Brian Barber, illustrator/designer 1990-1997

Brian Barber

My time working with the Southwest Journal actually started with another neighborhood newspaper, the Whittier Globe, in 1989. Janis was doing typesetting, Terry was selling ads, and I had moved to Minneapolis from Lincoln, Nebraska. The network of papers like the Alley, the Wedge and others was fascinating to a graphic designer fresh out of school and new to the big city. I called and left a message on the Whittier Globe answering machine offering help with art or layout, got a call back from then-editor Keith Thompson and was quickly sucked into the exciting world of neighborhood newspapers.

When Janis and Terry started the Southwest Journal, it was clear that they wanted to take the paper to a different level. They continuously worked to make it the best they could, from the reporting to the design to the photography and art and even to the return on investment for advertisers.

I did illustrations, designed some ads and did some special section design. I also helped with the paste-up of the paper, starting in Janis and Terry’s basement in a little room off the garage and moving on to the office at 50th & Washburn. That office seemed so spacious, so professional, so luxurious. A defining moment in my graphic design career was when Janis bought a laser printer that would print an entire 11×17 page and a waxer that would apply the adhesive to the whole page in one pass. It seemed the design industry had reached the peak in technological advancement and life was so, so good. How could we possibly want more than that?

Working with everyone at the Journal was a great experience. I’m proud of the work we put out. I got to learn a lot and experiment and grow as an illustrator and designer, and I collaborated with great people who really cared about community.

Congratulations to Janis and Terry and to everyone who played a part in an important piece of Minneapolis.

artwork by Brian Barber