Milton Kaye (pictured left) founded GDUSA in 1963. His son, Gordon Kaye (pictured right at a family event in 1980) is the Publisher of GDUSA and has been working full time at the magazine since 1990.
Welcome to GDUSA’s new blog, the launch of which roughly coincides with the start of our 50th anniversary of publishing.
Let me take you back to 1963. A then visionary publisher released the first issue of a magazine that would change the landscape of publishing, help shape the culture of post-war America, and become a household word.
That magazine — Hugh Hefner’s Playboy with the inaugural cover featuring a flirtatious Marilyn Monroe. The same month, my father, Milt Kaye, started Graphic Design USA to somewhat less acclaim, an inherently smaller audience, and a less riveting cover story about the new RCA logo. Of these two publications, it is fair to say that the beginning, the mission, the covers, and the trajectory have had little in common these past 50 years.
One thing I am guessing that Hugh Hefner and my dad did have in common is that they did not foresee the coming of the blog, much less the internet and all its attendant wonders and woes. Milt never understood new technologies. He took a principled stand against the fax machine; why should we supply the paper for other people’s messages? My father fought against the collection and use of email addresses — they were confusing and would never take hold — thus setting GDUSA seriously back for a couple of years during the 90s. The internet was the most perplexing. Once when we blew a fuse in our offices, he came running out asking if we had broken the internet. To this day, from his nursing home bed, he urges me to stop wasting time with “that digital stuff,” and get back to real, manly, honest, American work of filling print pages and selling print ads. I am guessing that Heff (can I call you Hef?) would agree, though the genre of photography he championed has apparently had some small success infiltrating a website or two.
In all honesty, there is part of me that would love to wrap myself only in print; it feels and looks and smells so good. But that ship has sailed and, probably, for the better. GDUSA today is a printed magazine of which I am exceedingly proud. But it is also a website, two e-newsletters, custom eblasts, an app, a competition organizer, and a generator of social media. We have a loyal core of direct mail and e-subscribers. And today we introduce a blog that will add another layer of timely content for the creative community.
When I visit my father in the home next Sunday, I will tell him about the blog. He will be confused.