters. Based on feedback from 2006, the layout for 2007-2008 contains slightly more space for the days of the calendar, to make more usable space for writing events and notes. In addition to traditional and not-so traditional holidays and a sprinkling of fun facts, a sidebar was added to note year-round and regional events, and Burning Man planning tips. The final calendar contained 57 photos from 38 different photographers, and 14 playa artifacts. Each year the calendar continues to improve and serve as a year-round link to our global community, through the beautiful photos and engaging trivia and facts.
The 2007 acculturation postcard was one way we began to seek out additional ways to communicate our community’s ethos to our first-time attendees. It was mailed out to all new ticket buyers and included fun facts and tips for having a fun and safe time in our fair city.
Overall, 2007 was a successful year for the print production team. We realized the need for a more comprehensive production plan for many of the year’s print pieces. We learned where our strengths lie, and where we can improve in the coming years.
Rebecca Throne, Jess Bobier, and Heather Gallagher