In My Opinion: Neil Braidwood: 100 years of the Professional Publishers Association

LAST week, PPA Scotland held a reception at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, to welcome incoming chair, Alan Ramsay.

And to toast PPA’s 100th birthday.

As vice-chair of the organisation, my role in the event had been to help with the production of a bespoke magazine to promote PPA Scotland and the industry. This was to be called Unlimited, and launched on the night.

Many hours of work went into the development of the magazine, from initial designs and feature ideas, to the physical size and type of paper we were going to use. All eyes would be upon us, as this was a magazine designed for the magazine community.

The magazine needed to be created for free, as we had no budget. My company, CMYK Design would produce it, Denmaur Independent Papers donated the stock and Pensord offered to print it.

The articles would come from PPA Scotland members themselves, writing about subjects close to their hearts, or issues that were on their minds.

What we eventually came up with was a compact B5 magazine, 52 pages long, packed with amazing features on social media, digital developments, the rise of print and the concept of brand extension.

CMYK’s own Matt McArthur is responsible for the splendid design of the magazine, from the elegant typography and stunning layouts to the eye-popping image on the front cover.

While the idea of getting members to contribute articles was a worthy one, I forgot that they have their own magazines to get out. Consequently, as editor, I needed to do a lot of chasing in order to meet our deadline.

The stresses and the strains of the previous weeks ebbed away, however, as the first guests arrived at the Chairman’s Reception, and I sipped my drink.

It was fantastic to see the magazine we’d worked on so hard, being received so well by our peers. It was great too, to see so many familiar faces in the one room, all with one interest – magazines.

There were new faces too – Five Star magazine, Made in Scotland magazine, Schottland, Fifth Ring and The Banter – not PPA Scotland members yet, but all part of the vibrant publishing community, just the same. It was great to meet them, and listen to their hopes for the future.

Nikki Simpson, business manager of PPA Scotland, had also managed to pull off a real coup on the night by unveiling an exhibition of 100 years of magazine publishing in Scotland.

A huge labour of love – it became apparent to Nikki early on that there was a rich seam of titles to choose from. An army magazine called Tam o’ Shanter from WWII, a sci-fi mag from the fifties called Nebula, a wee thing called the Jackie…

Needless to say, the guests flocked around the exhibition and the many magazines on show, as it was just so thrilling to see.

Nikki says there is a book on the way. Something tells me I might be volunteering again soon.

Neil Braidwood is head of CMYK magazine design and publishing company. He is also vice-chair of PPA Scotland.