National Women’s Month

March is National Women’s Month and this year’s theme, selected by the National Women’s History Alliance, is “Celebrating the Women Who Tell Our Stories.”

 “Throughout 2023, the NWHA will encourage recognition of women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, and more. The timely theme honors women in every community who have devoted their lives and talents to producing art, pursuing truth, and reflecting the human condition decade after decade.

“From the earliest storytellers through pioneering journalists, our experiences have been captured by a wide variety of artists and teachers. These include authors, songwriters, scholars, playwrights, performers, and grandmothers throughout time. Women have long been instrumental in passing on our heritage in word and in print to communicate the lessons of those who came before us. Women’s stories, and the larger human story, expand our understanding and strengthen our connections with each other.”

Reflections on Women [Publishers] in History

It is easy to think our experiences, particularly the hard ones, are unique—that they exist solely inside the context of right now. Reading biographies and autobiographical information about others can reset our context.

There are few human experiences that have not happened before, and knowing someone already survived a similar situation doesn’t make our own situation less difficult because pain is not comparable…our pain is always our own. It can, however, offer a perspective for survival and enable us to see a way to rebuild.

I’ve been working in publishing for 30 years. Despite this deep experience I am constantly asked by others to prove myself. It is insufficient to state the years of experience I’ve had…no one will take my word for it anymore. We live in a time of distrust. Also we live in a time when there are so many titles for professional positions, that they are sometimes meaningless without concrete examples.

It is disheartening to experience this doubt over and over, and I can see how this environment of mistrust can make people feel like posers.

Former co-workers, now friends, are the living touch-points of my own history who anchor me and my experience.

Out of curiosity, I searched for “women publishers” on a favorite search engine, and the search resulted in a link that caught my eye—a Wikipedia “List of women printers and publishers before 1800”! The Wikipedia page has an impressive list of women who worked in printing, and the earliest woman actively occupied in printing was Estellina Conat who worked in Mantova, Italy between 1474-1477.

The Virginia Gazette, published by Clementina Rind, 10 February 1775. Clementina continued publishing the Gazette after her husband, William, passed away. Printer Alexander Purdie.

Explore the Women in publishing before 1800 list:

Scrolling through the list and reading snippets about how some of these women found themselves in the role of publishing, I drew parallels in our experience. Women publishers from 1800 and earlier worked in a time of distrust, too. However, they were not trusted simply because of their gender. Surely a woman was not capable. Surely her time would be more well spent in lady-like pursuits. The hurdles were not better or worse than the hurdles we face today, but hurdles existed and exist.

My takeaway from my meandering through history was to note their perseverance. They just got on with their business. They did what they needed to do, and when the published piece reached the readers’ hands, it was the news (or a book, or a flyer). Publishing back then was a thing that happened behind the scenes. Several successful women publishers before 1800 continued a family business established by their father or husband after losing that parent or spouse. The customer’s point of contact was with a newspaper boy on the street, so these women just got on with their business and stepped into the leadership role.

The act of stepping into a larger and more responsible role is timeless in the human experience and has no gender specificity. As children, we are responsible for very little. Ideally, as our parents raise us, they give us opportunities for responsibility inside the safe environment of the family. Every year we gather more information, develop skills, and take on new responsibilities. The wider our experience and opportunity, the more capable we become. This is a function of being a human being.

We are all, to one degree or another, capable human beings. We can just get on with our business.

Celebrating Collaboration

Econoprint in Racine is celebrating their 50th Anniversary, and Carl Matteson posted a lovely piece on Facebook and LinkedIn about the collaboration between Econoprint (innovative printing and binding solution), NMP (design and layout), to create the Small Changes flip journal for Jodie Needham Fitness (a Coach with a vision).

You can read more about the Small Changes flip journal on NMP’s Recent Work page, but I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the collaboration that made this project a real pleasure.

Thank you Carl and Jodie! Looking forward to working with you again!

NMP at Table 14

This Thursday is the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce Business-to-Business Expo.

NMP will be there with a healthy amount of swag, a swanky video, and plenty of business cards.

We are also having a business card raffle. Two gifts are available: a Jodie Needham Fitness package, and an NMP package. Drop your business card in the vase for a chance to win. Winners will be drawn at 1:45 and notified by text or email—you don’t have to be present to win.

If you are in the area, we hope to see you there!

Design in the Wild

We’re going to have to file this under “design don’ts” wandering the universe.

Disembodied dog head and paw…disturbing at first glance.

As you may have guessed, I had to cool my heels at the vet’s office while my dog was being tended to in another room. Spending time with this poster made me twitchy. If I’d had a marker, I would have outlined him and made a color burst around him—anything for dog body cohesion!

But his face really “pops”! Yeah…right off his body = not good. The black collar should help. Uh, not so much.

This poster would have benefited from a background color tint in 10% of just about any color. Or they could have used a different cutie pie dog whose fur was any other color than white.

The next time Clover goes to the vet, I’m taking a marker with me.

Recent OTP Post

Read the post on the Off The Pews’ site:

As part of OTP’s service package, I write posts (or publish other staff posts) to their blog. Some of this material is included in the quarterly newsletter as a photo/blurb/link to drive click-through traffic to the site.

This particular post was just a labor of love for me because it includes self-publishing, art, writing, and all-around creativity. It should have appeal to the kids who’ve attended OTP’s various programs. Since we work so closely in partnership with Hyde Park Art Center, there is often an art track in the program planning.

Zines have a deep history addressing social justice issues as well (read the post for more).

The most fun I had was creating the title zine to use as an example.

The line between my work and life blurs sometimes when working with OTP.

Explore NMP Projects

Make sure to visit the Recent Work page to see the type of projects under way (or recently completed) at NMP.

Explaining what “custom publishing services” actually are is a slippery weasel. The list of services is long and varied—that is why they are custom.

What you need may not be what someone else needs.

The Recent Work page is where we throw the pasta on the wall and see what sticks. There might be something NMP does for an existing client that might be just what you need.

NMP can work on an hourly, per project, or service plan (package of hours) basis depending on your short- or long-term needs.

Drop NMP a note—consultation is free.


Screen Capture: NMP ad on the right column of the Diversity Featured Articles page.

NMP will be a presence on the Featured Diversity articles page of NACE’s website through April. NACE has been a trusted partner and a peerless resource for college career services centers and employers. NMP is pleased to support the work of NACE.

NMP works with so many really great partners—they are all valued relationships.

Would you like help with publishing projects (print or online)? NMP can work on a one-off project with you, or we can explore a longer service arrangement.

You know your business, and NMP knows publishing. The ideal partnership is both of us working at our specialty to complement each other.

Collaboration means you don’t have to do it all. Isn’t that a nice thought?

Consider a partnership with NMP.

NMP – Your Custom Publishing Service

  • Career Guides
  • Annual Reports
  • Infographics
  • Branded Flyers
  • Newsletters …
    • …for print and/or online use

Email for a FREE project estimate. NMP’s services are also available on an hourly basis.

Accessible PDF production to WCAG 2.1 AA standards available.

Please explore the Recent Work page and let your imagination loose. Then, drop NMP an email.

2022 Weekly Planner

The 2022 Weekly Planner is a personal project I recently wrapped up, and sent off to my clients this year as a thank you for their business.

The seagull on the cover watched me eat a sandwich along the Florida shore years ago.

It was a fun way to revisit some of the art I’ve created over the years (some pieces date back to 2006) in a playful way throughout the Planner.

View the 2022 Weekly Planner online.

Contact NMP if you’d like to create a similar planner for your clients, as swag for a conference, or a personal gift.

Great Publishing Partners

It was a real treat to work with the Career Center team at Texas A&M this year to redesign their Aggie Career Success Handbook (formerly Career Guide).

I’d redesigned this book once before (around 2013-14) when I was working for CRM. Michael Shehane found my company website and recognized my name, and he reached out to see if I was up for another redesign.

You bet!

Conversations for production started in January. We were into actual production by March. The Accessible PDF delivered in late August. August 27th the BlueToad edition was done. Slide over to the Recent Work page to see both editions.

Texas A&M Career Center had a large team working on refining the content for the book. The project was masterfully managed at their end initially by Michael Shehane, and then he turned it over to the talented Paige Hellman-Millar for completion.

Design by committee can be a daunting prospect because there are a lot of moving parts. There absolutely needs to be a project coordinator on the client side of production to avoid conflicting information. The Career Center team had this nailed down which resulted in a smooth and wonderful collaboration.

Additional Texas A&M team members who worked on the book and deserve a “Well done!” include: Amarette Renieri, Susan Keough, Taylor Henderson, under the benevolent guidance of Samantha Wilson, with Dolores Gonzales in a crucial supporting role.

Thank you for your great publishing partnership!