When we set out to make BackMatter Issue 4, we were also entering a classroom as students, designers, writers, and editors, each of us excited but mostly unsure about what it actually meant to make a magazine from start to finish. What guided this issue from the start was also our biggest challenge: how to pull a cohesive theme from a stack of essays that covered a dearth of topics, viewpoints, and angles. The thread we found to connect them all? The writer’s unique ability to fall down a rabbit hole and emerge on the other side coherent enough to tell a story about what they found on that journey. Our featured essays cover everything from trying to understand a family member’s interest in QAnon (“Trump, Truth, and QAnon”) to dissecting the identity politics of a love for Naruto (“I Need a Hero”), to uncovering the mysteries behind a famed designer (“The Man Who Sold The World (Of His Own)”). They’re personal, they’re investigative, and some of them are even a little fun.
Our design team brought this theme to life with brilliant graphics, a bold color palette, and went above and beyond with their creations. The feeling you get when looking at this magazine is in big part due to them and their ability to wholly complement each essay with striking design. The design team elevated BackMatter far beyond its content and truly made it a magazine.
For the first time in BackMatter history, we added a podcast to the to-do list. With it came more challenges but also an opportunity for most members of the masthead to get a taste of podcast production as a guest, host, or audio editor. The podcast expands on themes found in our featured essays but mainly focuses on our creative process. Our hosts spoke to current BackMatter staff as well as former editors and professors to create a dynamic picture of the past, present, and future of BackMatter.
This journey has been a stressful but fun one. It’s sad to leave a project when you feel like you’ve just begun, but we’re proud of what this fall down the rabbit hole has left us with and we hope you enjoy the trip too.