So You Wanna Start Your Own Food Magazine?

We chat with Antonio Diaz of <em>Life & Thyme</em> about his transition from online to print
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Meet Antonio Diaz, SoCal native and founder of the two-year-old Life & Thyme, a multimedia online food publication with global coverage and a cinematic sensibility that is now looking to expand its operation to print. Diaz recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his first issue of the quarterly magazine, so we decided to pick his brain about what it takes to transition from digital to print and hear his thoughts about starting new creative projects. Young, scribe-like entrepreneurs: listen up.

How did Life & Thyme come into being?
I have a background in interactive design, and for a while I was the cofounder of a creative agency. I had always been passionate about telling stories, but down the line you come to realize that the agency world is very much about everyone else. You’re creating projects for others, and I was coming to the point where I wanted my own outlet. I always loved food and I started to do a lot of research online. The Internet was completely saturated with food blogs using iPhone photos and putting out reviews written without any real context. There weren’t too many outlets that focused on the people behind the food, diving into their personal stories. And that’s the part that fascinated me. I love food, but I love the creative process more. We’re just using food as a canvas to experiment with creativity.

What motivated you to put out a print edition?
When the iPad first came out, everyone thought print was going to die and that tablets would replace everything. Well, that didn’t really pan out. There are very few online magazines that do it well.  When someone picks up a beautiful print magazine, it’s like taking a vacation because we’re always glued to our screens. We crave something different since everyone now has an iPhone. With a magazine you can flip through its pages, smell the ink. It’s a nostalgic feeling.

What were the risks involved?
The challenges are pretty high. You’re still dealing with the print world, and a lot can go wrong. It’s not like a website where you can go back and re-edit easily. It’s really expensive to produce a printed, quality magazine. There’s a big cost in print production and distribution expenses. And, on top of that, you always have to be ahead schedule-wise. The timelines are short and you need to work fast. Print is a whole different beast, but the online platform was important because it gave us a way to build the community and test the concept.

What are some tools and programs that you might recommend to others who are starting up?
When it comes to long form content and the editorial side of things, there’s been a ton of new tools that have come out. Life & Thyme is built on WordPress. And if you can’t design the site yourself, there are other products like Medium and Exposure.  Regarding photography, the iPhone obviously changed the game. And with Instagram the photos have become elevated, and the quality is phenomenal. You can make it look professional. Try apps like VSCO Cam, Photoshop, Mextures, and Snapseed.

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