Our chronic lack of money led me to what I think of fondly as my most daring editorial innovation as editor-in-chief, although it had nothing to do with either design or journalism. Almost every day corporations launching new products held press parties to announce them. We received several invitations each week that looked too interesting to turn down. But sending an editor to attend them was costly, entailing not only an editor's time away from the office, but if alcohol were served, as invariably it was, the additional loss of the editor's productivity when and if he or she returned (one didn't). So I.D. officially eschewed many parties, but we needed the press kits for pictures and information.
I can't think why, but for the first few years I lived in New York I happened to know an unusually large number of actors, who spent their days auditioning. They did rounds. Doing rounds meant presenting themselves at casting calls to be judged. This humiliating daily drill required that they be well dressed and well groomed. Being broke and hungry was not required, but they usually were. Moreover, they were attractive, personable and articulate. I had generic business cards printed, identifying the card carrier as an associate editor of I.D., and distributed them to actors I knew, asking them to occasionally attend events as representatives of the magazine. All I asked of them was that they bring me press kits. What they got in return were free drinks and free lunch. True, lunch frequently consisted only of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. But these events tended to be lavishly catered affairs and the snacks were substantial.
The actors loved it. After all, they were role-playing, which was the business they were in. And I.D. developed a reputation for having an uncommonly large and spectacularly good-looking staff.
Allan Chochinov is a partner of Core77, a New York-based design network serving a global community of designers and design enthusiasts, and Chair of the new MFA in Products of Design graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Allan lectures around the world and at professional conferences including IDSA, AIGA and IxDA, has been a guest critic at various design schools in including Yale University, IIT, Carnegie Mellon, Ravensbourne, RMIT, University of Minnesota, Emily Carr, and RISD. He has moderated and led workshops and symposia at the Aspen Design Conference, the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio, Compost Modern, and Winterhouse, and is a frequent design competition juror. Prior to Core77, his work in product design focused on the medical, surgical, and diagnostic fields, as well as on consumer products and workplace systems. He has been named on numerous design and utility patents and has received awards from The Art Directors Club, I.D. Magazine, Communication Arts, and The One Club.