I'm often asked how an issue of architectural lighting comes together, how we choose the people, projects, and products that appear on our pages. Being in the middle of the process, I sometimes forget that what seems readily apparent to me is not necessarily the case with readers. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to provide you with a glimpse into my editorial “design” process.
Each issue of architectural lighting is very much a design project for me; chalk that up to my architectural background, I suppose. Ideas for an issue take form months, sometimes years, in advance. That was the case with this issue's theme—landscapes and borders—and the land port of entry (LPOE) feature (page 36), which I first started thinking about in 2007 when the Massena, N.Y., LPOE signage issues were discussed in The New York Times. On other occasions, an idea for a story is spontaneous or “of-the-moment” when an important issue might suddenly arise. But no matter the time frame, it is my job as editor to coordinate all these threads of information into a cohesive package.
Our editorial calendar serves as a framework so that we can deliver an integrated coverage of projects and issues important to technology and the industry. The topics that make it onto the calendar are culled from project and product releases that we receive; our own project scouting; discussions with my editorial and art colleagues here at al and with our sister publications architect, eco-structure, and Pro AV; and, most importantly, the conversations I have with readers across the lighting industry. Staying attuned to the issues that are of concern is a huge responsibility, and one that I take very seriously. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes legwork to gather information and listen to multiple opinions in order to properly assess the topics covered and how best to present them. We are always trying to look at topics from a new perspective, to find the part of the story that has not yet been told.
“I often think of my role as editor as that of an advance scout, the person out in the field looking for the latest news, the best examples of work, and the people making the greatest impact on the industry.”
Integration is key. It is something we have always incorporated into our editorial coverage and it is a cornerstone of the magazine's redesign for our 25th anniversary. Mindful that people receive information in different ways, we are continuing to build on our core original content to bring you related resources online. That might take the form of a video, a book or a product review, or a blog post. The new structure of our editorial coverage is set up to take advantage of this layered approach. Whether you spend one minute or one hour with al, in print or electronic form, you will take away something valuable.
Ultimately, I'm interested in ideas and finding ways to connect lighting to the larger world of architecture and design. It gives us the ability to look at lighting from different angles—cultural, social, political, and economic. So I often think of my role as editor as that of an advance scout, the person out in the field looking for the latest news, the best examples of work, and the people making the greatest impact on the industry. The goal is to keep you inspired and informed.