With this November/December 2012 Buyers’ Guide issue, DDI—which famously premiered as Display & Design Ideas with a December issue in 1988—enters its 25th year of publication. We can now rent a car without mandated insurance, but sadly only have one year left on our parents’ health insurance. (Kidding.) In all seriousness, we have now earned our cred as an established magazine brand in an industry that has seen far too many casualties in the last 10 years. To be blunt, most print magazines never make it to 25 years. Or anywhere close.
I have been affiliated with the magazine for more than 11 of those 25 years. For those of you who don’t know, my history with DDI began in the spring of 2001, when then-editor RoxAnna Sway left a voicemail on my landline (I was still cell-phone-free at that time) to invite me to serve an internship with some retail pub called Display & Design Ideas. Had I heard of the magazine? No. Did I know a thing about retail or design? Absolutely not. But this journalism gig seemed a lot cooler than my other standing offer at the local county newspaper, so I took the job.
Fast-forward to today, and my job is still way cooler than the local county newspaper. I lead a publication that covers one of the most dynamic, trend-seeking, colorful, passionate and exuberant industries on the planet. My job is to set the path of this magazine for the future. That path has included travels to foreign lands, speaking engagements, deadlines, store tours, photography sessions, surveys, client meetings, deadlines, websites, digital editions, newswires, deadlines, cocktail events, conferences, tradeshows, deadlines and more deadlines. It is not always an easy path to the future, but when the terrain gets a bit rough, we’ve learned to just change our shoes and forge onward.
I find that whenever we start talking about our future, it leads to conversations about our past. At the top of this page, you’ll find the cover image of Display & Design Ideas’ 1988 inaugural issue. Probably wouldn’t make the cut from my red editing pen in today’s times, but it is an important part of our magazine’s history, our beginning…our story. With each issue and redesign we have put out over the last quarter-century, we have grown. We have grown into the publication that we are today—into the resource you hold in your hands (or see on your screen) right now. And I’m quite proud of it.
But, there is always room for improvement. So, my question to you today: what will it take to keep you as a reader for the next 25 years? What do you like about the magazine? What do you dislike? How can we improve? How can we become the magazine you’ve always dreamt of? What does DDI mean to you?
Please send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. You won’t hurt my feelings or be banned for life (well, maybe). You are helping us grow. And we certainly expect to be around for another 25 years. You can count on that.